A few nights ago, the core crew and winners of the 2016 Rebel Sessions gathered in Kommetjie.
Mad-Mike arrived barefoot, bushy-haired and wide eyed. "What're you going to do with your money?" I asked, after we'd presented him with his huge winning cheque. He shot me a furtive glance, then quickly looked down at the wooden deck below his feet. "It's a lot of money, a lot of money." He says, mostly to himself. "I've had a lot of time to think about it, so I know exactly what I'm going to do." He refuses to say anything more than that. (I was left to wonder what crazy scenes were being cooked up in the wildman's head.)
Rebel Sessions local director Neil Webster says loudly, to a round of cheers. "South Africa is the most beautiful country in the world and this event is a chance to promote that.".
Judge, Ian Armstrong is sitting beside his wife Leigh, whilst his 8th child Levi, snoozes contentedly in his lap. "The swell is arriving." He says, in measured tones, whilst staring intently out to sea. Off in the distance, one of the outer reefs is just starting to throw plumes of white spray that look like castor sugar, in the strong south east wind.
Looking around the gathering, I see a community of people who have known each other for many decades. People who have known each other since school days and who have known each other's children, since birth. I think to myself, that this gathering of people is a testimony to the heritage and legacy of our sport. As importantly however, it's also a potential indicator for who could be taking South African surfing it into the future.
Rebel Media owner, Christian, clears his throat and stands to his feet. "We don't do this event to make money." He says, smiling broadly. "We do it, because we love surfing. We do it, because we love South Africa."