Beyrick de Vries comes across as a funny guy. Believe me, he is very, very funny. Just follow him on Instagram to find out for yourself. But, underneath the humour and laughs lies a very serious competitor and a perfectionist. Hence, it took a bit longer to get his signature film out than planned, because it had to be perfect.
A serious cast of surfing talent
I was fortunate enough to be in the water at a few locations where the film was shot. Beyrick was a standout at every session.
Joining him in the varied African lineups was a tight crew of his friends, who all happen to be some serious rippers themselves. Brendon Gibbens is probably the most famous free surfer to ever come out of South Africa. Shane Sykes is one of the most talented of the younger generation, hailing from Salt Rock in Ballito. Then you have perennial charger, Dale Staples, in the mix.
All in all, a stacked lineup of South African surf talent.
Location, location, location – Beyrick de Vries chose well!
You cant have a good surf film without some dam good surf locations. Beyrick de Vries knows this, so for “Higher Light” he took the crew to some of Africa’s top wave destinations. The crystal clear waters of Mozambique, deadly tubes of Namibia and the fun, exotic destination of Senegal give the film a real African flavour. Then you add some thundering tubes on the East coast of South Africa and the frigid waters of the Cape and you have all the ingredients for an A grade film.
Watch the film, you will enjoy it!
The crew under the direction of, Steve Michelson and Monster Energy have put out an incredible film. So sit back and enjoy one of the best South African surf productions to date!
I have to say, especially knowing the young man this is based on, I was really touched by the sincerity and honesty of this short film. Made by Calvin Paul Thompson, Thando, tells the story of a young boy, Thando, growing up in the township, who loves the ocean. His father introduced him to this magical place, but after he dies, the kids life spirals down a path many in the informal settlements end up experiencing.
Drugs, crime and violence become reality, resulting in Thando running away from home and becoming a street kid, at an age where most children cant go to the shops on their own. But, there is a positive message to be taken from this story and I only hope that, Calvin gets more funding, to complete the full story.
Interview with the Filmmaker
I asked Calvin if it was indeed ispired by former street kid and pro surfer, Ntando Msibi?
Calvin: I know you’ve had your own relationship and experience with Ntando, so it’s cool to talk to you about this. The film’s storyline is entirely based on Ntando Msibi yes. He was going to feature in the final scene but unfortunately I couldn’t organise to shoot it before the DIFF submission date closed. So he wasn’t really directly involved in the actual production, but we always spoke about making a narrative based on the stories he’d tell me about growing up in Kwamashu and running away from home. And I wrote the script based off notes I made talking to him at the surf project years ago
I really wanted to know if there will be a sequel, that continues the story of Thando, from the streets to becoming a Pro Surfer?
Calvin: Yes I’d like to make a sequel/follow up if I can raise funds for a decent production, I’d love to do another film with Surprise acting – he’s a real champ and a dream to work with bru.
Surprise is one of my favorite little groms from Durban! He has just started competing too and expect some big results from him in the future.
Lastly I asked Calvin why he made this project?
Calvin: My friendship with Biggy, combined with my my keenness for filmmaking I guess, is what made me wanna make the film in the first place. I wanted to make a story that had some truth and meaning, rather than just for the sake of fancy visuals and effects etc. I wanted to put people in the shoes of Ntando for a few minutes, and see how it must have been growing up for him. This short film obviously didn’t have the space to do that justice, but it gives the audience a taste at least. Getting to the truth behind Ntando’s back story became a fascination of mine while getting to know him, because everyone’s always had their own version and opinion on it, so when I finally sat him down in like 2015 and got some real facts straight from him, turning it into a film was inevitable I guess.
The Film – Thando:
I highly reccomend watching this inspiring film. You can watch Thando below:
Two weekends ago saw Africa’s top snowboarders and skiers compete in the 2015 Xperia Winter Whip Snowboard and Ski Jam. The event took part on Saturday, 15 August 2015 at the Afriski Mountain Resort in Lesotho, and welcomed athletes from around South Africa and Lesotho, as well as a further 9 international riders from Canada, New Zealand and Slovenia.
The Resort’s Kapoko Park was pristinely groomed and prepared over a number of weeks, in order to provide the competitors with a top-class slopestyle course to lay down their best tricks and vie for a podium position.
The Amateur division was the largest and most competitive of the day, with judges giving progression precedence throughout the day. David Copperfeel, a local rider from the Wits Ski Club put down some impressive runs and finished in 3rd place. Jason Lammers looked good to defend his 2014 title, including some steezy transfers and good amplitude in his runs, but it wasn’t enough to beat the scale and progression from Sean Irwin who claimed victory, leaving Lammers to settle for 2nd place.
