Famous South African Surfers

Friends of Boa Onda Guesthouse Peniche today we will discover who are the most famous South African surfers in recent surfing history. We are going to discover the athletes who have written important pages in the landscape of surfing in South Africa, succeeding in establishing themselves on the world surfing circuit.

We will follow the same style as the previous article dedicated to discovering famous American surfers, trying to give you a general overview of the leading figures in South African surfing before moving on to the usual definitive selection. Happy reading.


Who are the popular South African surfers in the world

Shaun Tomson

Shaun Tomson is one of the greatest tube riders in surfing history. He has gone down in history as a world champion surfer, a Pipeline Master as well as a businessman, author, motivational speaker and environmentalist in his post-career. Known for his prominent personality, the former Durban regular-footer is widely regarded as one of the most prolific surfers of the modern era.

Shaun was the first athlete to win 19 professional surfing competitions and the youngest and oldest to win an event during his career. The South African’s talent and charisma have left an indelible mark on the sport. Tomson revolutionised tube riding by introducing a unique technique of ascending and descending, pumping and weaving through and around barrel-breaking sections. At Pipeline, for example, his backhand approach was fierce and fearless, a skill that earned him the Pipe Masters title in 1975/1976. Shaun Tomson rode deeper than anyone without losing control and rarely came out of the pipe with his trademark smile.

“Time dilates inside the tube,” the South African once declared.”

Always a very outspoken character, he is often considered the world’s first real professional surfer, so much so that he briefly worked as a model for Calvin Klein.  Shaun’s most famous nickname is ‘Baba Tom’.


World-famous South African surfers

Below is a list of the most popular and well-known famous South African surfers. The selection as usual cannot be considered definitive as we will endeavour to constantly update it over time. Should you have any useful suggestions, please contact us to further elaborate and improve the post.


  • Corran Addison


  • Grant Baker
  • Chris Bertish
  • Andre Botha (bodyboarder)


  • Damien Fahrenfort


  • Sean Holmes (surfer)


  • Martin Potter (surfer)


  • Jordy Smith


  • John Whitmore (surfer)



Hoping to have provided some useful information regarding the selection of famous South African surfers in the surfing world today, we invite you to provide us with useful suggestions to update this list over time. Also, should you wish to visit us in Portugal, we would be happy to introduce you to our surf school as well as yoga classes in Peniche.

You can write to the following email: info@boaondaguesthosuepeniche.com to get all the clarifications you need regarding our services.

Until next time and have fun in Portugal!

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