In 2012 you’ll find the South African surfing family to be huge, but as we all know, big families don’t start off that way, they grow. Our legends are the foundation upon which this family has thrived and created a home. Sadly, late last week a sturdy piece of that foundation was suddenly taken from us.
Errol Hickman has passed away, 65 years of life stories left behind for others to tell. There’s also 37 years worth of caringly crafted surfboards tucked in boardbags or stashed away in garages with tales of their own.
Some of us lost our shaper, some of us lost our friend, we all lost a legendary family member.
“Errol was an amazing innovator and forward thinking surfer, both in the water and in the shaping bay. He had a humble low-key approach to life that assured that he was highly respected and admired by all who knew him.” – Mike Larmont
Errol’s long-time stomping partner and best friend Mike Ginsberg wished to say the following about his lost sidekick:
[ Errol would’ve preferred you reading this, while listening to something like this: ]
Errol was a junior lifeguard at Pirates Lifesaving club before leaving that organisation to pursue a surfing lifestyle that spanned 50 years.
Errol and I were selected to the first Natal surfing Team in 1965 to surf against Border, as well as the Natal Team to surf in the first South African Championships in Cape Town. In 1966, he was selected to represent SA at the World Championship in Oceanside California.
After passing his matric all Errol could think about was how he could earn a living in the very limited surfing industry, ensuring that he could surf every day. His many hours spent watching Max Wetteland in his factory convinced Errol that he wanted to build beautiful surfboards. After shaping in his back yard for two years, Errol and myself started Natural Curve Surfboards in 1975.
Errol became one of the most sought after shapers around, not only for his craftsmanship, but for his open attitude to the customers demands as well. He quickly developed a loyal following of some of the best surfers in the country. His career took him around the world shaping and built up a solid reputation as a cool underground designer.
Apart from being one of the most stylish surfers in SA, Errol was known for his incredible nose riding talents. He was also an accomplished musician who started playing the piano accordion at 10 years of age and progressed onto the keyboards and guitar. Song writing was another of Errol’s many talents and he played in numerous underground Durban bands.
Errol’s super low key attitude was a refreshing change in an industry that thrived on egos and self righteousness, and he will be sorely missed by all his friends and family. The wings of his surfing never lost a feather
Aloha my dear friend
NB: Errol’s memorial will be held on Wednesday 14 November at 13:30pm at Glenridge Church in Durban. Click here for map.
Following the service there will be a memorial paddle out meeting at North Beach between 15:00 – 15:30. All wishing to pay their respects are welcome to attend.