JTK returned for another competition year and dominated in the Ski division taking the win convincingly with a variety of big airs, switch backflips, 360’s and a frontflip over the final feature of the course – the Ugandan Stall Rail. Slovenian skiers, Patrick Matula and Karol Hierweg put on a big battle for 2nd place with Matula claiming it in the end and Hierweg taking home 3rd.
Among the cash and product prizes, Amateur Snowboarder and Ski division winners, Sean Irwin and JTK both also took home Xperia M4 Aqua phones.
The only entrant into this year’s Junior division was 10 year old, Erin Nel, who also insisted on riding with the Ladies division in their jam session. Nel didn’t hold anything back, hitting all of the course’s big kickers and technical rail sections, taking the Junior division win. More impressive is that Nel’s overall score would have put her into 3rd place in the Ladies division – a serious future contender in ladies snowboarding.
In the Ladies division, Vanessa Jackson showed consistency in her runs throwing down a solid 180 switch 50-50 to 180 out on the flatbox to finish in 3rd position. Slovenian Martina Molnarova had solid rails, cab 180’s and switch rails featured in her runs to put her in 2nd place. Mawa Jekot was again unbeatable and defended her 2014 title with cab 360’s, frontside 360’s and steezy rails. Jekot’s 1st place also saw her win one of two Club Med prizes consisting of an all-inclusive snow holiday for two to Club Med Val Thorens in France.
The Pro Men division was the last on course for the day, never disappointing with some extremely impressive riding from all the competitors. A very close battle took place between Luke Dutton and Dean van Greunen. Dutton threw down 360’s and front lips over the kickers and a big 360 over the rainbow rail. Van Greunen had Backside 540’s on lock and solid rail riding, but it was van Greunen’s use of course and hitting all the features, that counted in his favour as he edged out Dutton for 2nd place. Canada’s Liam Roy was dominant with his technical rail riding, switch frontside’s, backflips and 360’s to take the overall. Being the top South African finisher, van Greunen took home the second Club Med prize for an all-inclusive snow holiday for two to Club Med Val Thorens.
Xperia Winter Whip organiser, Ryan van der Spuy said, “This year’s event was a huge feat and we cannot thank all those involved enough – from the athletes who continue to share their passion for the sport, judges who gave their time to score each run, the media who have helped spread the word, the medics onsite, Kapoko Park parkies and Afriski Resort who provided us with a top grade course and facilities, the spectators and our incredible sponsors. We have received such great support from our sponsors this year; Sony Mobile, Club Med, Red Bull, Skullcandy, Neff, Jägermeister, G-Form and Burton, all of whom helped to make the 2015 Xperia Winter Whip a great success”.
Celebrations went on late into the night at the Gondola Café with resident DJ Black Sparrow and a live performance from SDO.
2015 Xperia Winter Whip Results
1st Sean Irwin
2nd Jason Lammers
3rd Wesley Schallen
2nd Patrick Matula
3rd Karol Hierweg
1st Erin Nel
1st Mawa Jekot
2nd Martina Molnarva
3rd Vanessa Jackson
1st Liam Roy
2nd Dean van Greunen
3rd Luke Dutton
As a surfer Madagascar has been on the map for many years, but its definitely not the first place to pop in your head for a skate tour. But it seems that there is a skate culture growing there, so Red Bull took a crew of international skaters to go explore the land of the lemurs…
Madagascar sounds a bit like something from the pages of a fantasy novel. Everyone knows that this place exists, but it’s so remote that it is almost like a myth. The island resides on Africa’s west side and is a rare destination for outsiders, isolated by both sea and distance.
A crew of skaters including Barney Page, Denny Pham, Nestor Judkins, Wilko Grüning, Brian Dolle, and Gosha Konyshev saw this as a challenge. Without knowing what any of the terrain would be like, the guys booked their flights and shipped out to the island to go find out for themselves….if only they knew what they were in for. Check out part 1 from their skateventure.
Shred in peace, Wilko Grüning.
Our utmost condolences go out to Wilko, his family, and the entire skateboard community.
This event is fast turning into Africa’s most prestigious dirt jump event with a host of international Bmx and Mtb riders coming to the sleepy village of Hout Bay to compete at the Potato Trails. They wont have it all their way though as a strong local contingent, spearheaded by Mo Peters and Greg Illingworth, fight to defend SA honors. The event gets underway at 7pm, but get there early for the best seats. Catch myself and US MC, Catfish on the mic.
Ok, so the video is actually an Ian Walsh project, but to be fair, Grant Twig Baker and Frank Solomon, the South African chargers, are rather prominent. The video was shot by surf cinematographer, star, Taylor Steele, and funded by Hullet Packard, hence the Hollywood feel. The boys charge some rather perfect looking, but extremely heavy waves up the West Coast.