Jazz was the wave which Bra Hugh Masakela rode to world acclaim and it’s the sport of pro-surfing which brings his son Sal Masakela back to our shores for the 2019 Ballito Pro.
Based in the U.S., Sal is the voice of action sports, and his commentary covers snowboarding, mountain biking, freestyle motocross and downhill skating.
He’s also a recording artist currently working on his third album, and is as passionate about South Africa as he is about surfing.
Sal took up the sport when he moved to California at age 16, and he decribes the first time he stood up on a board as a near spiritual experience.
Commentating and surfing his way from South Africa to Fiji and Indonesia this year, he still made time to give our own Harmony Katulondi a few lessons.
Sal grew up reading how great South African waves were, and was always desperate to try them himself. When he finally hit the waters of Durban at age 19 and in a then newly liberated South Africa, he was surprised at some the prejudiced reactions he received. Today however he’s happy to be sharing the waves with surfers of all different backgrounds.
Inspiring these surfers echoes the work of Sal’s organisation, Stoked Mentoring, and the iLembe Surf Riders. It helps teens from low income families find self belief through sports, as Sal’s father Hugh Masakela did with music.
According to Sal, his late father was his best friend, and he lives by many of Hugh’s examples, including a passion for music. Sal’s band ALEKASAM (Masekela backwards) was born from a love of music Sal developed while touring with his dad and other musical legends.
It’s clear the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!