It was a day of two halves, call it the Ying and Yang of surfing. Surfers and their families and friends arrived early on Sunday, 4th March, to a calm and glassy Llandudno. The waves were just breaking, the weather balmy and most were probably thinking that contest director, Captain Kai, had made the wrong call for waves, but a great call for a beach day. “I was pretty scared I had read the charts wrong, I will be honest, but Robby and I stuck to our guns and boy did the wave Gods provide for our belief!” Captain Kai
As the beach filled to capacity, a record number of entries were signed up and excitement built, it was the Loggers sent out for the first few heats. This was the first time there were stand-alone Log heats, all surfed on ancient browning pieces of history and most shaped by the legendary, John Whitmore. Young stars like Dylan Swindale and Steven Sawyer gave the crowd a show on style and class and many of the Western Province longboarders joined the party. The longtime Rolling Retro standout, Michael Grendon, was his usual flamboyant self, but his main show was still to come.
Next up the frothing groms and very excited lady surfers were out in the lineup and the swell started to fill in slowly but surely. Billabong team riders, Tarryn Chudleigh and Summer Sutton were amongst the ladies and putting on a show for the building crowd on the beach. By now the entries were full and a few latecomers were ruing the fact, as they watched others slowly taking their pick from Robby’s, Vudu Surf collection and making their way into the ever-improving lineup. Surfers were enjoying ice cold Red Bulls and at lunchtime the bars opened, creating a wave of hands holding ice cold Striped Horse beers and Leonista, Tequila Cocktails.
By the time the final two heats of the day rolled in, so had the 20 second swell period and the waves were starting to look crazy! As Red Bull’s, DJ Analogue started up the live Reggae MC’ing the waves turned on and the crowd started going crazy. Local Vudu team rider, Rob Tweddle had a few nuggets and was very impressive, but it was another local surfer really pushing the performance envelope in the 2nd last heat. Jacques Smit had a couple of bombs and sealed the Surfer of the Event award with an absolutely incredible backhand barrel to floater combo.
The final heat was loaded to the hilt with stars, like Shane Sykes, Max Elkington, Brandon Benjamin, Steven Sawyer, Matt Bromley, Adin Masencamp and defending best surfer, Dale Staples. Joining them were some of the best locals such as Luke Slijpen, Ike Forsyth and Josh Brodie, all of whom were once again standouts at their local break. It was, however, the retro entertainer himself, Michael Grendon, who stole the show in heaving waves on an old John Whitmore Log. He had the crowd in awe, the other surfers in fear and showed no fear as he charged into the biggest sets of the day, earning the Best Logger Title. Josh Brodie kept the locals happy with the Best Tube of the day, for a long drain pipe and Ike Forsyth and his lovely lady took the best-dressed award as a couple. Young Kommetjie surfer, York van Jaarsveldt held his own against the big boys to be the standout Grom for the day.
Prize Giving was quick, as by this time the crowd were in full reggae party mode, thanks to Dj Analogue and the huge, happy, smiling crowd danced to the reggae rhythms till the sun set on another absolutely incredible Rolling Retro. On Wednesday the Striped Horse and Vudu Surf Instagram competition was won by, Danielle Davenport, for her photo of Michael Grendon styling a set wave in the final. She won a 70’s Single Fin Replica made by Vudu Surf. Huge thanks to everyone who supported the event, the Llandudno Lifesaving Club, our incredible sponsors, Striped Horse, Red Bull, Billabong, Hurricane Surf, Skullcandy, Leonista, Von Zipper and all our staff. Finally, a massive shout out to Robby McDonald and Vudu Surf – without his dedication to saving SA’s historical surfboards and sharing that passion via this event, there would be no Rolling Retro.
Next year is year 10 and you can be sure the team have got something extra special in store for you!