Legend’s recently inaugurated High Performance Surfing Academy’s head coach, BRUCE JACKSON is often ragged about losing the 78 St. Michaels World ISA Title to his best buddy, ANT BRODOWITZ. But let it be said that many at the event had him as clear favourite before it even began. It just wasn’t his day. He came second. Bruce was a member of that super talented seventies group of Saffers that gave such a spectacular account of themselves on the North Shore. But that wasn’t enough for Bruce. He wanted to find his own path so he develop his shaping skills and soon was applying himself in the shaping bay with such ferocity that during that period that straddled the start of the eighties, he shaped as many boards as anyone anywhere.


Surfing a single fin on the long walls at Jbay invoked all the memories of the 70’s.


Jacko hasn’t lost an ounce of his stoke or ability.


High speed driving through sections that others just couldn’t make.


Still creating a legacy of excellence, no matter the board or the wave.

It was inevitable that Bruce would land up in Japan. The board manufacturers there recognized his ability to make them money. While there, he won the prestigious Nijima Pro that dropped a wad of dollars in his pockets and fuelled his need to be back to Hawaii as often as possible and for as long as possible. He came back to South Africa and kept pumping the shapes out and eventually after a solid stint down the South Coast at Lisle Coney’s booming Country Rhythm factory in Margate, he hung up his plainer and got into the restaurant trade. His JBay quiver included a very flat and pretty short Merrick for the small stuff and a single fin that helped him cream some of the biggest bombs when it pumped. He was a revelation. In Durban he spends a lot of time paddling skis offshore. His fitness is legendary, but what makes him an absolute standout is his versatility and especially in consequential waves. Big soul arch bottom turns and long sweeping cutbacks are his game. Bruce is a highly experienced coach who was partly responsible for the SA team ISA World Tile win in Durban in 2002.

Name:   Bruce Jackson

Date of Birth:   11 Feb 1956

Where and when you started surfing:  In 1965/66 at  the Bay of Plenty

Surfing achievements: 

– Ten years of international shaping with some of the biggest brands of the time. Opening the door to professional power shaping .

– Many finals and victories in Bay Club contests/ Natal monthly contest as our Bay crew grew up over the early years, surfing and competing with each other with what can only be described as one of the greatest competitive crews to come out of SA surfing.

– Making Natal Boys in the 60”

– Winning  multiple SA Champs (long /short board)

– Making multiple Springbok sides

– Captain  and coach of the national teams

– Runner up Worlds ( short board); 3rd and 5th (in Long Board) Worlds

– Finalist and wins in a number of local and international Pro contests

– Biggest Pro win Nijima in Japan

Latest achievement

– still being able to catch a few as I complete full circle and see the 60”s coming back at me – and its not cosmic

Life outside of surfing: 

– Twenty years in the steak house business

– Seven years in the stainless steel business

– Three amazing children

– One amazing long time girlfriend

Hard knocks:

Had a few big knocks in life……..But…..still going strong !

Favourite surfer:

As a grom, Gerry Lopez; As a pro, Cheyn Horan; As a coach, Shaun Holmes ; As a long boarder, Joel Tudor

Favourite waves:

Durban between the piers; best in the world. Best travel surf destination( and cheapest)- KZN South Coast in May.and June.

Favourite music:

Jazz, piano, acoustic guitar,

Modern surfing – your take:

Love it as long as creativity comes off the bottom turn. Hate it when everyone surfs the same.

The Legends Gathering: – your take;

Firstly thank you for insane surf. I looked at some guys there and couldn’t believe how well they surfed. Then I reminded myself that all these guys were the cream of SA surfing in their day and they have stayed true to their surfing life style.

The Legends Legacy – in a nutshell;

You got to have history to be relevant

Anything else you would like to say.

I thank God for a lot of things in my life and surfing is one of them.

Words and photos © Patrick Flanagan