When we decided to get this Legends thing going in 2014 on the North Beach Pier, Graham Cormac made the suggestion that we model the group on South African Rugby Legends.
I kinda recalled the organization that celebrates the sport of rugby by honouring retired players. However it was only when we were in Gavin Varejes’ Sandton office, our first port of call to ask for his help and blessing, that I realized that there was much more to Rugby Legends than a bunch of crocks playing the odd game of rugby and drinking beer and lauding their achievements as the sun went down .
Rugby Legends is all about giving back massively by means of coaching, inspiring and mentoring junior rugby players across the land and north into Africa. Making a difference.
That is what we wanted to do, roll up our collective sleeves and help cultivate aspiring groms to become champions. Three years on, we’re not claiming anything yet, but Jason Ribbink together with coach Chad Du Toit and Spider Murphy are on the beach every weekday afternoon coaching juniors under the banner of High Performance Surfing Academy. an affiliate of SASL.
As with the Rugby Legends, none of this would have been possible without the help and guidance of ex Durban City Council lifesaver now business leader, Gavin Varejes.
He was also a major supporter of the late and very great Jooste van der Westhuizen assisting in the setting up of Jooste’s ‘J9” foundation.
I’ve just finished watching a tribute to Jooste that was held at Loftus Versveld where Gavin delivered an epic tribute to the legendary Spingbok. His time on the podium firstly reminded me of how he never speaks about himself or his incredible achievements and secondly just how fortunate surfing in South Africa is to have such an inspirational leader at the heart of Surfing Legends.
Right at the beginning of our journey he said “They (the surfing legends) aren’t legends because of their incredible achievements. They are legends because they want to give back and to make a difference”. That paragraph is the guide to what South African Surfing Legends is all about.
As Morne Du Plessis once said: “Thank you Gavin, you’re the biggest legend of all.”
Oh my word ..I missed seeing the funeral live and so took time a few moments ago to watch tributes on google…watching Sumari sing …I noticed this man behind ….her….quite emotional and clearly very sad about the loss as well as the emotional tribute in song: I asked my husband who he as and when he said Gavin Variges I could not believe my ears !
Gavin ! our very own Gavin – our home boy from Durban .
Now I haven’t seen him for years but there was a time way back -when he was still here (in Durban )and his early years in Jhb …where we all “did life together”
I asked my husband Wess— but why …is he …how is he….and I should have known the answer right off:Because that’s what Gavin does -he helps people selflessly .
Gavin – I’m proud of you and thankful that you still the most special heart and soul ever …and in some strange way …through this ….I have been linked with you again
Tanya (van Agthoven )
He is an amazing man.
I have had the privilege of calling Gavin one of my best friends for over 45 years , and have been through so much with him .. and his loyalty , kindness , and thoughtfulness have been the consistent qualities that never waiver or bend , regardless of the situation , and he never gives up .. Salut my Friend , I watched the tribute from NC USA and without saying anything I felt your pain , and knew the effort from you and Tanya ,that it took to have pulled off that tribute to Joost.. You are the epitome and definition of the word “Legend”.
Gav you really are a special person who does so much for so many . Take a bow my mate and thank you .
Yes i have heard also so many good things about him. The very giving man, honest, great father and best husband. What role model of a family man he is.. almost perfect. What a great man. He can either change your life for the better or completely destroy you. Depends how he wants it. He is there for you or he cuts you out of everything almost as if you dont exist. (Clap clap) what a Legend Gavin is.
Gavin is a true Legend. He is an extraordinary human being. He gives freely and selflessly from the heart extending himself, giving of his time, energy and resources with no expectation of anything in return. He lives life sharing his passion and creating happiness all around him. His humility, generosity and compassion to others shine. I met Gav and his beautiful family through Shaun and we are so fortunate to call him a friend. God Bless RIP Joost Prayers and strength to family & friends