Surfboards Made in Muizenberg in 1920's.
In 1919 Tony Bowman, a World War 1 pilot, returned from England to South Africa. After working in Johannesburg he settled in Cape Town in 1921. Some time after 1922 when he read The Cruise of the Snark, a book by Jack London in which he described the surfing of George Freeth on Waikiki Beach, Tony set his mind to riding waves. His first attempt is described as a "boat" in which he and Tommy Charles would ride together, Tony "paddling madly" and going forward to drop the nose as Tommy steered. From the memoirs of Tony Bowman we understand that "some time later" he wrote to the Honolulu Tourist Association and requested pictures of surfing from which he deduced the dimensions of the boards being used in Hawaii at that time. Due to the unavailability of the light timber being used by the Hawaiians, Tony and two friends, Lex Miller and Bobby Van Der Riet constructed three boards using a timber framework covered top and bottom with cieling boards and the whole construction coverd with canvass and painted to make the boards watertight. The 'Three Arcadians' made the boards in a workshop behind the Arcadia Tea Room and improved their boards with each attempt.
It is reported that soon they were joined by many others and a surfing became a popular pesuit at at Muizenberg Corner.
The Three Arcadians: Tony Bowman, Lex Miller and Bobby Van Der Riet Surfing at Muizenberg, early 1930's