Quintin van Jaarsveld
South African surfing legend Heather Clark married long-time partner Menize Hattingh at Kenton B&B in Harding on Saturday.
The ceremony quite fittingly had a surfing theme with the venue, owned by Clark’s sister Brenda and her husband Dave Willey, decked out with beach décor.
The couple tied the knot in front of a host of family and friends including former pro surfer Kim Wooldridge – who competed with Clark on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour for over a decade – who flew out from Australia to attend the wedding.
“It turned out better than my wildest expectations,” a beaming Clark told eHowzit.
The Port Shepstone icon, now one half of Mrs and Mrs Clark, added, “As we were dancing, we kept saying ‘We’re married! We’re married!’ It still hasn’t sunk in yet.
“I just love everything about Menize. She’s loving and caring and everything a partner would want to grow old with. Of course, it helped that she fell in love with surfing too, so that sealed the deal,” she laughed.
The “Queen of South African surfing” had to ride a wave of nervous energy en route to getting married.
A thunderstorm on Thursday night had threatened to derail the couple’s special day, ripping down framework and reducing the venue to a mud pool.
Friday, however, brought a change in fortune for the admittedly nervous Clark and company as the rain held off, allowing for a spirited ‘save-the-wedding’ mission.
Parents Dave and Dawn Clark and Hanna and Bertus Hattingh, Clark’s aunt Gail Sutton, cousins Maxine and Kelsea Sutton (along with boyfriends Moolman de la Harpe and Sam Crouch), the Willeys and their staff all worked tirelessly to erect and transform a tent into a wedding wonderland.
“As stressful as it was, we couldn’t have asked for anything better thanks to our amazing family,” said Clark.
“When I was stressing about everything, Menize kept her cool and kept saying, ‘Babe, just relax, everything will work out’ and it did.
“We don’t have enough words to thank everyone for all their hard work. A big thanks to pastor Gert van der Merwe as well. It worked out perfectly and Menize was my perfect bride.”
Sisters Brenda Willey and Alta van Zyl were the maids of honour, Clark’s nieces Nicole and Kirsten Human were the bridesmaids and Emma Thompson and Mayah Potgieter were the flower girls.
Veronica Rosewarne was the MC, Top Marx Catering tantalised the taste buds and DJs Henk and Felicity had everyone dancing the night away.
The love birds met at action cricket and started dating back in July of 2012. They took the next step in their relationship when they got engaged at Mac Nichol’s Caravan Park in November of 2014.
“Russell and Olivia Symcox helped Menize by setting up everything while we were still fast asleep in our tent,” Clark recalls about the engagement. “When I woke up, we took a walk down to the lagoon and there it was, all set up – champagne, flowers, the whole lot.
“It’s been an amazing journey and we both have the most loving and supportive families and friends. Menize makes me the happiest person on earth and our new life together can only get better.”
Clark is the most decorated South African women’s wave-rider of all-time.
She spent 14 years on the ASP World Tour, eight of which were spent on the World Championship Tour, which consists of the top 16 female surfers in the world.
She claimed numerous tour wins, most notably becoming the first and only South African – male or female – to win the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in Hawaii in 2000, and was ranked third in the world at the peak of her trail-blazing career.
“Fergie” as she’s affectionately known, boasts two world masters titles, a record eight South African open titles and is a four-time reigning South African masters champion.
At 46, she remains the gold standard of South African women’s surfing, but has in recent years channelled most her energy into grooming future champions through her surf school, Heather Clark Surf Adventures.
Photos by Kirstin Stewart