27 May, 2016 27 May, 2016

A Durban Surfer’s Guide to Zakifo 2016

Whether you visit the beachfront to drink your Cane and Creme Soda in the parking lot, rollerblade through your midlife crisis or surf until your toes web – Durban’s ‘Golden Mile’ brings us all a little closer than we think.

Surfers come in all shapes and sizes and although we might curse one other when it gets a little crowded or fantasize about slashing the tyres of the chop who dropped in on us – what unites us is ultimately the fact that we all love the ocean. And if that’s not uniting enough, well, we all take showers together and pee in the same water we (involuntarily) ingest. Yep, we’re basically family.


Durban surfing. Image © Fundi

Much like surfing and public showers – music is also an age-old uniting force and if you haven’t yet heard, international Zakifo Muzik Festival is happening in Durban this weekend just a beer bottle’s throw away from your favourite surf spot.

Whether you’re a pro surfer, an aspiring grom, a depressed surf coach, a bodyboarding mallie or a Southcoast throwback – at Zakifo there is something for every type of surfer and every other type of human being.


Zakifolk at Zakifo 2015, Durban. Image © Marcello Maffeis

With local and international acts from Canada, Mali, Reunion Island, New Zealand, Australia, Mozambique (and so many more), Zakifo is one of the most diverse beach festivals to hit the Durban sea sand this year.

In light of this musical feast, we’ve taken the liberty to pick a tune from the Zakifo 2016 line-up for some of the local Durban surfers we all know. The ones we sometimes hate, the ones we laugh at, the ones we brawl with and the ones we share the stoke with. The surfers we will always love for what they bring to the beachfront and the unique spirit of surfing. This one’s for you…


New Pier sunset session. Image © Nic Aberdein

The Goat Boat

A.K.A the Southcoast Throwback. This ballie hurt his back in a bar fight 20 years ago. Since “the accident”, he has given up surfing and is now a dedicated paddle skier. His car is as f*cked as his wetsuit; he eats saltwater and spliffs for breakfast and has his ex-wife’s name tattood on his bicep (beneath his 70’s surf-brand logo tattoo of course). He spends his weekends at the beach or in the local bar and is as rugged as they come. But beneath the leather exterior and the bar-rash, he is friendlier than a puppy and more valuable than pirate treasure. This one’s for you tough guy…

“Fallen Empire” by King Fisha – Australia


The [Go] Pro Surfer

These are the surfers that record themselves surfing more than they actually surf. In the water, they can usually be seen with four waterproof cameras strapped to every limb, catching more selfies than waves. On land, they can be seen hanging around the car park, sporting the latest buzz cut, aviators and talking about the ill waves they didn’t catch (loudly, so that the “chicks” can hear). Hang on to that camera bro, it’s worth more than your surf/street cred!

“Never Let Me Go” by Tresor – South Africa


The Real Pro Surfer

We don’t have much to say about you because, well, we still can’t quite figure out if you’re real or not? Words can’t quite match your fierce determination, skill, grace, top turns and occasional ego. So here’s a tune from us mere mortals to you. Keep blowing our minds.

“Blow Up” by Kid Francescoli – France


The Big Spender

This surfer hit a midlife crisis, got stoned and re-watched ‘Endless Summer’… then went out and blew their kids’ college fund on getting the latest surf gadgets. This overly-amped individual can be seen chilling in his SUV in his suit, debating whether to go home or attempt another unsuccessful surf. He doesn’t trust the car guard enough to hand over his key, so he uses some overpriced gadget to lock it onto his wheel. If he ever ventures out of town, he is sure to pack the latest shark repellent technology. Keep trying boet, you WILL get there.

