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The 2020 Wavescape Surf & Ocean Festival Presented By Vans Is A GO!

  • 5 min read

A revitalised Wavescape Surf & Ocean Festival presented by Vans in Cape Town from Friday 4 to Saturday 12 December will include outdoor films with The Galileo Open Air Cinema

The partnership with Galileo – a drive-in surf movie in Constantia and an outdoor film at Kirstenbosch Gardens – will add a welcome physical element to a diverse programme of online and hybrid events hosted by Wavescape in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The flagship Slide Night of talks by ocean gurus from around the world goes online, while Oceans Alive Surf Night: Cape Town, Cold Water and Conservation will be a hybrid global event live from the Two Oceans Aquarium featuring top surfers and scientists from around the world. 

The Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF), which supports shark conservation projects worldwide, resumes its long-standing relationship with Wavescape. SOSF will present the outdoor photographic exhibit WILD SEAS by National Geographic Photographer Thomas Peschak, which features his most iconic images from two decades of documenting the beauty and fragility of the world’s oceans. SOSF has also teamed up with artist Chris Auret to create an ocean-conscious mural along the Sea Point promenade.

Vans have provided 10 “blank” pairs of white sneakers to be decorated by local artists. These will be auctioned on Instagram (@WavescapeSA) during the festival. The surfboard art exhibition has been streamlined into a one-off, one-of-a-kind art board by Brett Murray.

For this year’s artwork, Wavescape collaborates with young South African artist Yay Abe for this year’s artwork, utilising a theme of “adaptation” as the world slowly evolves into a post-pandemic future. 

In other cutting edge developments, the flagship ocean evening of talks, Slide Night, has gone virtual, which has enabled international speakers to take part, among them conservation and nature photographers Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier and Chris Burkard, as well as multi-faceted surf entrepreneur Paul Naude and Australian longboard superstar Belinda Baggs.

Mittermeier is a Mexican biologist and author who founded the International League of Conservation Photographers, and ocean media advocacy group Sea Legacy. Burkard is a California photographer and filmmaker with a passion for capturing meaningful narratives in the raw beauty of nature in remote – often icy – locations, usually with surfing at the centre.

Naude is perhaps South Africa’s most successful surf entrepreneur. A former head of US operations for Billabong, the California resident’s latest creation is the Vissla brand. He was a finalist in the Pipeline Masters in 1976, the year he co-founded Zigzag surf magazine. He tells us about his huge surfboard collection, believed to be the biggest private collection in the world.

A lifelong waterwoman, Belinda Baggs is best known for her longboarding and body surfing in surf films such as Sprout, Come Hell or High Water, and Church of the Open Sky. She is a Patagonia ambassador, and activist who has joined film director Jack McCoy to launch global activist group Surfers for Climate.

This year, with the support of the Wesgro Film and Promotion Unit, Wavescape transforms the Blue Ocean Masterclass into a virtual discussion on film industry best practices and innovative initiatives to keep film shoots plastic free. The webinar will include top conservation speakers and activists speaking on topics from virtual reality to shooting underwater.

Wavescape again hosts the Oceans Alive Surf Night with Two Oceans Aquarium and Wesgro. This evening of surf culture and ocean conservation celebrates the magnificence of the natural world in Cape Town, the adventure capital of the world. 

Top producers Kilowatt AV will beam the show to the world from the aquarium, where top surfers and local and international conservationists chat about big wave surfing and conservation in support of the turtle programme at the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation. 

Other events and elements of the festival include Zag Shorts – a Wavescape collaboration with Zigzag Surfing Magazine. This short film competition for surf and ocean filmmakers culminates in an evening featuring the best 10 films followed by an awards ceremony and Q&A with the winners at Jack Black’s Brewery on Friday 11 December.

Beyond the innovative nature of Wavescape this year, which is part virtual and part physical, organisers look forward to meeting you in the open air at a beach clean-up day of live performances and mural making with Beach Co-op, as well as the Spike Swell Course – a virtual evening of wave science and forecasting with Spike from

Thanks to the following festival partners: Vans, The Save Our Seas Foundation, Long Beach Capital, PETCO, Jack Black Beer, Wesgro and the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation.


  • Fri 4 Dec: Drive In Surf Movies with The Galileo (Constantia) (Limited tickets) 
  • Sat 5 & Sun 6 Dec: Online Film Festival Day 1 (24hour pass) 
  • Sat 5 Dec: Skateboard Art Exhibition by Craig Cockcroft at The Shred
  • Sun 6 Dec: Beach Co-op mural, performance & beach clean-up.
  • Mon 7 Dec: Oceans Alive: an evening of surfing and conservation with top surfers (Two Oceans Aquarium + online event)
  • Tues 8 Dec: Blue Oceans Masterclass – plastic free, virtual reality and underwater realms
  • Tues 8 Dec: Spike Swell Course: virtual evening of wave science & forecasting
  • Wed 9 Dec: Slide Night (online with speakers from South Africa and globally)
  • Thu 10 Dec: Outdoor screening at Kirstenbosch with The Galileo (Limited tickets) 
  • Fri 11 Dec: Zag Shorts – evening of surf film shorts at Jack Black’s Brewery
  • Sat 12 & Sun 13 Dec: Online Film Festival Day 2 (24hr pass)


  • Save our Seas Foundation Mural on the Sea Point promenade by artist Chris Auret
  • SOSF Photographic exhibition on the Sea Point promenade by Thomas Peschak 
  • Art-decorated Vans sneakers – Online auction
  • Limited edition of posters, tees and totes
  • One Brett Murray artboard – Online Auction  

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