Shapers/Shops in South Africa

Hello Swaylockers,

I am flying into Durban in a few weeks and will need to pick up a board
or two.  I have thought about bringing my own but board bag fees are
200$ each way.  I know  CI just opened a shop there but I contacted them
and a new board off the rack from them is 700$+.  I figured I could get
something good from a local shaper and then just sell it when I hit cape

I’ve read previous posts about SA shapers but am hoping for some slightly more current info (the threads seem dated).  Can anyone tell me about the quality of the current Spiders, 42surf, Bilt and any other local guys.  I plan on getting a round pin in the 6’4" range and possible something in the 6’ range but made for more grovelly surf.  In other threads it seems as though there might be an issue with light glass/poor quality. Anyone surf shop recommendations in Durban are appreciated too.

Thanks for the help!



Hello Nash, 

This is actually my first reply to any thread on here, but I recently came back from South Africa a little less than a year ago while doing some charity work north of Durban and I thought this info would help you out. While there I got two boards shaped by Errol Hickman who shapes out of the Spider factory and glasses at 42surf right there in Durban (located across the street from each other). I actually got put in touch with Errol through a chance meeting at a northern beach parking lot with a young man named Marc Hyman that was/is trying to set up his own surfing apparel/board/fin rep business in Kwazulu Natal. He was essentially Errol’s rep in the area for Errol’s own label (Errol Hickkman Designs) north of Durban, and surfing with him my colleagues and I learned a lot about the surf culture and industry in South Africa. 

As far as we could tell riding various Spider demos before we met Errol and Marc, the Saffas LOVED their boards glassed thin. Or rather just accepted them that way; Marc later told us that the boards are glassed then turbo cured with lights, so longevity was certainly an issue with their off the rack models. We had a chance to visit the CI shop in the major mall they have there as well- prices were just as you say, ~$700+. Can’t comment on their quality, but alot of the guys in Richard’s Bay seemed to disparage them (could also be the beef Natal guys had with Durban guys. Blue vs White collar). For what it’s worth, I certainly would not have paid that much. 

Anyways, through Errol and Marc we were setup with several custom boards, quickish turn around times, and able to demand heavier glassing. To date my buddy’s board has only a few pressure dents, and mine shows normal wear and tear. All this for around 2500 Rand, which at the time figured out to ~275$ per board. The exchange rate has most likely changed since then, for the better or worse I cannot say…

Errol has a 35+ year history of shaping and surfing in South Africa, and I was more than pleased with the shapes he made for us. Let me know if you want to be put in contact with him or marc directly, and I’ll try to see if the contact info I have for either of them is still current. 

Oh yea- be sure to have a bunny chow with mutton and black label the minute you get off the plane. Also, “bro” is “bru”, “lekka” is “cool” and c*nt is universal. 





Thanks a ton bru, this is really helpful.  I am going to send him an email and see what I can get set up.



Hi Nash , some friends and I were in SA  about 3 years ago , we bought new boards from  The corner surf shop in Muizenberg, a well known surfer friendly surf town just outside Cape Town , when we returned from our surf trip up to Jeffries they bought them back from us , there is a big demand for used boards , it cost us very little . You can also rent boards very inexpensively  . We also bought new wetsuits from them , very inexpensive and good quality they came home with us . Hope this helps .

Seconded what GB said: second hand is in high demand. Whichever route you choose, the cost of customs, suits, bags, etc was very affordable as compared to So Cal. I almost bought a full hard coffin bag to carry my boards back from SA for around 35 US, but decided against it because of fees and stops in London and Italy on the return. You will be able to make your money back by selling the boards to shops once you are done, or as I did with my shaper, he sorted out shipping back to CA through SA Airways on a commercial flight which factored out to ~100$ per board since I wanted a unique souvenir of sorts from my time there… 

Spider is the ‘Al Merrick’ of SA shapers - great boards, but as mentioned, the glassing quality can suck unless you specifically ask for strong glassing - which you can. He’s producing two great boards atm that fit what you are looking for - a groveller called “The Bomb” and a HPSB called the “Hydro-X”. Errol Hickman is also very higly regarded, although I haven’t ridden his boards. A younger shaper, shaping for some of the Durban ProAms is Clayton (  - he’s got some fun looking models. Ciao bru.


Cant go wrong with SA shapers, but be aware that boards on the rack tend to be “pro dims”.  It may require some looking around to get what you want.  Dean Geraghty also makes great boards.  Shops wont buy boards but consign them so keep that in mind.  Have fun I hope you get waves.