The Earthwave Global Surf Challenge, the world's first global surfing event, took place on 2nd September 2007 with hundreds of surfers holding record attempts at beaches in Australia, Reunion Island, South Africa, England, Brazil, Argentina and Tahiti.
There was fun in the sun for young and old at Muizenberg beach in Cape Town as the organisers of the Earthwave Global Surf Challenge exceeded the official Guinness World Record for the ‘most surfers riding one wave simultaneously’ by getting 71 surfers up and riding for a minimum of five seconds.
“We beat the official record set in Ireland last year on five separate waves today,” said Dene Botha of the Kahuna Surfing Academy, the Kommetjie based organisation that created Earthwave by challenging organisations worldwide to try an beat the record and use the publicity to highlight the threat of Global Warming.
“Congratulations to the 310 surfers that paddled out, 71 of whom managed to ride one wave. They have raised the bar for the other six countries who are participating in the first edition of Earthwave, and we‘ll wait to see what the Earthwave events in England, Argentina, Brazil and Tahiti can achieve.”
In bright sunshine, light winds and gentle one metre waves, the participants spent an hour in the surf and nine waves were caught and surfed. After opening counts of 38 and 32, a total of 64 were up on wave three and the highest count of 71 was achieved at the seventh attempt.
The official record stands at 44 surfers on a single wave and was set in Ireland in 2006. An attempt on the record at Muizenberg last September resulted in 73 surfers on a wave, but this has yet to be ratified. The day started with demonstrations by the local Shark Spotters organisation and South Peninsula Unity (SPU), an informal group who clean up the surfing beaches of the Cape Peninsula.
That was followed by a talk on climate change, its causes and effects, by Stephen Law of the Environmental Management Group and co-author of the book A Brief Guide To Global Warming, who carried the message that we all need to start actively working towards doing something about what he terms ‘the most important issue of our age.’
Nearly 1,000 packets of seeds for indigenous South African trees were distributed to the participants and spectators to encourage them to green the city to offset the causes of climate change. These were specially packaged by the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, the flagship of the SA National Biodiversity Institute, and donated to the event.
Fund raising efforts included the Lew Geffen – Sotheby’s International Realty Dig For Gold competition, a raffle and a lucky draw for the participants that saw tens of thousands of Rand’s worth of prizes, donated by local businesses and the surf industry given away. An SMS competition was also run and the winner will be notified on Monday once all the entries submitted have been checked.
The Surfboard Art Challenge drew artistically decorated entries from eight established surfboard manufacturers such as Spider, F22, Dutchie, Clayton, Gee Force, Geraghty, Magic Shot and Surf Tech.
Half the boards were auctioned at the event and the other half are being auctioned at the after-party to raise funds for environmental causes and to start the Earthwave Scholarship for students to study Earth Sciences at the University of Cape Town, specialising in the effects of climate change on the oceans and waves.
Video footage of today’s activities can be found at www.earthwave2007.com. Go to the South Africa page and click on View Webcast. All the footage on the site was shot on mobile phones and edited and posted by Infectious Agent Communications.
The organisers wish to thank all the participants, the contributors, those who volunteered to work on the event and the local authorities who patrolled the area and sorted out the traffic problems caused by the influx of people to the venue.
Full results of the Earthwave events run today to the west of South Africa will become known over the next 12 hours and a detailed media release on the entire global project will be issued on Monday. The inaugural edition of Earthwave will also recognise records for the highest number of participants and the organisation donating the highest sum to environmental causes.
The Earthwave Global Surf Challenge will be staged on the coastlines of the world on the first Sunday in September annually.