The Pro Surfer Who Overcame South Africa’s Underworld - Stab Mag

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The fruits of taking the road less traveled. Photo: Alex Hayes

The Pro Surfer Who Overcame South Africa’s Underworld

Joshe Faulkner’s biopic on choosing surfing over gang life.

elsewhere // Nov 17, 2022
Words by Christian Bowcutt
Reading Time: < 1 minutes

Joshe Faulkner made a choice. 

“Two roads diverged in a wood…” the bard Frost famously wrote. Joshe Faulkner grew up in an impoverished township in South Africa. Material resources were scarce. Waves, however, were not. To Joshe, the options were binary — surfing, or gang affiliation. 

In “Everything To Me”, we witness a side of South Africa that’s not common to surf films. We’ve seen the Cableway to Table Mountain in Endless Summer. We’ve seen the metropolitan Durban and its wedgy New Pier. Heaven knows we’ve seen J-Bay. 

But we’ve never seen the inside of a township. A township is a “…suburb of predominantly Black occupation, formerly officially designated for Black occupation by apartheid legislation.” Powers at work long before Joshe was born made his upbringing more complicated than most. This film gives us a glimpse into a world few of us have seen. 

Joshe explains that he lost a handful of friends to gang violence, including his older brother. The pull to join his neighborhood gang was constant. But Joshe swam up the proverbial stream — and up the literal point at J-Bay — to become one of the most promising young surfers out of South Africa today. 

If the unique cultural perspective doesn’t draw your curious click, stay for the surfing. Joshe, who recently got picked up by Billabong, is a phenomenal talent. He, along with Senegalese pro Cherif Fall, have a real shot at qualifying for the CT and/or Olympics in the coming years.

Joshe took the “road less traveled by”. And it’s making all the difference.


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