It saddens me greatly to write another goodbye message to another great personality who made an indelible stamp on the South African and International surfscape.
Peter Daniels as most of you already know by now passed away in Spain yesterday (6 August 2015).
PD, the surfer and the shaper was a larger-than-life character who grew up in Durban surfing longboards in the mid sixties and went on to be a world renowned shaper. He fell into the Max Wetteland school of shaping excellence early and along with Errol Hickman became a shaper that a multitude of dedicated followers revered. Right up until his last days Peter had scores of surfers frothing over his shapes. Never influenced by trends and always expounding originality, PD’s boards were ‘alive’, sophisticated craft that somehow always found the sweet spot in the surfers that rode them. Among them count Sunny, Slater, Curren and Frankie.
His travels from as early as the late sixties took him everywhere. Hawaii, Australia, Europe, Brazil but he first made his mark in those helicon days of the mid seventies in Jbay when he put his skills in the shaping bay to the test in the water at Supers. Art Brewer was around to snap the first Surfer Magazine cover featuring a Saffa. Never a shrinking violet, PD was as brash as the iconic photo of himself smoking a cigar in a black tee shirt with ‘Bad Company’ in big bold letters that featured in the same issue.
You always had the impression, right up to the end that Peter had it all covered, every time. I remember showing him a Surfer Magazine in about 1975 that featured both Shaun Tomson and his cousin Michael. “How good are these guys.” I said. “I taught those kids how to surf.” was his outrageous reply. Typical of a man who always had a retort that was usually followed by a gruff giggle. Despite years of health problems, right up to the last time I saw him at Max Wettleand’s memorial, less than a month ago, he was at his impenetrable best.
The controversies for which he so renowned, along with his amazing stories of a very full life, painted with the broadest of strokes, will be told over and over again.
The purity of his designs will be forever remembered.
Aloha PD, gone but not forgotten.
By Patrick Flanagan
Words from lifelong friend Michael Ginsberg
This is a shot of Peter and myself in 1971 standing at South Beach with my new 7 0′ Diffenderfer before we embarked on our second escapade around the world.
Peter was my Butch Cassidy and I only wish i could write a book about our experiences we encountered and all the soon to be famous surfers we met and became friends with.
If you knew PD you will know what a fucking classic this man was, without doubt one of the best shapers on the planet, ripped the shit out of Jefferys Bay, always scooped the best girls and was a self marketing genius.
Surfers around the world have lost a top surfboard designer as he referred to himself in later years the fact is that his boards really were great.
Myself and thousands of others have been honored to know you, will seriously miss your knowledge, character and antics.
God has surely thrown away your mould.
Love you my brother say Hi to Max ,Errol and Tony Van – miss you always.