By Godfrey Mocke

Thanks a ton Paul Botha of  (“Life’s a Beach” Communications). for a bit of nostalgia by sending me  this cool photograph entitled “Personality WPL Champs 1965”  (Personality Western province Lifesaving Champs) &  which I clearly remember being taken on Fish Hoek beach way back in January 1965, directly in f ront of Herby Eichel’s present-day Fish Hoek Galley / restaurants.

Allow me taking a bit of license in reminiscing and commenting as to”why?”  the pic, ….

First of all, notice our state-of-the-art full-length, shoulder-strapie non-Speedo, lifesaving competition costumes!! – and I remember from left to right on the day, we were:-  Paul Barrett-Smith (Clifton) Surf

Swim Champion; Hugh Hutton (Fish Hoek) Beach Sprint Champion; IvorWright  (Fish Hoek) Surf Ski Champion; Robin Solomon (False Bay) BoardChampion and (myself) Godfrey Mockè (False Bay) Belt Swim Champion.

Popular (in)famous “Personality” weekly glossy magazine at that timegenerously financed a countrywide regional individual surf-lifesavingcompetition-series staged at the country’s popular beaches during the summer holidays in December 1964 & January 1965, which culminated in a”Personality Lifesaving Champion of Champions” final competition onDurban’s South Beach, held on the week-end after this when our local “WP” photo was taken.

As I remember it, Springbok Lifesaver Rob Connacher (Summerstrand)eventually won the national “Personality-Series” Surf Swim title,Springbok Lifesaver Dr Banjo Kauffmann (Summerstrand) won the Beach Sprint title, Eastern Province Lifesaving kingpin ‘Box’ Graham(Summerstrand) was our Surf Ski champion, Springbok Lifesaver Cleo Marangos (Durban Surf) the Knee-Board champ and my Belt Swim race was aborted after 20-minutes because of heavy surf conditions on the day…but only after our individual harnass belt-lines became too entangledin the side & backwash currents & nobody could make it out to theswim-bouys anchored off the back waveline.

Pioneers in Sports Promotions?

The “Personality” magazine promotions folk at that time were aninspiration to South Africa’s competition lifesavers by covering allour regional national qualifiers’ air-fares & hotel expenses andlavishly laying on transport hither and thither and, to top it all,making much needed cash donations to our regional & national champions’ (voluntary surf lifesaving association) representativeclubs’ funds. This was a bold statement by pioneers in the evolutionof 1st generation Promotions Marketing strategy and amazing when one recalls how damning the tag of “professional sportsman” was and howsports-people needed to avoid being so-labelled in every instanceduring those brittle 1960-years.

Yet I realise now that “Personality” magazine’s operators were aheadof their time in South Africa and directly prompted subsequentcorporate brands like “BP” (Surfboat Series Racing) and “Lucky Strike” (PE to East London Surf Ski Race) to come on board and ‘sponsor’ someof lifesaving’s national competition events shortly after that memorable benchmark Personality-Lifesaving-Series.

Trivia: Where are they now?

Paul Barret-Smith, multi-capped “Springbok” Surf lifesaver is a retired “Speedo” Brand Marketing Executive for Africa and, I suspect, may well be relaxing in the sleepy far-south village of Noordhoek near somewhere.

Paul’s son Luke, a former Surf Lifesaving “Ironman” SANational Team member himself, represented an all conquering Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club squad during the 1990’s.

Hugh Hutton, celebrated False Bay Rugby Football Club wingthree-quarter and a member of False Bay’s  winning Rugby Grand Challenge squad in 1972, and at one stage Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club’s  undisputed SA  Surf Lifesaving Beach Sprint  Champion, now retired, lives in Cape Town’s southern suburbs in Bergvliet.

Ivor Wright, youngest brother of Peter and Roy, Fish Hoek’s famous “Wright Brothers”, all three founder-members of Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club –  occasionally still paddles his distinctive red-and-white hoop-painted racing surfski along our dodgy Fish Hoek Beach / Clovelly Railway Station ‘Great-White’ concourse but is more likely to be seen riding his mountain-bike along the by-ways in the vicinity of Fish Hoek and its surrounding areas, to keep himself fit.

Marina da Gama’s Robin Solomon, current Chairman of Muizenberg’s Ratepayers Association, is the father of Muizenberg’s  world-renowned big wave surfer, Frank Solomon. Like his late father and former London Barrister, (also) Frank Solomon, Robin Solomon is a 1962 founder member & former Chairman of False Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, today situated on Sunrise Beach at the end of Prince George Drive in Muizenberg. Robin’s grandmother (Barrister Frank Solomon’s mother) was the great Bertha Solomon, universally acclaimed British suffragette and uncompromising woman’s rights activist, which makes me appreciate anew that Muizenberg must be a secret ‘breeding-ground’ of many inspiring and innovative people.

Godfrey Mockè, (myself), is an Honourary Life Member of False Bay Surf LIfesaving Club & former national lifesaving gold-medal winner, is an active Collector-Agent presently engaged in a labour dispute with SARS his employer – lives in Fish Hoek, and still swim-coaches Fish Hoek’s lifesavers. Godfrey  Mockè is the  father of Fish Hoek Lifesaving Club’s Dawid Mockè, 3-time & reigning men’s world-surfski-series champion & his wife Nikki Mockè, 2008 Beijing Olympic 1000m K4 canoe finalist, former ladies’ Lifesaving Surfski Champion & former ladies’ world-surfski-series champion – and their younger brother Jasper Mockè who is the current SA Lifesaving Men’s  Surfski champion and former captain of Lifesaving South Africa National Lifesaving Team.


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