It’s well documented that one of the surf craft ridden by the first surfers (Including “The Duke”) was a redwood “log”. As we are now all too aware, surfboard design progressed rapidly in the wake of Mr Kahanamoku’s global surf expansion exploits, and the boards became shorter, thinner and shaped with up to 5 fins.
The man, the legend, the father of Surfing.
However, and as so often happens with the full circle phenomenon, we find ourselves drawn inexorably back to the beginning. It’s conducive environments such as this where clubs and organizations such as The Loggers Union sprout and take root.
“The Movement started out as a capsule to formalize and create an identity for ourselves,” says Ryan Anderson, the founder and director of The Loggers Union. “We started out as a group of single fin surfers, based in Port Elizabeth. United under the name, The Loggers Union, this small group began to grow and influence other surfers from around the country and slowly the movement began to gather momentum in other cities too.”
Gallad Smith Swoops © Kody McGregor
Sounds epic, right!? So, what is TLU’s mission, and why logging? “Well, I believe that people are looking for a more relaxed and meaningful way to spend their free time. I think that logging hits the sweet spot of allowing you to slow down, enjoy the glide and be in the moment. People are looking to be a part of something authentic which is more aligned with who they truly are. Our tagline for the Loggers Union is ‘Creative Community’. Our objective is to be a movement that supports and provides a platform for people who are creative through various forms of expression such as retro surfing, surfboard building, music, art, design etc. We are very much about community and bringing people together around single fin surfing and the beach culture.”
Bruce Gold – never to be imitated or seen again. A living legend. © Scott Martin Images
There are some folks that project the perspective that surfers have lost their original essence of being ocean advocates and nature guardians. Perhaps this is as a result of a loss of communal mindset so pervasive in our society these days. In fact Ryan and TLU have some thoughts along these lines; “I think that surfing worldwide is in a good place, in that, the surfing population is more open-minded to riding various boards, which will allow them to have the most fun in any given conditions. I would also love to see surfers attitudes change in the water, to being more community-minded and not so self-centred, but that’s a personal struggle we all have with our egos.”
As with any movement of substance, The Loggers Union have created bespoke events, centred around logging and beach culture; The Cobbles Classic & The J-Bay Loggers Classic.
An event so awesome that even JFF’s mama, Alex Florence got involved! © Kody McGregor
The Cobbles Classic, held at the perfect longboarding canvas of Cobbles Point spawned from an event held back in the 90’s, the aptly named ‘Soul Surf Classic’. The focus of this event is on having a good time and hanging out at the beach with your family. It’s an annual gathering of the SA logging clan and seen as a loggers pilgrimage. Inclusive of this is the intention to draw awareness to the home of the event, The Cape Recife Nature Reserve.
Logs, a Sense of Community, and Good Times are bountiful at The Cobbles Classic.
The success of this now iconic surfing and lifestyle event has resulted in TLU being commissioned by the Supertubes Foundation, to host and run an event over the popular J-bay Winterfest. The J-bay Loggers Classic ran over the last weekend of July this year in perfect J-bay Point surf. Both local and international surfers were treated to epic J-Bay surf conditions over the 3 day event, along with great local music, artisan food trucks and a craft market, which created another classic festival event under the Loggers Union banner.
The Quintessential Surf Wagon Plays an Integral Part in The Logging Culture © @welovepictures
It’s people like the ‘Union crew who play such an integral role in enriching the treasure chest of SA surf culture. Roll The Bones humbly takes it’s hat off to Ryan and the TLU crew for being a beacon of positivity, and setting such a good example for all the surf community in South Africa. See you at the next Cobbles Classic!