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South Africa in Black and White

Jeffreys Bay. Photo: Jeff Divine
Gavin Rudolph, Sunset Beach. Photo: Dan Merkel
Segregated beach in South Africa
Mike Esposito. Photo: Pat Flanagan
Eddie Aikau. Photo: Dan Merkel

Years before Shaun Tomson reconfigured high-performance surfing in the mid-1970s, South Africa's best riders had proven themselves to be of  international caliber: Peers Pittard was the fastest man alive in the long pointbreak peelers near Cape St. Francis; Jonathan Paarman threw his board up and down the faces of huge reef waves near his Cape Town home like the Afrikaner version of Barry Kanaiaupuni; and Mike Esposito, an elastic goofyfooter from Durban, was probably robbed when the judges h...

Visiting surfers did their best to ignore apartheid, but it wasn't always easy. In 1972, Gunston 500 invitee Eddie Aikau, a full-blooded Hawaiian, was given a polite but firm turnaround from the concierge at Durban’s Malibu Hotel. "I fear to walk in the streets here," he told a local black-owned newspaper.