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Surfers Corner hosts world’s best long- boarders at ‘epic’ anniversary event

A surfer at Muizenberg Beach in Cape Town for the recent Vans Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational & Surf Festival

A surfer at Muizenberg Beach in Cape Town for the recent Vans Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational & Surf Festival. Photo: Supplied

Published Aug 2, 2022

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Cape Town — “We’re here to promote surf culture, not jock culture.”

That’s the gospel of American world longboard champion Joel Tudor. The 46-year-old is one of concept developers of The Vans Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational & Surf Festival that celebrated its 10th anniversary at Muizenberg in Cape Town.

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Hundreds of local surfing fanatics pulled up at the famous Surfers Corner to catch a glimpse of 32 of the best longboarders in the world. Even Proteas cricket legend Dale Steyn, an avid surfer himself, and former Proteas and India mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton, were among the strong crowd on finals day on Sunday.

“It’s just so epic to have this happening in our backyard,” Steyn said. “There’s some massive names in surfing all here at Muizies. It's great that it's here.”

It is only through Tudor’s vision and passion for a sport that he has been excelling in since he was 15 years old that The Vans Duct Tape Invitational continues to showcase style and creativity through traditional logging.

The Cape Town leg is the second stop on the global calendar after kicking off in Sayulita, Mexico in April before closing off at the US Open of Surfing in California in August.

“I’ve had my share of the limelight, and my time was basically over and that’s why it was time to give back to the next generation. Winning last year was just like … whatever … I just did it because the world was closed and I needed something to do,” Tudor said.

“Our contest is about spreading surf culture. We were in a period where a lot of jock culture was going on. We are kinda the Anti-Christ of that. We are on the other side of giving back.

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“There is no activity that gives you so much back until the very end. Until you can barely walk anymore. You cannot do that playing football, playing rugby, you can barely do it playing tennis because your knees will go out.

“I grew up watching Skip Fryer. He is 81 years old. He still surfs every day. It’s like watching a pelican fly over the water every day. For me, that’s the goal. That’s the ultimate achievement and if I can help create that for the next generation, that’s awesome!”

The Vans Duct Tape Festival is also a lot more than just about what’s happening in the water. Although the traditional Cape winter rains forced the cancellation of Saturday’s second day, it did nothing to dampen the spirits for the remainder of the weekend by honouring innovation, creativity and craftsmanship in surf culture.

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Everyone embraced the atmosphere that allowed the spectators to engage fully with the participants through the sharing of ideas. Custom surfboards were also on display to share with the spectators.

Tudor was really enthralled with Cape Town as a destination, and also the excitement of the crowds that turned up, and has every confidence Muizenberg could be a regular stop on the tour going forward.

“When you travel such far distances you never know what you're gonna get. It's kind of a mixed bag,” he said. “But I came here a long time ago and I didn’t see much surf, but to come back and get it that good was a score. Everybody that competed I kept getting the same unanimous feedback … ‘it was so fun out there’.

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“Some of these events happen in some really lacklustre conditions, but the beauty of a longboard is that the dance is still the same. It’s your show and you can put it on and people always receive it.

“In longboarding that’s just a chance to shine. You can see so many people are receptive to that particular style. Besides the contest winners, it's the crowd response that we look for. It gives us the motivation to do another one in different locations.

“It was a long flight, but it was absolutely worth it. A real score. Some of the guys and girls will even stay on for a bit. The place is absolutely stunning and beautiful.”

Both the men’s and women’s competition unearthed new champions in Kevin Skvarna (US) and France’s Ambre Victoire. The duo were brilliant in Sunday’s final and had the spectators gasping with excitement.

Hosts South Africa were well represented with local champion Steven Sawyer finishing in third place in the men’s competition. Sawyer (27) who hails from Jeffreys Bay, is a former 2018 World Surf League World Longboard Champion.

“This event is insane. Just look at the turnout. Thanks to everyone for coming out and supporting,” Sawyer said.

“I’m super stoked to have got the invite and to have cracked the nod and have a chance to surf against these guys in the semis and finals. Absolutely epic!

“They just blew it up. I couldn’t find a wave. You guys just stole all my waves but I am gonna get you!”

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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Surfing

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