The 1966 South African Champion, Robert MacWade won that great event at Ansteys Beach in possibly the biggest waves in the champs history.
After going over the falls (clutching his board, way before leashes made their appearance) he went on to totally dominate on that historic Saturday afternoon in July. In that event, scores were accumulated so when the finals were held at the Wedge in lazy glassy waves on a warm Sunday morning, virtually all he had to do was pitch. That earned him a place in the Springbok team that went to the World Title in San Diego in October that year. It also earned him a place in South African Surflore.
He came back to Durban and Max Wetteland afforded him the honour of creating a ‘nose rider’ signature model. That Wetteland team was brimming with talent. Robert, Ant van der Hewel, Max, Wowie Plater, Erroll Hickman, Ginz, PD and Garnett Curry (Skateboarder) enjoyed bonafide celebrity surfer status at a time when surfing was breaking out all over South Africa.
In 1970 he took to the road – first to Europe then Hawaii where he rode Waimea Bay on a 7’2″ when everyone else was on boards in the ten foot range. In today’s world, those sessions would be all over social media and a definite entry on the XXL page. Like French Fredericks and Max Wetteland, Robert (Baby Scales as he was known in those days) is a product of Pirates Lifesaving Club.
His travels have taken him everywhere from the Commores were he worked as a resort electrician to islands all around the Indian and the Pacific Oceans.
Having just turned seventy, Robert and his partner Wendy are presently cruising two up on a yacht on a trip that has taken them from Africa through Indo and the Pacific to Queensland.
His laid-back attitude only changes when he talks surfing. Then his piercing blue eyes come alive with passion and expression. Thousands of surfers shackled to desk everywhere must covet a lifestyle totally hooked up to decade after decade of surfing and surf travel.
Without doubt, Robert is one of the iconic South African big wave giants and if he was forty years younger he’d be challenging the world’s best in that arena.
© Patrick Flanagan 2015
If you are anywhere near Sanctuary Cove Gold Coast Queensland on your sailing / surfing travels call in a stay with us at the Marina. Our boat is berthed there and it would be great to catch up.
You would be most welcomed -Jim
Hi Jim, So good to hear from you. We are anchored in Bums Bay. At present housesitting Coombabah, in between , feeding a beautiful cat.Wendy does Canvas work for yachts so makeing use of the floor. Enjoying the Gold Coast. So you are in a Marina will have to check where that is. Our Phone number is 0447029781 please call us a call would love to catch up with you.
Robert you always were a class act. Low key. Fearless!
Taught me a lot as a grom.
You really are livin the dream! And look good too.
The day Rob sailed out with Wendy he never had to look back. What a way to experience the things he loved so much. Wendy, Surfing, sailing and not to forget Golf 🙂 The journey is never easy but each moment has its rewards. Blessed forever.
mickey where you now days long time no see
cheek u out on browser,be great to hear from u
Howdy old man ,been a long long time ,always wondered were u went ,drop us a line ,also want to go sailing maybe we could meet somewhere out there stay well regards kevin
How you doing been trying to contact you for a long time. I thought I saw you 2 years ago in the miracle mile shopping centre in Vegas. I was having breakfast and i got up and tried to chase after you but you dissapeared in the crowds curious to know if it was you. maybe if you in Durban we can catch up
robby how are you doing still sailing you should be here where i am in the bseychelles
still delivering on the soul side Robbie…forward is the way
Hi Rob would like to catch up if you are ever in Durban it’s been a long time you can call me on 0824117399
I doubt you will remember me since we were kids in Durban when we met. I remember Scott Walker from the Walker Brothers
was on the record player and we were at some party in Durban North.
Its funny, about six or seven years later, I was at an after party concert for Stephen Stills at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan and I
landed up sitting next to Roger MGuinn from the Byrds and who said he knew you and had surfed with you, not professionally,
in SA. I have bumped into Roger a couple of times since then and he always remembers that conversation.
I’m in the midst of writing my second book and it’s all in there. If you stay in touch or send me a place to reach you, I will
let you know when its out.
I’m thinking of coming back to SA to live for a few years probably only around the end of next year, but will be visiting either this October or
next March if you around. Do we need more people in our lives at this point? Sometimes. Only if they add to it, no?
You have aged fantastically,
Sending you a big hug,