TWO Bluewater Bay surfboats will be the only participants representing the Eastern Cape in Lifesaving South Africa National Surf Champs at the Strand today.
After an 11-year absence, the Bluewater Bay Surf Lifesaving Club surf boats are back on the water under the guidance of Louis Beyers, who took the club to national colours more than 20 years ago. The Bluewater Bay “boaties” were national champions almost every year from 1992 to 2003 and also competed successfully internationally.
Their finest year was in 1992 when the crew achieved the first ever grand slam in South African “boatie” history, winning the boat racing, boat rescue and boat marathon champs.
All the members of this team were awarded their Springbok colours and became the first team from South Africa to tour Australia in 21 years.
From 2004 a time in the wilderness followed when surfboats were no longer included in either provincial or national lifesaving championships.
The sport came to a standstill and the boats were mothballed.
However, since the return of Beyers from Gauteng to Bluewater Bay last year and the reintroduction of surfboat events on the competition schedule, Beyers and boat captain, Justin McCalghan (also part of the Springbok team and still an active rower), there has been renewed excitement in the sport with Bluewater Bay having sufficient numbers for three boat crews.