8 June, 2020 8 June, 2020

Surfing for Black Lives Matter

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.


  1. Jake
    9 June, 2020 at 12:26 pm · Reply

    Hey. A couple of us in Muizzies were going to organize a paddle for Saturday but in speaking to @blackgirlssurf on ig she mentioned a digital paddle out? Its maybe something we can all do?

  2. John Whittle
    10 June, 2020 at 7:26 am · Reply

    Did you just say, “ When things get back to normal in South Africa, we should all paddle out for this cause.”. What will that achieve? Right now middle class South Africans are surfing in a bubble! They tell me they are protesting but have not shown up once on the Durban beachfront where Orwellian styled police presence and reaction is occurring. I have seen very few articulations on public forums by South African surfers that go deeper than the ankle chill at leash strap level. Between Zigzag and Wavescapes you have a combined estimate reach online of approximately 12000 readers(correctable). Who is the surfing leadership in SA that you as media support? What is the narrative of surfers that you support? What is the unified protest that you propose as a now moment resistance against oppression. While surfing continues wherever it is unopposed, in Durban, on the Golden Mile where we have one of the most real racially integrated surfing communities, my people are still unrepresented by any surfers taking a stand for them and the average inner city beachgoer is prohibited from exercising in our traditional way. Good waves are on their way to New Pier as we speak. What will you say? What will you do?

  3. jack
    10 June, 2020 at 8:07 am · Reply

    Floyd was a Freemason !

  4. Craig
    12 June, 2020 at 11:38 am · Reply

    Every life matters. Why don’t we paddle out to protest the 87 people per day murdered in RSA last year? 32000 murders in the 18/19 year according to statssa.

  5. Sven
    14 June, 2020 at 9:44 am · Reply

    I am actually pretty shocked about this!!!! Farmers getting butchered on a daily basis, Zag should be looking on their own doorstep than worrying what is happening thousands of kilometres away. At present Zag should be pushing for ‘White lives matter.’ if you look at the present situation in South Africa.

    What shocks me the most is Zag actually creating and posting this on their website. Whatever the readers political standing, beliefs, whether it is right or wrong Zag is a surfing magazine and website. I get bombarded with so much crap on social media, the news and then the normal work crap that I go onto Zag for a break, drool over some local waves and kicking myself because I should have been there yesterday and now I see the same stuff on the Zag. If I had been a subscriber I would seriously start considering my next subscription.

    Zag, stay OUT of politics!!! Soon you going to start posting things about Trumps latest dumb twitter remarks. WTF.

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