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Allan Horsfield

Our next rider swapped a beautiful country littered with some of the worlds best beach breaks for London, UK.

Some of you would say he is crazy and perhaps I would agree, however maybe this is why he is helping promote grass roots bodyboarding here in the UK.

He has joined the committee of The Welsh Bodyboard Club and is trying to address this very real issue our sport faces.

The guys in Wales are leading the way in the UK with their regular meet ups and socials.

Only last weekend they hit up the wave in Bristol, go check out their Facebook and Insta accounts, even better still get in touch with them for only £10 to £20 a year you could have access to their two tier membership set up, what's app chat, club T-Shirt and the one I'm most excited about.... "The Welsh Winter Jam" I snapped up chance to become a member and if you live or bodyboard in the UK so should you........................

Just click on the link below it's that easy!

Hi, my name is Allan Horsfield, I am 38 and i'm

Originally from Cape Town, South Africa but now living in London, UK.

I can’t remember starting because I grew up on and around the beach. I always messed around on surfboards and bodyboards but at 12 years old I got a decent board and consciously decided I was a bodyboarder.

My father was a waterman! He was a surfer, fisherman and lifesaver.

He was the one who introduced me to all aspects of the ocean, I loved doing anything that involved being on or in the water with him and mother was a great swimmer and synchronised swimming coach, so if I wasn’t at the beach being near the water was part of growing up.

As a family we spent a lot of time at Fish Hoek Lifesaving Club and where I met my friend Craig Kingma at a very young age, we did Nippers at the club and Craig ended up coming to the school I was at.

He started bodyboarding before me and was going surfing with his older brother Gary. They got me into riding proper waves, they were both completely fearless and they really pushed me into bigger and heavier waves like Kalk Bay Reef. Gary was well respected at the reef and he would block waves for Craig and I.

Often these waves were close outs but he would give us the occasional bomb if we didn’t go we would be sent back to the car park to wait until the surf was over, It was tough love but it got me completely hooked on bodyboarding.

My biggest hero growing up was my Dad he was just so calm in the ocean and he taught me everything I know about the ocean, even when we were out in big waves or we were in huge sea’s in his boat, he would be laughing and making jokes, he never got rattled however Mike Stewart was a huge influence when I started, I was lucky enough to meet him in 93.

I loved Spencer Skipper and Fred Booth for their styles.

On the South African scene Billy Thiel, Alistair Taylor, Neil Stephenson and Andre Botha where my heroes.

Away from bodyboarding my Mother has always been a hero with her sporting achievements, her determination to succeed at whatever she did and being a calm and supportive single parent since my dad’s passing, I wouldn’t be where I am without her guidance.

I grew up in Noordhoek, Cape Town, so the Hoek, Dunes and Noordhoek beachie were 5 minutes’ walk from my house. After moving inland with my family for a few years I went to Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape and my local was a spot called West Beach, Port Alfred.

Now, living the UK, I don’t have a local spot, but I drive 4hrs to Pembrokeshire, West Wales, as often as I can to surf with the boys from the Welsh Bodyboarding Club.

In the world my favourite spot would have to be West Beach! It is a heavy left wedge that peaks on a slab of reef and then runs down a sandbar! I literally moved to Port Alfred after University to surf that wave! I got employed by my mate Warwick to manage the holiday rentals right across the road from West. It is the best bodyboarding wave I have ever found. It is a fickle place but once you score it firing, your mind will be blown! When I dream of waves, I dream of West Beach!

I love left wedges, so I have many favourites. My family home now is in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa and the Wedge there is the one that got me hooked on wedges. It is so much fun!

There's a wedge in the Algarve, Portugal that is amazing and a Pembrokeshire Wedge which has me coming back over and over again.

But there are two wedges in the UK that are unreal, the one on a good day can have up to 5 peaks.

I first saw pictures of it on Magicseaweed I made it my mission to find and surf that spot. It literally is the best wedge setup I have ever seen. The other one is so powerful I forget I am riding in the UK. Last time I surfed there I hit the bottom at least 20 times and bruised my ribs landing in the flats. Both spots are perfect wedges and are up there with any waves I have surfed, I was pleasantly surprised that they are in the UK. (In the internet age a lot of spots locations have been ruined, so I want to respect the locals and not name their spots.)

