The ChasingRed story so far…

Iain was born and bred in Durban, on the warm east coast of South Africa. He is presently based in Strand near Cape Town, South Africa. He is of the opinion that his move to the Cape has played a significant role in his more recent development as a top level bodyboarder. The wide and varied choice of venue, surf conditions and waves of the Cape coastal region, together with broader scope for improved physical and mental preparation, have taken his performance to a higher level.

Iain has been bodyboarding competitively for the past 13 years. He has big ambitions and is determined to achieve that which he has set out to do in his life. He is encouraged in all he does by a loving and supportive family and an extensive network of good friends. This, along with his passion for bodyboarding, is what keeps him going, both in and out of the water. Iain loves the ocean and the waves, enjoying every moment spent in the water, whether it be alone or with friends, having a good laugh and just enjoying the vibe.

This is where Iain grew up. North Beach, Durban. Photo: Douge Fresh

Iain has been competing in Bodyboarding competitions and representing his Province, KwaZulu-Natal, since 2003 at the age of 12 years. He won 2 South African Titles (Boys) in 2005 and 2006. Moving into the Amateur division in 2007, Iain was runner-up at the National Championships, placing 3rd in the Amateur and equal 5th in the Pro division in his first year. In 2009 he made another final in the Amateur division with a 3rd in the Margate competition final.

On his graduation from high school, Iain began his tertiary education where commitment to his studies took up much of his time, limiting his participation in international competition. He continued to maintain a good level of fitness during this period, training as often as he could in the surf. He worked hard to improve his bodyboarding skill and technique with the aim of continuing to participate in international competition at the conclusion of his studies.

Iain riding at Cave Rock in Durban, South Africa. Photo: Douge Fresh

While studying, Iain did part-time work in order to fund his bodyboarding activities on his return to the competitive scene. He also received a good measure of support from his parents.

To quote Iain:

I returned to competitive bodyboarding in 2012, in my final year of study. Participation in the SA Bodyboarding Association (SABA) tour events of 2012 saw me finish in 1st place in the Pro division and 2nd in the Dropknee division. As a result of my achievements on the SABA tour, I was chosen to represent South Africa at the ISA World Bodyboarding Championships in Venezuela in December 2012. I achieved a 1st in the Dropknee division at this Championship event.”

Following this World event, Iain travelled to the Canary Islands to compete in an International Bodyboarding Association (IBA) event and to gain more international experience and exposure. On his return to South Africa, Iain was awarded his Degree in ‘Bachelor of Social Science-Housing’ from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.

Iain riding Dropknee at a local Durban Beach Break. Photo: Liquid Lips Photography

This fine achievement allowed him to begin his travels and to eventually realise his dream of competing on the World Tour in 2013.

Iain started his campaign in Chile with a tie for 9th position in the trials but did not qualify for the main events. He went on to achieve 5th in the main event of the 2013 Itacoatiara Pro in Brazil. From there it was on to Sintra and then Rio, Brazil for two more events. His achievements in these few events ensured that Iain finished in the top 28 of the APB in 2013. A 7th position in the 2014 tour qualifying series lifted him to 24th on the APB world rankings. This achievement in his first taste of international competition served as encouragement to do even better in the future.

Going into 2014, Iain’s main aim was to work hard to improve his position on the World Tour rankings.  2014 proved to be a tough year as Iain, due to logistical and financial challenges, was unable to participate in the Hawaii season and the first event of the APB year. While waiting to start his international campaign, Iain participated in SABA Tour events, finishing as SA Champion in the Drop Knee division and 2nd in the Pro Division. He finished his local activity with a 4th position in the local “TAND!” invitational event before setting his sights on APB competition in South America.

Brazil 2014 proved to be a tough start and Iain left with a 17th place, following up with two encouraging 9th place finishes in Arica and Antofagasta, Chile. Unfortunately for Iain, he hit the shallow and sharp reef in Antofagasta, causing a bad injury to his thigh. The injury forced him out of competition for the rest of the year as he recovered. His limited 2014 participation had Iain finishing in an overall 17th Position in the 2014 APB World Tour. A somewhat disappointing finish to the APB Tour year, but an improvement on 2013 rankings.

Air Forward at the Itacoatiara Beach, Brazil 2014. Photo: Marcelo Turtle.

