Born and raised in Port St Johns – Eastern Cape South Africa, ( proclaimed as the most dangerous beach in the world with several fatal shark attacks in the last 5 years, including Zama Ndamase ( Avuyile’s younger brother ) in Jan 2011.
Avuyile ( AmaXhosa ) almost 17 years of age escaped his home town to live in Port Elizabeth to continue his passion for surfing. These days after success in the border surfing comps he is training and going to school with hopes to win as many competitions as he can for himself and his brother.
For generations, AmaXhosa tribes of Southern Africa have feared the sea. Religious tradition beholds that the rivers and oceans are the dwelling place of an angry race of a webbed mer-people, who sometimes kidnap folk, or strike them mad.
But 22-year-old Lungani Memani, a descendent of these tribes, has no such qualms. Whenever he can, he races into the peeling rights of his home waters at Cowie Beach near Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Lungani is one of the biggest successes of South Africa’s surfing development programme, created to foster surfers from poverty-stricken townships such as his, near the Transkei, in the economically constipated Eastern Cape.
Since winning through this preparatory system, he has become one of the most feared black surfers in the country. With a host of regional and national placings and victories and international experience from surfing for SA in the ISA World Games, no one wants to draw Lungani.
The young Xhosa learned to surf while working as a lifeguard, happily taking old boards from benevolent locals such as Warwick Heny and Dave Macgregor. He has also benefited from the sporadic presence of South Africa’s latest World Championship Tour (WQS) surfer Royden Bryson, a Cowie regular.
“He’s got all the elements: class, speed,” says Royden. “And he’s a humble kid. Without a shadow of a doubt he has a future in the sport.”
A globetrotting freesurfer and consummate blogger who has featured prominently in local and international media, Roosta joins a collection of South Africa’s best surfing talent that includes Greg Emslie, Stacey Guy and Devyn Mattheys. Roosta a fishermans son spent his youth surfing with KZN locals in South Coast’s Umzimkulu river a place known for shark activity, today he is now sponsored by brands like RVCA and Wedge
travelling to discover uncharted surfing spots Grant (twiggy) Baker surfing waves only the world dreams about.
As a competitive provincial bodyboarder, duty lifeguard and surfer, Olivia “OJ” Symcox initially grew up fearing sharks. Everything changed on one of her first ever scuba dives, when a large tiger shark swam up to her and it was love at first sight. She now spends as much time under water as she does riding waves and is dedicated to changing surfers and general beachgoer’s perceptions of these majestic creatures.
Through her well established media contacts, daily radio surf reports, and weekly newspaper columns, Olivia is committed to educating the public about sharks and the issues facing our oceans. She also uses her own PR consultancy business and sporting profile, to assist and promote responsible shark reporting in the media. From her custom Built by Wildman “Sharks Eat Fish” surfboard which sparks conversation in the water, to her PR work around sharks and conservation, OJ is a Shark Angel dedicated to making a difference and dispelling the irrational shark fears of those who enter the water.
Christopher Neff is an American PhD student at the University of Sydney conducting the first doctoral thesis on the “politics of shark attacks.” He is looking at how shark attacks are framed by the media, communities and politicians and how this impacts the development of beach safety and shark conservation policies in South Africa, Australia and the United States.
Christopher has worked as a United States Senate staffer, federal lobbyist and political consultant. He completed his Masters Degree in Public Policy (honours) at the University of Sydney in 2007 and continues his current research under the supervision of Dr. Betsi Beem. In May 2011, he presented at the International Marine Conservation Congress on the changing frames of ‘shark bite incidents’ in Australia. Neff also recently organized a “re-think” the shark forum at Sydney University, co-hosted by the Uni Wildlife and Politics societies.
Christopher’s research looks at both quantitative and qualitative methods for reviewing public perceptions of risk regarding sharks and how governments choose to respond following shark bites.
Christopher L. Neff PhD Candidate, University of Sydney Mobile: 0424 440 227 www.christopherneff.com
Few people leave successful marketing careers to pursue a passion for the oceans and in doing so, take on one of the hardest PR jobs on the planet. A passionate environmentalist, diver of 15 years and lover of the oceans, Julie Andersen evolved her special relationship with sharks to a new level after watching them disappear from her favorite dive spots. Now her business is saving them.
Julie is a grassroots activist, who has founded two conservation organizations and has developed shark campaigns for several others, most recently Sea Shepherd. Four years ago she founded Shark Savers, a group focused on demand reduction for shark products and the development of sanctuaries. Three years ago, she founded Shark Angels, an innovative conservation movement that protects sharks through localized campaigns fuelled by the power of the passionate. Working with a global network of angels, she is bringing about change for sharks – taking shark conservation into the mainstream. Through collaborative community and empowering tools, the Shark Angels are building positive awareness, changing perspectives and empowering local angels around the globe to take back their sharks.
As a shark defender, Julie traverses the world representing an animal with no voice. Currently, she resides in South Africa leading a shark net removal movement, while running outreach and media campaigns. Of course, she spends as much time in the water with her new bosses as possible, filming and enjoying her new career path.
Learn more: FB: Facebook/julieandersen - Twitter: juliesharkangel Web: www.sharkangels.com – Blog: http://sharkangels.blogspot.com
Through her research with the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) Alison has tagged more than 70 great white sharks and identified more than 300 since 2004, providing the only source of scientific information on white shark activity and behaviour patterns in Cape Town. She aims to change both the media and the general public’s perceptions about great white sharks and gather more data, which will be used in the conservation management of this unique species.
Mark Addison, a man synonymous with the marine world, and more specifically with Sharks. Mark has brought Africa’s marine life to the cinemagraphic and photographic stages of the world. Mark ‘s resume’ in Natural History documentaries includes work for (inter alias)
Various National Geographic series and documentaries; numerous BBC productions including the renowned Blue Planet series, and the opening sequences for the follow up series Planet Earth and more recently, Natures Greatest Events, the Cousteau Society, Aqua vision, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, IMAX, Galatea productions, Disney Channel, Scuba Zoo. The story of Mark and his tiger sharks opened Discovery Channel’s shark week in 2007. Into the Shark Bite opened Shark Week in 2010.
Mark’s expertise in marine animal behaviour is not limited to only helping filmmakers and photographers. Mark has bought his knowledge, boating time and staff to help numerous marine studies, from, GIS studies of Sardine Run, to tiger shark tagging and tracking,
From marine research on various projects, to saving sharks through awareness, Mark is a man who brings the ocean to life for millions of people around the world.