Surfing, an activity originating in the Polynesian islands and brought to the Hawaiian chain by Polynesian settlers, has come a long way since Captain Cook first witnessed it on his way around the Pacific Ocean. The sport, derided by early colonists, experienced a revival in the early twentieth century and by mid-century had been exported not only to the United States mainland, but also to countries like Great Britain, Australia and South Africa. Today, surfers can be found everywhere from Indonesia to Israel, Senegal to Spain, Morocco, Mexico and beyond.
As is to be expected at a coastal school like Glenwood, surfing enjoys a loyal following. The number of boys with notebooks covered in pictures of waves testifies to the prominent place of board sports in popular culture and it is a privilege for us to offer learners the opportunity to compete for their school in this discipline.
Competitive surfing at school level takes on the tag-team format, with each team of five surfers having forty to forty-five minutes in which to catch a total of fifteen waves. Surfers indicate via raised arms which of their waves should count toward the final heat score and the team counts as its tally the sum total of its eleven best waves.
Glenwood participates annually in both the KwaZulu-Natal Schools’ League and the South African Schools’ Surfing Championships and we have had success in both, winning the provincial title from 2003-2006 and the national championship in 2002 and 2004. While Glenwood surfing has had a few quiet years since our last major win, grit and discipline saw our surfers place a very respectable fifth at last year’s South African Schools’ Championships in Cape Town and we look to use this as a stepping stone to greater things.
Glenwood has seen many talented surfers pass through its doors, including, amongst others, Dean Geraghty, Paul and Matt Daniel, Ricky Basnett, Rory and Kyle Beach, Rudy Palmboom and Jordy Smith, to name a few. These surfers hold between them a plethora of national titles, junior and senior, and a growing list of professional international wins. Last year, of only four South Africans on the Foster’s ASP World Tour (the highest tier in professional surfing), two were Glenwood old-boys, Ricky Basnett and Jordy Smith.
One of the best things about living in Durban is the abundance of high quality, warm-water surf on offer all year long and surfing gives learners an opportunity to enjoy the natural resources available to us in our great “city by the bay”. We look forward to continued growth and success in this, a true Sport of Kings.