Iain worked hard to recover from his injury to finish 2014 on a high note, captaining the South African National Team at the ISA World Bodyboard Championships in Iquique, Chile. He managed a 3rd in the Drop Knee division, leading the SA team to a 3rd place finish in the Championships.

After Chile, it was off to Hawaii to enjoy the challenge of the legendary bodyboarding spots of the islands in preparation for the 2015 competitive season.

Going into 2015, Iain assessed the outcome of the 2014 season and began developing an approach aimed at further improving his position on the APB world rankings. It became clear to Iain that he had to look to training, fitness and health to achieve his aim. A gym and swimming programme became a greater part of his training regimen as he prepared himself for the year ahead.

Iain enjoyed a good start in South America with steadily-improving results: 9th in Brazil; 5th in Arica; and 3rd in Antofagasta. It was then on to Portugal where he achieved a career best of a 2nd position in Sintra. This fine result put him in position to compete for the world title by the end of the APB Tour 2015!! 9th position in Nazare and the pressure was on as the tour left Europe for the final event of the year, the Encanto Pro in Puerto Rico. At Encanto, Iain achieved a fighting 5th place earning him 5th place on the APB World Tour rankings for 2015. IC Mission 2015 accomplished!!!

Pipeline Hawaii 2015. Photo: Matt Castiglione

After the career-best APB World Tour performance of the 2015 year, Iain again set his sights on Hawaii to start his 2016 World Tour Campaign. He, once again, thoroughly enjoyed his time on the island of Oahu. He was really able to test and hone his skills on the exciting island breaks. Unfortunately, a delay in the holding of the event and the expiry of his travel visa coincided, leaving Ian quite devastated by not being able to attend the Mike Stewart Pipeline Invitational.

Putting the disappointment behind him and changing his focus to the South American leg of the APB Tour, Iain returned to South Africa. He continued his preparations and participated in local Cape Town events, winning both the Cape Classic and the West Coast Classic.

A slow start in the very competitive Brazilian event resulted in a 17th place finish. It was then on to Arica, Chile where Iain made a significant breakthrough in his career by winning his first World Tour event. A special moment, to be celebrated and savoured by Iain and  all his supporters.

Iain’s first win on the APB World Tour in Arica, Chile. Photo: Pablo Jiménez

A new confidence and a brief return to South African shores saw him to victory in a local tour event in Port Alfred, on the Eastern Cape coast.

It was then on to Europe and a strong finish in Sintra with a 2nd, at Viana another career 1st place, and at Nazare a 3rd. These results placed him in the running for the world title leading into the Fronton event in the Canary Islands.

This was Iain’s first close taste of a realistic shot at the world title and the pressure was on. The APB could not have scripted the end to the 2016 tour any better…….4 top-flight bodyboarders within a touch of the World title! A very narrow miss of a win in the early rounds of Fronton against spirited opposition left Iain to finish the event in 17th place. So near…This put an end to a brilliant campaign with a breakthrough year in Iain’s career; an outstanding 4th place on the APB World Tour 2016  rankings leaving him in 4th place overall.

Iain inverting at Pipeline in Hawaii 2016. Photo: Ryan Janssens

On his return home, Iain was greeted with the news that, due to his performances on the local SABA Tour, he was again the local SABA Tour Champion.

2016…A stellar year for “Red”.

Iain, encouraged by his performance and rewarded for his passion and commitment to his sport, closed the year while setting his eyes on 2017 and embarking on his typically- thorough preparation programme.

“ChaseRed” in 2017!

In 2017, Iain started his year off with a successful season in Hawaii. He finished his season with a successful 2nd in the Mike Stewart Pipeline Invitational.

It was at this stage that Iain chose to move to Cape Town to join his partner, Rosie, in The Strand. He then found trainer, Philip Nel, and his team at Le Roux and Nel Biokinetics in The Somerset West. Having someone of Philip’s expertise guide his training took a good measure of pressure off Iain as he was able to focus on the outcomes aspect of his regimen. This relationship saw Iain well-prepared ahead of the second event of the year in Brazil.

