Our Story - History

Becoming the dominant surfboard manufacturer in Africa required the efforts of passionate surf professionals over a period of 50 years. Building on this heritage now is a staff of 35 focused on delivering a world-wide service second-to-none. Founding the company were South African Surf Legends Max Whetteland and Baron Stander, who together in


began shaping Safari Surfboards in a small workshop off Umgeni Rd, Durban, using the best materials available at the time. In 1964 the Australian's staged the very first ever World Surfing Championships at Manly Beach Sydney, and Max with his Safari board became South Africa's first surf representative on the global stage. Baron Stander featured in a documentry film on surfboard manufacturing directed by Cliff Matchett, set in the original Umgeni Road Safari factory in Durban.

The 1965 Safari production team was based at the Somtseu Road Factory, Andrew Ogelvie at the time was still in matric and shaped boards after school. Graham Hynes first bought out Max and then Baron from the company. He and his wife Lorraine were the driving force behind Safari's success over a period of 40 years. Graham made a lasting imprint on South African Surfing with his coaching and management of SA's National Team. At 82 years of age he is still coaching SA teams today, although he handed over the reins of Safari to Spider in 2002

Spider shaped his first board in 1965

at the age of 16 and founded War Surfboards before joining Graham Hynes at Safari as their main Shaper in


1965 Safari production team: Left to Right, Tony Ceriff (shaper), John Helsdon (sander), Baron Sander (glasser), Andrew Ogilvie (shaper)

following the departure of Andrew Ogilvie. He is still in the shaping bay or on the beach everyday and has become one of the world’s most experienced and prolific shapers. Spider's creative approach to surfboard design developed through his relationship with Shaun Tomson. Their partnership broke with conventional design and the results were boards which suited Shaun's style of manoevering far back in the barrel. In 1975

Shaun was making headlines in Hawaii on Spider's Pipeline Gun when he took the Pipe Master's Title, following with the World Championship in 1977

These victories brought world wide attention to Spider's shaping skills. Spider's Pipeline Gun features in the Quicksilver Masters Collection of boards that revolutionised surfing over the years. Under Graham's leadership Safari led the surf scene in South Africa and the rest of the world. In 1976

Safari sponsored the Springboks versus the Bronzed Aussie Challenge at Cave Rock, on the Bluff in Durban. Having shaped boards for more than 20 World Champion surfers over a 45 year period, Spider has developed a consultative style that has and still does bring out the best from some of the world's most innovative surfers.

Our Story - Future

The future for Safari is continuing to use the collective experience of our team to ensure your board is personalized for stoke maximization, irrespective of your age or experience.

To keep things fresh Spider regularly surfs with our up and coming groms. Training with them daily gives him inspiration for new ideas and encouragement to dig deep into his wealth of experience. Safari’s groms are dedicated and over time have developed unique styles that are the formula for future champions. They grab onto anything new and different and strive for new levels in their surfing every day.

Spider is in the ocean at first light every day, testing new designs and techniques. His rigorous training and healthy lifestyle enables him to surf Safari’s Pro Models at their limit and understand fundamentally what makes them work. This dedication is critical to the feedback loop which goes into the shaping bay, where he is constantly improving and refining his performance shapes as well as innovations in fun board design.

Safari will continue to fulfil our customer’s highest expectations through our combination of surfboard design and hands-on experience in selecting and designing the right board for you. This is our future and yours.