20 February, 2014 20 February, 2014

Snippets From The Archive – PART 1 – The First Ten Years (’76 to ’86)

This is Andréa, our French intern. Andréa arrived earlier this week from a town called Annecy in the French Alps, which is a long way from the nearest beach.


Andréa’s internship at Zigzag is her first introduction to the surfing world, but having grown up amongst the snowboarding scene in her mountainous home town, she does know a thing or two about carving some turns while standing on a board.

For her education on South African surfing we set Andréa loose on our archive. These were some of the snippets that caught her eye as she thumbed through the dog-eared pages of our earliest issues.


PART 1 – The First Ten Years – 1976 to 1986

CHAT WITH CHAPUT (Zigzag Issue 2.3 – 1978)

[ click image to read article ]

This article caught my attention because of the similarities all boardsports have in common. A lot a skateboarding tricks come from surfing or snowboarding. When you’re doing a sliding sport it’s hard to stick to only one, because you want to see if you can have this feeling again but with new sensations due to the field you’re riding. Snowboarding powder gives you the feeling of floating, you’re not sinking into the snow because of your weight – it’s almost like your flying just above the snow. I’m yet to find out if surfing gives me the same thrill, but I look forward to trying.


MR “JUST ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL” (Zigzag Issue 4.4 – 1980)

[ click image to read article ]

The surf world creates a kind of fascination and appeal that catches your attention. When you haven’t grown up in it, but in the mountains like I did, it can be quite difficult to understand all the technical aspects of the sport. Sure we’ve already heard about Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore and Laura Enever and the crazy stuff they do; but apart from them, who else? And who are the pioneers of those success stories?

While having a glance at some of the old Zigzag editions, I found this article about four-time World Champion, Mark Richards. By reading the interview it permits me to get an idea of what it was like being a pro surfer during the 80s.

I finally discovered that surfing is not much different from snowboarding in some points: first of all, you do it because you love it, for fun; then knowing the conditions you will have to deal with, the type of board and the waxing are the keys for an enjoyable ride. For the pro athlete a strong mental focus and strategies are required for winning. Through the years these sports have been evolving, always pushing the limits of what is possible and not. Even the contests keep innovating to try to keep the attention of the public with impressive performances. With the expectations of a public who are eager to see miracles all the time it keeps the pressure increasing on athletes.


BOUND FOR GLORY (Zigzag Issue 5.4- 1981)


As a real beginner in the surf world I was interested when I picked up Zigzag’s wetsuit guide. I studied it and tried to understand all the technical aspects of modern wetsuits. As neoprene is used in surf, in mountain sports we use Gore-Tex which provides waterproof qualities to the clothes. Compared to ski clothes a wetsuit is cheaper. If you want a good jacket you’ll have to spend at least around R4 470. You will spend the same for the trousers and let us not forget about gloves and socks – which are vital if you don’t want to end up losing any fingers or toes. But over time I believe it becomes almost equal in costs, because while you will have to replace your wetsuit quite regularly, ski clothes can last a few years with good care. While nowadays manufacturers try to constantly innovate and get wetsuits to another level, a few decades ago they were just trying to help keep surfers warm with whatever they could find. This picture I spotted while paging through Zigzag Vol.5 No.4 shows it quite well, as today wetsuits fit well, while this one looks more like a ski jacket than anything else.


WHO’S SHAPING? (Zigzag Issue 7.4 – 1983)

[ click image to read article ]

“Surfboards may glitter like gold on the outside, but looking into the industry it’s not always that shiny” – Stephen Morton.

Giving a glance behind the stage curtains of the surf world, this article attempts to explain the paradoxical relationship between shapers and surfers. While the shapers are the foundation of the industry, they are pressured by the market to sell their boards at a low price, therefore earning less benefits. The shapers featured argue that they’ve reached a point where they are no longer doing it for money, but more for passion – like an art. It made me think about the snowboard and ski industry in Europe, where it’s a bit different, because we have both huge companies and few little specialized shops that shape skis and boards. Costumers have the choice and prices vary a lot.


ISLAND STYLE THE RIGHT STYLE – Advert – (Zigzag Issue 9.3 – 1985)


The ‘shaka’ sign has become part of the surfer lifestyle. It reminds me of the devil’s horn sign that heavy metal fans do to show their membership to a community. This advert caught my attention because it gave a bit of background as to the origin of the ‘shaka’.


ISRAEL WELCOMES SURFERS (Zigzag Issue 10.5 – 1986)

[ click image to read article ]

For someone outside the surf world, it may be a cliché, but surfers are mostly coming from Australia, Hawaii, California and SA. It was interesting for me to read this article, because it showed me that despite problems like geographic location surfers keep pushing limits and finding ways to practice their sport – just like those who are riding in Munich.


  1. jim
    20 February, 2014 at 2:51 pm · Reply

    Nice Article mate. Hey, are these back issues available in digi format??

    • Zigzag
      20 February, 2014 at 3:23 pm · Reply

      Unfortunately not, Jim. With over 30 years-worth of magazine pages to scan, that’s a giant project we’d love to find time for, but have not yet. Perhaps that’s a job for the new intern?!

      • jim
        20 February, 2014 at 6:36 pm · Reply

        Definitely get the intern on it! You might have to provide extra koffiehuis tho! ha ha

      • Simoné Smith
        21 February, 2014 at 12:30 pm · Reply

        I can do it! Pick me pick me!! 😀

  2. ragged
    22 June, 2014 at 1:48 pm · Reply

    yes ..30 years..but was never a monthly mag…
    so it would only take a month at most(without surfing breaks..LOL)
    get to it…

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