4 December, 2014 4 December, 2014

When Ciggies Were (Supposedly) Great for Surfing.

The brainchild of Peter Burness and Hugh Roe of Gunston cigarettes, the Gunston 500 was great for SA surfing and the local economy. Gunston’s financial backing saw surfers like Shaun Tomson reach new competitive heights and put SA sport back on the map at a time when political unrest saw an international ban on most other sporting events. And while no one can badmouth a brand that provided such invaluable support, one also can’t help but admire the irony that existed between the unassuming partnership: Surfing and smoking.

Peter Burness (middle), smoking his Gunston and grinning at the success of the event back in 1980 as Mark Richards gives Hans Hedemann a hearty pre-final handshake.

(Vol. 8.4 – 1984) Gunston advertised on the back cover of Zigzag from 1978 through to 1999 – until the boys from Peter Stuyvesant took over.


(Vol 3.4) A quick semiotic analysis reveals a strong tug at the 80s male ego-strings. I mean, don’t you wanna “get closer to flavour,” bru? Or be like the ripped sultans of the sea getting pitted in Hawaii, not a hair outta place?

The Gunston, circa 1980. The dude rocking a formidable muzzie looks primed and ready for the event’s after-disco.

(Vol 11.2) The old cannon connotes ideals of old-wartime bravery and heroism. Heck, it’s enough to make us wanna fire up the ol’ T-bird and buy a pack, if they still existed (and if we didn’t worry about our lungs giving in on a heavy hold-down).


  1. BrianW
    4 December, 2014 at 8:04 pm · Reply

    still have one of those posters

  2. dunstan
    5 December, 2014 at 4:18 pm · Reply

    I still smoke Gunston 30’s,a pack a day,still surf 25hrs a week,kif

  3. Neil
    13 May, 2018 at 6:23 am · Reply

    I still have one of the gunston 500 wall clocks and its still working today

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