“Against All Odds” by Aking – South Africa


The Bodyboarding Mallie

Bordering a pension grant and still hitting dawnies in winter – this goose will make you shiver in your spring-suit. Bored to death of watching her husband and kids surf from the beach, this hardcore mallie will now out-shred you in any conditions. She’s hitchhiked across the country, smoked more spliffs than those muppets on the corner, and danced naked at more music festivals than you can name. She doesn’t give a damn about her salty grey hair; what her five-kids-later body looks like in a cozzie or what your puny mind thinks. She may not ride a surfboard, but that doesn’t make her any less of a legend. Thanks for inspiring us to get off our arse Goggo…

“I Got To Move” by Gran’mah – Mozambique


The Soul Surfer

This surfer has just spent the last year backpacking in Thailand (or living in a Kloof Street commune in Cape Town). This conscious surfer is undoubtedly vegan; doing  his/her yoga instructors course and plays the didgeridoo when he/she’s not too busy Googling eco-friendly household detergents. Although this surfer uses words like: ‘synergy’, ‘chakras’, ‘environment’, ‘one love’, and ‘community’ way too often – we love your hemp surfboard and need you in the world. Shot for being zen enough not to drop in on the rest of us assholes and for re-affirming that mermaids/mermen really do exist. Keep spreading the light…

“Shine” by Blitz The Ambassador – Ghana


The Frothing Grom

This lightie has more stickers than chest hairs and spends an equal amount of time counting both. This kid eats, breathes and sh*ts surfing. He/she’ll surf any wave, lives to bunk school and makes anyone over the age of sixteen look like a complete knob in the water. You might be better than us ballies, but we don’t envy you – for puberty’s a bitch. Shred through grom, you are the future.

“Space Kings” by Common Creatives – Durban, South Africa


The Miserable Surf Instructor

Since this surfer lost his/her bar tending job, he/she spends his weekends pushing fat in-land kids into foamies. He/she can usually be seen nursing a hangover or crying quietly from the shories as the swell pulls in. Keep up the hustle bro – just a couple more grand until that Indo flight ticket…

“Spocktopus” by Too Many Zooz – USA


The Flamingos

These surfers usually roll in packs. They sport matching, neon pink rashies and have thick lines of zinc pasted onto their cheeks like concrete. They’re either part of a surf school or have been forced to surf for their rich friend’s birthday party. Either way, they spend more time giggling in the water than paddling. For them – surfing is all about having fun and we couldn’t agree more. Here’s a playful track for the flamingo’s from Estére… Keep up the stoke – we look forward to seeing you shred when your braces come off!

“I Spy” by Estere – New Zealand


The Silver Assasin A.K.A Poseidon

This ballie looks like he was spat out by the sea itself. He’s been surfing since before you could digest solids and has since began to morph into a sea creature… His rubbery limbs resemble the arms of an octopus’ and his nipples now stick like barnacles to his pecs. He still surfs his “good ‘ol” longboard from the seventies (with one fin and no leash), will cheer you onto waves and always waits his turn. The left-wing version of David Hasselhoff; we’re pretty sure this ballie talks to dolphins and can lure any land-mammal to backline…

“Woza” by Vusi Mahlasela: South Africa


The Guardian Angels

This one’s for the forever sunburnt North Beach carguards who keep our car keys and our secrets safe. You know the waves better than we do and without you, surfing would be an even bigger first world problem. Thanks for always bumming us a loose, understanding when we genuinely have left our wallets at home, and for reminding us what it means to trust, to laugh at ourselves and always apply sunscreen. Without you, surfing in Durban would just not be the same.

“Holland” by Cold Specks – Canada

The Music/Surf Journalist 

…Who is still learning to write and shred. This one’s for me – the complete kook who loves Durban surf culture and its beautiful characters almost as much as this band…

“Soubour” (patience) by Songhoy Blues – Mali


See you in the surf tomorrow and tonight at Zakifo Muzik Festival 2016.


Check out the Zakifo website here.
Join the event on Facebook here.
Like the Zakifo Muzik Festival Facebook community here.
Follow on Instagram & Twitter @ZakifoMuzikFest
Tickets just R250 a pop on Webtickets here.

Written by Robyn Perros with the help of some of Durban’s most eclectic mix of surfers.

Lead Image © Brett Blignaut

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