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Byron Loker

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Category

Black cat

So I Iost one of my four temporary charges–three black cats and a black dog–for a day and it was a short trip from there to despair and searching of the soul and such matters. I got to thinking about how I should be somewhere else, in my own home (with my own dog) and not wearing someone else’s for a week like a sorry hermit crab, talking to someone else’s beloved pets like a crazy man–they just stare back in what looks like alarm and then bolt and hide for as long as they’re hungry–and to hell with cats anyway, who just want to run away for good as soon as they find the gap to a better life.


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VIDEO & PRESS RELEASE: First ever Joburg surfing team scores at SA Interclub Championships


The Joburg Boardriders, South Africa's first ever landlocked surf team. From left to right: Nathan Gernetzky, Shane Rielly (manager) , Shane Warren, Byron Loker, Kevin Trevaskis, Tasha Mentasti and Dominic Barnardt (photographer).

The Joburg Boardriders, South Africa’s first ever landlocked surf team. From left to right: Nathan Gernetzky, Shane Rielly (manager), Shane Warren, Byron Loker, Kevin Trevaskis, Tasha Mentasti and Dominic Barnardt (photographer).


YouTube Preview Image


Hailing from the “mining town” of Johannesburg, aka “the big smoke”, the Joburgboardriders Club became the first ever landlocked team in South Africa to compete in a national surfing event—the 2016 Billabong SA Interclub Surfing Championships—held this past weekend near Cape St. Francis, site of the legendary Bruce’s Beauties break.

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Death in Venice part II

Dalebrook tidal pool in Kalk Bay

HEAVY WATER: The hardest thing I have ever done in my life happened during that winter, and it was to get out of bed just a handful of times and walk down the Main Road to the Dalebrook tidal pool, dive into the ice-cold water and swim a few lengths and then sit for a time with Hans and talk to him about the fight for my life.

Click here for Death in Venice part I

For Hans Soltau: 05 05 1945 — 09 09 2015.

“You are fighting for your life,” Hans reminded me, “And my job is to corrupt your thinking. Let me tell me you something that might surprise you—do what is evil. You don’t have to do what you think you have to do, or what you think other people want you to do. Do what is evil.”


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Man killed by motorist on Malibongwe Drive and a lesson in citizen journalism

A man estimated to be in his early twenties was killed on Sunday at approximately three PM on Malibongwe Drive in Muldersdrift, just north of Johannesburg. According to an eye-witness, the man was struck by a silver Hyundai containing four occupants while attempting to cross the busy road—popular with motorists making weekend trips to resorts in the Hartbeesport Dam area.


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Board members

Pierre de Villiers

SUNSET INDUSTRY: Scarborough-based Pierre de Villiers is known for his eclectic but thoroughly big-wave tested surfboard shapes. Photo BYRON LOKER

Published in The Times newspaper, Oct 7, 2015

As a surfer of limited means (which many of us tend to be for some reason), I have always had a rather fraught relationship with the tools of the trade, so to speak. When it comes to the acquisition of “new” surfboards, I usually scour the second-hand surf-shops and Cash Converters of the neighbourhood where I happen to find myself resident and fetch up the cheapest, most serviceable-looking shape I can find—beggars can’t be choosers, as they say. (more…)

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Death in Venice part I

Then there was the time while I was living in the English Professor’s home in Kalk Bay and wondering what to do with my life, that I got Depression really badly and nearly died. I had stopped taking the medication a year previously because I thought I was fine and cured and would be OK, but, as it turns out, I wasn’t.

At the worst time of it I couldn’t get out of bed for four days, except to take a piss. Eventually, I knew I had to get up and go outside and try to do something to stay alive when I couldn’t even get up to take a piss anymore. I still had the job then where I would work on the Internet all day copying and pasting things, so I could work from home most days of the week and not get out of bed on those days, and not manage to eat anything. (more…)

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Fish out of water


Eastern Cape surfers don’t know how good they’ve got it… one of the most memorable sessions of my life—banging, six foot, chunky runners down the point, eight guys out—at the crown jewel spot in Slummies, Nahoon Reef.

One of the perks of my new so-called career as a project manager based in Hell, aka Johannesburg, is that I am still getting to travel to coastal regions and maintain some sort of status as a surfer. (Some of the other perks being the colourful assortment of ulcers, cancers and nervous conditions I am accumulating in the soft tissues of my body.) (more…)

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Eddie would go

GHANA GO: Finding surfing deep in Africa is a hit and miss afair. PHOTO: John Callahan/Surfexplore

GHANA GO THERE: Finding surfing deep in Africa is a hit and miss affair. Image by: John Callahan/Surfexplore

Featured by —’surfing’s definitive online community’.

Now that my friend Kev has quit the cocaine and the film industry and the women of loose morals, he works for another of our best friends, Los the Boss, in Johannesburg, project managing the building of things like fast food chicken restaurants and stores in malls for flat screen TVs and mobile phone consortia. (I too work for Los the Boss now but that’s a different story).

There is absolutely no surf in Johannesburg but quite often Kev has to head up north into other African countries where those above types of companies are making more money because South Africa is going down the toilet. Recently Kev went to Ghana where there is surf and when he came back I was there to meet him at the airport. ‘So, I’ve got a story for you,’ he says when we are in the car. (more…)

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Daylight robbery

Tik kop. The roll of film that I processed after the return of my camera turned up three frames that showed a remarkable grasp by the thief and or his accomplices of F-stop and exposure; composition not so much.

A few weeks before I left to go and try to live in the United States for reasons not very clear to me or anyone else, I made what I thought very likely at the time my last trip to Elands Bay, a beloved place to me. A small crew we were that trip: two old mates, wives (two) and children (three). We camped, as we always have since our very first trip there in 1988, at the camp-ground down on the beach, in front of the hotel. We pitched our tents, made our camp-fires, drank beer, told our stories to the children, and settled in for the night, spirits buoyed by the nearby rumblings of surf. (more…)

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The A-train to Rockaway

The November Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America there was a black man singing the blues on the A-train downtown. His hair was braided and pulled back in a ponytail. He held a brown paper bag lightly filled with change that he shook from time to time. Bowing at the waist, he held one hand out towards his reluctant audience, thumb and index finger pressed gently together, and his song was all about being alone in the world.

Read the rest of the story on Also featured in issue 9 of theBOMBsurf magazine.

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