About Durban


Often referred to as ‘Surf City Durban’ by the global media, Durban’s Golden Mile of beaches is widely acknowledged as one of the prime stretches of surfing real estate anywhere in the surfing world.

Surfing in Durban essentially evolved in the late 40’s from lifesaving  and soon South Africa  joined the rest of the world’s budding expression of surfing as a structured competitive sport in 1966 when Durban hosted the first ever South African Surfing Championships. 




Meanwhile, some of the best surfers in the world were emerging from South Africa which proved to be the catalyst in 1969 when Max Wetteland, Ernie Tomson and Ian McDonald staged the first ever Durban 500, giving rise to surfing professionalism. The first world champion, Midget Farrelly, was invited to give an exhibition, however it was Capetonian Gavin Rudolph who won the event and the R500 prize money.


George Thomopoulos, Durban’s First Surfing Champion.


Peter Burness, secretary of the Natal Surfriders Association, took over and secured sponsorship with Gunston cigarettes and The Gunston 500 became the world’s longest running professional surfing event, ending 30 years later in 1999. In the seventies, Burness invited top surfers to compete in the Gunston 500 to generate overseas invites for South African surfers.   

Durban’s Shaun Tomson captured the biggest winning streak in professional surfing winningthe Gunston 500 a record of six consecutive times from 1973 – 1978. Tomson also became World Champion in 1977 and by the time he retired at the end of 1989, he had established himself as a global surfing icon. For two decades the lure of prize money, silverware and Durban’s fabled tube rides saw dozens of foreign surfers competing in Surf City up to 2008.



Ntando Msibi represents the next wave of Durban surfers.

Today Durban is every much as ever ‘Surf City’. But different. Before the waves and the beaches of Durban were segregated, now the waves are shared by all. 

A strong contingent of Zulu surfers are not only competing at the highest international level, but there is strong organic growth in the community that has resulted in boys and girls of all ethnicities paddling out to test themselves against our waves.




For international surf tourists, Durban is a vibrant city with a host of opportunities to experience consistent warm water waves. It’s also a cosmopolitan city where Africa, Europe and India merge to conjure up a rare and exotic mix of cultures. Most important of all  – its a lot of fun. Durban’s amazing infrastructure and the availability of a variety of accommodation options adjactent to the beachfront makes it an easy sell to surfers from all around the world.

The Goodwave event’s primary objective is to pick a champion, but showcasing Durban as a surf tourism destination and providing opportunities for all communities to surf Durban’s brilliant waves are top of the list of priorities. 

Durban is a member of WSCN, a cooperative and growing network between cities around the world where a collective strategy to develop surfing as an activity to generate wealth is the primary goal. 

WSCN have calculated that $2 billion per year is spent on international surf tourism.


Since returning to the international sporting world, South Africa has proven its ability to stage major sporting events – many held for the first time on African soil. Durban, as a host city, has played an integral part in South Africa’s reputation as a leading sporting destination. With a track record of successfully hosting leading sporting events on behalf of South Africa and Africa, Durban is known as Africa’s premier sporting destination, having invested R3,4 billion in sporting infrastructure since 2009.


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Copyright: Goodwave 2019