Now here’s a surf protest we can all get behind! While calls for a global paddle out in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement saw thousands of surfers rally at backlines all over the world, from the US to the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Indo and beyond. South Africans were barred from participating because our beaches remain closed and surfing, although being tolerated in pockets, is still illegal under Lockdown Level 3.
It was a massive missed opportunity. Surfing as a sport, in most of the world, but especially in SA, has lagged far behind in terms of representation, transformation and making surfing opportunities available for the broader community. This rings especially true when viewed in comparison to the results achieved by other South African sports, most notably Rugby.
Yes, it’s long past time to ask yourself why there are so few black surfers at your local beach.
A national paddle out for the Black Lives Matter movement, with a sharp focus on the injustices meted out to South Africans (Collins Khoza, Sibusiso Amos, Elma Robyn Montsumi, Petrus Miggels, Adane Emmanuel and Ntando Elias Sigasa) under Lockdown Regulations by our “overzealous” police and army soldiers would have been a far more worthy protest action than the infamous ‘Surfer’s Protest’, which will be long remembered as the moment when a few South African surfers confused the temporary suspension of our freedom of movement rights due to a global pandemic, with apartheid.
If you’re still struggling for a dose of perspective, or just want to be moved by a truly human, global moment, watch the video below of Sal Masekela leading the Black Lives Matter paddle out in Encinitas, California. As we said at the beginning, this is a protest we stand for.
When things get back to normal in South Africa, we should all paddle out for this cause.