A few years ago, former world surfing champion and South African surfing legend Shaun Tomson swapped the sunny shores of KwaZulu-Natal for sunny California.
But now he’s back. Well, sort of.
A few days ago, he returned to Durban – the hometown where he first learned the sport under the watchful gaze of his dad and made his mark as a competitive surfer – to launch the local screening of his hit film “Bustin’ Down the Door“.
The film’s Durban premiere last week was a precursor to the Wavescapes Surf Film Festival, part of the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) that runs between July 23 and August 3.
Wavescapes opens with an outdoor screening of the film High Water on Sunday, July 27 at the Bay of Plenty, the beach where Tomson’s meteoric rise to fame began as a youngster in the mid-1960s. Tomson and other surfing luminaries will attend the special screening of “Bustin’ Down the Door“, arranged by Wavescapes, DIFF and Nu Metro. However, tickets will also be on sale to the public.
“Durban obviously plays a big role in the movie, and it features classic old footage taken at the Bay of Plenty by my father, Ernie,” says Tomson.
At a recent screening in Santa Barbara, California, the film managed to packed out a 2,200-seat theatre – several times!
“They told us it was the most popular film ever, which was really amazing for us. I really loved to see its wider appeal. While obviously great for surfers, it also tells a great story that interests a lot of people.”
“Bustin’ Down the Door” is a compelling feature documentary that tells the story of the brash, competitive batch of cocky Aussies and South Africans who invaded the North Shore of Hawaii in the early 1970s. Led by Shaun, his cousin Mike Tomson, and Australians Rabbit “Bugs” Bartholomew, Ian Cairns, Peter Townend and Mark Richards, they sowed the seed of professional surfing by cracking open the stereotypes and redefining the soul of surfing, eventually culminating in the rock star, brand-driven world it is today.
“Bustin’ Down the Door” will be commercially released after the premiere in selected Nu Metro cinemas.
In the meantime, Capetonians will be able to catch it at the Encounters Film Festival until the 13th of July.
For more information about the Wavescapes Film Festival, visit the official site.