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By Culturekiosque Staff

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, 29 NOVEMBER 2008 - South African surfers have teamed up with marine scientists to launch a campaign for the conservation of sharks. The Wavescapes Surf Film Festival and Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) aim to educate audiences about the global plight of our oceans and its sharks, which are being killed at the rate of 100 million a year.

Global head of the Foundation, Chris Clarke, said that the synergy was important "to create awareness for sharks and help pass on tips to reduce the risk of accidental encounters with the animals. We fear what we do not understand!"

Festival director Steve Pike said that a perceived irony about surfers coming out in support of their "traditional nemesis" was based on misinformed views. "Yes, surfers are at the frontline of the ocean. We aim to prove that healthy shark populations benefit surfers, and are not a threat."

The giant sesh at Tropes
Out There, 2008
Steve Jones, Todd Jones, Cory Gavitt, directors

Photo courtesy of Wavescapes Surf Film Festival

Wavescapes, which runs from November 26 to December 14 in Cape Town, includes an outdoor screening on Clifton Fourth Beach on Friday 5 December. Surfboards decorated by top artists will be auctioned by comedian Mark Sampson to raise funds for the Shark Spotters and NSRI.

The surfboards, on display at the VEO Gallery in de Waterkant from 26 November to 3 December, will be shown alongside the award-winning imagery of sharks by marine biologist Tom Peschak. Several large-format, signed photographs will be auctioned with the surfboards.

Rethink the Shark campaign

The SOSF supports more than 72 projects in 30 countries, and has been active in South Africa for more than five years, recently opening the Save Our Seas Shark Centre in Kalk Bay.

Head of the shark centre, Lesley Rochat said: "Sharks are nature's outcasts, they are feared and loathed, largely due to misperceptions, yet only one person in the world was killed by a shark last year. By Wavescape embracing our Rethink the Shark campaign we are confident that together we can make a difference."

Umzumbe board riders
Zulu Surf Riders, 2008
Carlos Francisco, director

Photo courtesy of Wavescapes Surf Film Festival

Scientists from the NGO have pioneered research on white sharks in False Bay and on tiger sharks in KwaZulu Natal. They are also responsible for satellite tagging and releasing ragged tooth sharks from the Two Oceans Aquarium as part of the SOSF M-SEA Programme. There is also a Save Our Seas Shark World exhibit at Iziko Museum, and a number of exhibits at the aquarium.

Wavescapes will screen the film Zulu Surf Riders, the story of the Mqade brothers from Umzumbe on KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. The arty documentary Thread features the sand art of Jim Denevan, who uses the beach at low tide as a giant canvas for vast patterns. Sea Fever is a film about surfing in Ireland, including the giant waves of Aill n Searrach (Aileens).

Sand canvas at low tide
Thread, 2007
Patrick Tefz, director
Photo courtesy of Wavescapes Surf Film Festival

"One of my favourites is Sliding Liberia, a beautifully made film about surfing in Liberia. We also have Out There, a call to surfers to protect our coastline, and a one-off screening of the Shaun Tomson film Busting Down the Door , among others," Pike said.

The festival will screen the feature documentary Sharkwater and a short called Shark Angels, featuring Alison Kock, a SOSF white shark researcher.

Wavescapes Events

Wavescapes Surf Film Festival 2008

The most beautiful cinema in the world under the stars showing a cool surfing movie (Beneath the Surface). Bring a blanket and some refreshments, arrive early and enjoy the sunset before the show.

5 December
Clifton 4th Beach
Entry: Free

Alfred Lomaz and sliding board
Sliding Liberia, 2008
Britton Caillouette, Nicholai Lidow, directors

Photo courtesy of Wavescapes Surf Film Festival

Wavescapes Surf Film Festival 2008

Cool bunch of friendly surfers on the water's edge at Kalk Bay. Vibrant evening. Hundreds of hampers to be won. Free surf film DVD to first 500 tickets purchased.

7 -10 December
Brass Bell, Kalk Bay

Wavescapes Surf Film Festival 2008

The cutting edge of youth and surf culture, with surfing films from around the world. Relaxed cinema vibe, enjoy the film with drinks. Hampers to be won. Free surf film DVD to first 500 tickets purchased.

11 -14 December
18h00 and 20h00 shows
Labia Cinema, City Bowl
Entry: R25

Wavescapes Charity Surfboard Art Exhibition and Auction

Art on a surfboard featuring the hippest young artists in South Africa: Kim Longhurst, Konradski, Leonora van Staden, Mak 1, Motel7, ND Mazin, Ross Turpin, Scott Robertson, Trevor Paul, and Willie Bester. The boards are on auction on Wednesday 3 December, proceeds will go to the NSRI and Shark Spotters.

26 November - 3 December
9h00 to 18h00 daily
VEO Gallery in de Waterkant,
Tel: (27) 021 421 32 78
Entry: Free

For more information, go to or or call (27) 082 360 52 31.

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