Quintin van Jaarsveld
Ramsgate surfer Evan Spittal participated in the KwaZulu-Natal Longboard Championships at Dairy Beach, Durban on Saturday.
Longboarding is primarily practiced by senior surfers. However, a small wave of South Coast juniors like Spittal are starting to discover the unique stoke the oldest form of wave-riding offers.
Spittal was one of a handful of teens to take to the water at the weekend. The Under-14 boys competitor was awarded a certificate and picked up some tips from his peers in what was his first longboard competition.
“The conditions were very good and it was really fun,” Spittal told eHowzit.
Spittal took up surfing in 2013 when he started home-schooling and “needed an individual sport.”
With a natural knack and top-notch coaching from the likes of Kyle Maher, the legendary Heather Clark and Royden Bryson, Spittal has been making a splash on his shortboard.
He represented Ugu at the Grommet Games in both 2016 and 2017 and most recently represented the region at the South African Junior Championships at Jeffreys Bay. He made a promising debut in the national showcase, reaching Round Three of the talent-stacked Under-14 division.
Ironically, frustration led him to longboarding. “Last year during a lesson, I wasn’t having such a good session on my shortboard, so I took a longboard out and caught some bombs and realised it was fun.”
The laidback longboarding bug has well and truly bit Spittal, who said fellow junior surfers are missing out and should give it a go.
“It’s all about style and flow and it’s a fun environment, even at the competition. It’s about doing your own thing. It’s a lot more chilled than regular surfing and it’s the original surf style.”
The rising star will continue to compete in both forms of surfing and aims to make the KwaZulu-Natal longboarding team and Ugu shortboarding side next year.