My first board was a Lazer 2 – MJ.

Having moved around I have been lucky to make lifelong friends with bodyboarders and surfers from South Africa and the traveling.

Craig Kingma and I still surf together when we can, I am looking forward to spending Xmas with him and his family in the Algarve.

Patrick Duff and Andy Brady have always been a huge source of inspiration on any form of a board over the years. Jean ‘Peppersteak’ De Villers, Robbie Schofield, Warwick Heny and Craig Ritchie always pushed me in the water.

I have huge love and respect for all the guys from Eastern Province Bodyboarding, I truly felt one of the team the years I surfed for them.

All the boys in the Kowie Boardriders Club who always accommodated me even if I was the only bodyboarder in the club and still give me a few waves when I come home to Port Alfred.

My current UK crew is Remi Geffroy, Dean Page, Rich Livock, Mike Norman, Andy David, Steve and Dave Koeman, Nick and Andrew Donaghy, Shan Hayes, Kev Leatham, Aadam Grant, Pat Routly, Dylan Nel, Sean Johnson, Jacques Jonker and Nick Bolton.

While I was in university I used to compete, provincially and nationally. My friend Pat Duff and I ran the Rhodes Surf Club and we wrote the criteria for surfers/bodyboarders to get sports bursaries from Rhodes University, we used it to our full advantage.

We got our contest entries, petrol, accommodation paid for and we got subsistence for food for events.

At the end of the year a lump sum bursary was paid to us, so this was my main driver for competition. I don’t know of any other South African Universities that give bursaries to Surfers and bodyboarders.

With the help of Marc and Ryan Jucker from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, we also managed to start inter-university surf competitions. My best result was 3rd in the Mens division of the South African Championship, but my most rewarding result winning a provincial trial at West Beach in firing 4-6 ft conditions. I was up against the reigning SA Pro Champ Marc Jucker. I was leading the final to the last minute and was back on the beach as a set approached.

Marc caught an amazing wave, he came from the side wave, hit the main peaked did a huge ARS, landing back in the barrel as an impossible section threw down the line! Somehow Marc managed to set his rail and hold on as the side wave pushed him out of the barrel way down the beach! I was standing in the shallows with my hands in the air screaming because it was the one of the best waves I had ever seen! The ARS was a 10 and so was the barrel! Lucky for me it was after the hooter and I still managed to hold on for the win. It has been a long time since I put a contest jersey on but I am looking forward to the Welsh Winter Wedge Jam put on by the Welsh Bodyboard Club.

It is going to have a waiting period of the whole winter, so we can score the best conditions. It will be more social than competition but hopefully we get some talented riders coming out and showing their skills at one of the Welsh Wedges and crown a champion.

I am the General Manager of KCL Events in London, working in the events industry gives me the flexibility to open up my schedule when I see big westerly storms heading towards the UK. Most of my London surf crew are weekend warriors, so I am lucky to have the boys from the Welsh Bodyboard Club to connect with.

With the varying water temperatures in the UK, I have a quiver of boards. I usually ride a Toys – PP, double stringer down to about 14 degrees, then I swop to a VS Winny – PE, single stringer. I generally ride with Viper fins, I find that they give more thrust when paddling into cross waves on a wedge (Thanks Sampi for that advise) and I am looking forward to getting my new Nixsa 5/3 to keep me toasty this winter. If you haven’t seen or heard of Nixsa wetsuits yet, check them out of Facebook and Instagram. Jamie takes custom orders for your suits made from best limestone Yamamoto rubber.

My favourite was No Friends, I loved their stuff, I really wish one or all of the crew would bring it back.

I was massively influenced by the early ROT videos, especially Propaganda. That sound track is so sick and introduced me to one of my top 3 bands, Lagwagon (check my Spotify Profile, I made a playlist of that movie). The Flatliners, Anti Flag, The Holy Mess, Rise Against, Pennywise and Lagwagon would be playing in my car to amp me for a surf.

