The Scenic South seems to breed champions, especially champs in a great variety of watersports. One of the latest on this venerable list is newly crowned Grand Masters Waveski World Champion for 2011-2012, Charl du Plessis.
Charl, no longer living quite in the Scenic South, but near enough, is well-known in local waveski circles. We met while living in Kommetjie 25years ago and soon became family friends with him and his late wife Linda.
For as long as we have known Charl he has been a passionate surfer and cyclist. He made his Western Province waveski debut in 1981 and has not missed a South African National Championship since then, captaining the Western Province side for many years and reaching the finals several times over. In 2000 he achieved a 4th place in the Masters division in the World Championships in Jeffreys Bay. Earlier this year he was placed 4th in the Grand Masters division in the SA champs . It was here that he was selected as part of the Protea squad to compete this August in Santa Cruz in Portugal in the Ocean Spirit Festival. Teams from 15 countries took part in the event. In Santa Cruz, after 32 years of competitive surfing, he achieved his ultimate goal of a world championship title when he was chosen as the Grand Masters Waveski World Champion for 2011-2012. (Charl is on the right in the picture).
An ardent cyclist, Charl has also completed 21 Argus Cycle tours, clocking his best time at 2hrs 56 min.
Long-time friend and fellow waveski surfer Phil Smuts of Noordhoek had this to say about Charl:
“My first encounter with Charl du Plessis was at a beginners’ contest I was running at Muizenberg. Ever polite, he asked me; ‘Meneer, wanneer is die finale uitdun?’ He went on to win the event. Scarcely 12 months later, this cheeky youngster relegated me to 2nd place at our end of year contest at Camps Bay!
Not too many years later he flattened my record by representing WP more than anyone else by a country mile. I guess I should have resented him but Charl du Plessis makes as many friends as he wins events. If there is anyone you would wish at your side in a war he is it!
He has overcome severe physical and emotional disasters in his life with the same unyielding determination and will power that he applies to his sport. His title of World Champion is just reward for the trials and tribulations he has endured. I am proud to call him friend.”
And so are we all. Charl, devoted father, loyal friend, great sportsman and a true gentleman – we salute you!
Photo of Charl surfing in Noordhoek supplied by Phil Smuts.
Charl’s comments about his trip to Portugal:
“It was wonderful. I think that the coastline north and south of Lisbon is the most beautiful I have ever seen. The water is so much warmer than ours, although it is also the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic Ocean means good surf! I counted about 80 fantastic surf spots in the 100km coastline that I saw.
Although there are many surfers in Portugal, they aren’t as agro as here. I was disappointed with the food, as I love the Portuguese food we get in this country and the girls ….? Maybe we are spoilt in South Africa! Food in supermarkets is cheaper than in SA. Their meat is not great. (Charl is a connoisseur!) Red wine was cheap and very drinkable (Charl is a connoisseur here, too!). Housing also seems a lot cheaper than in SA. We had 14 days of perfect weather (20°C – 29°C) with the sun setting at about 10pm. Generally people there seem to be very laidback, taking life a lot easier than most of us do.” (Sounds like a good idea to me!)