South Africa Memories // Sandy Ordille

Kombi Life in SA.

In May of 1977 I had yet to experience an out of the United States (besides Baja excursions from San Diego) surf journey. The yearning to go was deeply embedded in my psyche and internally I knew opportunities were in the wind. The Durban, South Africa, Gunston 500 was scheduled to include a women's professional surfing event in mid July. I had been living and working as a waitress in La Jolla, CA saving my earnings and honing some new surf skills on the beautiful reefs and beach breaks that adorn that stunning stretch of coastline. 

I rounded a corner of the junior college campus I was attending and bumped into a fellow surfer girl who had received some news of an organized pro tour formed by Randy Rarrick and Fred Hemmings from Hawaii.  Having just finished a final exam and filled with enthusiasm to start my search, I listened intently as DB filled me in on the details (logistics). Randy would be the designated Tour Guide and the itinerary would follow a path that landed a legion of some of the best surfers in the world at designated Pro Events in Durban, SA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Huntington Beach, CA, then, on to Oahu, Hawaii for a showdown at Sunset Beach. After that; on to Australia where The Clubbie and Boardrider Associations were ready to team up with Randy and Fred, all to be a part of The newly formed International Professional Surf Tour! I felt my heart skip a beat and my spirit soar! This was it! What I had dreamed of since a young girl of 12 sitting through 2 straight showings of "The Endless Summer" with my mom and brother. 

The next several weeks were a frenzy of preparation and frugal living! Yes, it was once possible to work hard and save money, so I did. The airfare was $1500 with multiple stops and surfboard included. When crunch time hit my biggest challenge was finding a ride to LAX to meet up with the plane that would carry all the Hawaiian and California surf team members. I was the only surfer from San Diego going on this first leg to South Africa. Randy had been very helpful, explaining the long journey ahead. Reality is - nothing could ever completely prepare me for the incredible journey I was about to begin. 

 I boarded the plane in LAX, walked down the aisle searching for my seat and started to recognize the friendly faces of fellow surfers: men and women, talking excitedly about this tour. and being very open hearted towards me. The aloha was onboard. I was assigned a seat next to Lynne Boyer and Becky Benson and we soon became fast friends. They had been to South Africa the year before and shared some welcomed information on wave conditions, water temps and a spot called Jeffreys Bay.

 Pictured here on far left: Possibly Greg Huglin on camera, definitely Critter Byrne standing next to him, next, Allen Sarlo from Malibu and Dean of Huntington Beach, CA.

Steve Massfellar was an excellent Kombi driver. He navigated the reversed steering challenges as well as the opposite side of the road through thru traffic. The road trip from Durban to Jeffreys Bay was an amazing adventure; our surf caravan consisted of four completely packed Kombi vehicles loaded with roof racks filled with single fin quivers.