My family moved inland to Johannesburg for the latter part of High School. I would try get down to coast as often as possible, Durban was the closest place I go to and friend Andy Brady and his family used to take me down with them.

We would stay with his Gran (Gogo) flat just above Bay of Plenty. We would surf and skate all day long and hang out at the beach trying to fit in with all the locals. Just Bodyboarding (Legendary Bodyboard Store owned by Billy Thiel and Paul Sartorius) was my favourite place to hang out. On any day the who’s who of South African bodyboarding was hanging out there. One day I walked in and my eyes locked in on a Morey Launch Vehicle, I walked over and picked it up. I was in awe, I had never seen anything like it! Billy saw me and asked if I liked his board? I mumbled something and then he said to me “Do you wanna ride it?” He told me to grab my board, drop it off with him and I could take the Launch Vehicle for a session. I ran all the way back to Grosvenor Court Flats to grab my board and all the way back again. I was frothing so hard! I got down to North Beach and Far Bowl was working. As I made it out into the line-up all the guys paddled over to see the board as the Launch Vehicle had just arrived in SA and were asking where I got the board. The guys were hooting me into waves and I was having a good surf on the board. For that one surf I was part of the North Beach crew. I was so stoked!

I love the ocean! I still get so excited to go to the beach and ride waves, especially with friends! I love seeing my friends get good waves and I love going on trips to surf new spots. I don’t know if it is because I have lived away from the beach for as many years as I have lived at the beach, but I love each and every surf I have.

My family comes first nowadays. Luckily, my wife Shona is the ultimate supportive partner, she understands that I need to disappear in the middle of the night to drive to be at the beach for the crack of dawn. Knowing how much the ocean means to me, she has taught herself to surf so we can share time in the ocean together (Sorry for sending you into closeouts, it was how I was taught) and I can’t wait to teach our son about the ocean and getting him riding on a bodyboard. He gets so excited when the waves wash into him in the shorey. I am so thankful that I can share my passion for the ocean with them.

I am really stoked to have dialled into the waves in Wales and to surf with Welsh boys. It is always a good vibe amongst those guys in the water. I have joined the committee of the Welsh Bodyboard Club to try adding some input from my past experience of running clubs and competitions. I have noticed a distinct lack of young bodyboarders along the UK coast, so I want to try help develop bodyboarding in Wales. I feel like the club committee is taking the right steps to creating a platform that we can really start getting new people into the water. Bodyboarding is one of the easer ways of learning to understand the ocean, its waves and currents and bodyboarding is fun! If anyone in the UK reads this and wants to get involved, please check out the Welsh Bodyboard Club on Facebook or Instagram. The club is not exclusively for people from Wales, there are a handful of us Londoners in the club. If you have never bodyboarded before please don’t be shy, everyone is welcome. Our aim is to promote the sport, get more bodyboarders in the water and have great time doing it.

Photo credits include:

@a_man_called_moog

Jonathan Reid

Chris French

Paul Gill

Shona Horsfield

Nick Donaghy

@SeaSideHues

Remi Geffroy

Mike Norman

@burneygreen

Jeff Sandow

Jeff Weaver

Treat yourself this winter by using coupon code KRISTIANMARTIN at SENNOSEN on a sweet new wetsuit....

If you are a boogie chick and you want to take your riding to the next level Original big wave charger Valentina Diaz has teamed up with The Puerto Experience to run an all female clinic down in Mexico in May, click on the link for info and booking......

We are heading over to Mexico in Aug there are two trips running..... each trip consists of 5 days and 5 nights with air conditioned transport too at least 2 spots a day.

3 meals a day and 3 beers in the evening including some locally brewed Mezcal.

Surf guides included to many known spots but some very highly guarded secret gems as well.

At 850 US dollars a trip all you have to do is get your flights in and out..... click on the links below for info and to reserve a spot, they are filling up fast

Also running this summer is Stevie Mahers all bodyboard charters to the Mentawais in June

These interviews are brought to you in association with:

Want to own your very own Milk Bodyboard just click the link:

 

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