Off to South America, and Iain was feeling ready after a good few weeks training under the Le Roux and Nel team. Iain went into the event slowly but managed a 3rd place finish, beating Dave Hubbard in the consolation final. In Chile, Iain managed a 4th place finish in the final and watched Pierre-Louis Costes take the win in unbelievable fashion.

It was during the Antofagasta event that Iain first became aware of health issues related to his digestive system. Despite these early concerns, he managed to put it all together and went into the final with Brahim Iddouch, finishing in second place and finding himself in the lead of the APB world title race.

Left at Flopos, Arica, Chile. Photo: Pablo Jimenez

On his return home, Iain consulted specialists who diagnosed his medical condition as Ulcerative Colitis. This is a chronic condition affecting the lower section of one’s alimentary canal. Accepting that he had to learn to manage, and live with, this chronic condition Iain sought advice and, with Phil’s guidance, he was set to travel to Portugal to compete in the next event a month later.

Iain left for Portugal, ready to tackle anything that came his way. He went into the first event in Sintra and seemed to defy odds, making his way through to the final and beating Brazilian, Uri Valadao. He then set off for Viana, needing a win to better his position on the APB rankings. In testing conditions, Iain beat PLC in a tough final to register back-to-back event wins.

The last event in Portugal, and second to last event for the year in 2017, Iain arrived in Nazare to try and secure a top finish and his first world title. With partner, Rosie, on the beach and cheering Iain on, he took to the water in the semi-finals, needed to beat Diego Cabrera to win his first world title. Iain edged out Diego, winning the heat and securing his first 2017 World Title. Iain went on to finish 2nd in the Nazare Pro behind local rider, Antonio Cardoso.

Onto the last event of the year in the Canary Islands, Iain had the chance to enjoy himself and, although he didn’t make it far through the event, he was able to free surf and enjoy the event completely. The year concluded with Iain registering 7 podium finishes in 8 events and being crowned the 2017 APB World Champion.

A dream realised!

Winning the 2017 APB World Tour. Photo: Alex Perez

2018 had a good start with some time spent in Hawaii. Due to there being no major event, Iain decided to spend only a few weeks in Hawaii before heading home.

The APB tour would start in May of 2018 and Iain needed to get fit and ready for it. Iain had also signed with a new board company, Sniper Bodyboards, for the 2018 year and this relationship held real promise.

Iain set about training, participating in some local events. The possibility of a back-to-back world title was certainly in his mind as he made preparations.

It was then time to head to Chile for the start of the 2018 APB season. Iain started off well in the Antofagasta event, finishing in the quarter-finals and earning 5th place overall.

Off to Arica, Chile, for the next event and Iain was excited at the prospects of the event. Some good swell with amazing waves was the forecast. Iain started well, taking a cut to his head on the reef and needing stitches to the wound, on his way to a 3rd place overall.

Brazil was the next stop on tour. Iain went into the event slowly, getting through the rounds and making it through to the final day. On finals day he registered the only 10-point ride of the event and went into the final against fellow South African, Tristan Roberts. Iain narrowly edged Tristan to win the Itacoatiara event.

Invert Air in Arica, Chile. Photo: Patrick Perez

After a short stay at home, Australia was the next event on the cards. Iain travelled with Tristan to the Australian event in Kiama and, after the frustration of little to no waves for the duration of the competition window, made it through to a 3rdplace finish with Dave Winchester winning the Kiama Pro.

Iain didn’t spend much time at home before the last 3 events of the year in Portugal. With little training being done, Iain went into the final events needing to better a 3rd place finish to take his second world title. The Sintra event went well but, on the final day poor weather conditions caused the event to be suspended. For the first time ever, a tie was given in the final result with a joint second place being awarded to Iain and PLC.

Next stop was Viana. Although he had surfed the event many times before, Iain was just not feeling “in tune” with his riding. He went down in the quarter-finals with a 5th place finish and it was on to the final event of the year in Nazare.

Nazare beach break Air Reverse. Photo: Praia Do Norte

Nazare would be the final event. Iain again started well and posted good scores to make it through his first few heats. On finals day he met up with Tristan Roberts in the quarters. Iain couldn’t hold Tristan in the heat and had to watch as the event reached its climax.

In a historic ending to the year, Jared Houston won the event, earning enough points to be tied with Iain at the top of the APB World Tour rankings.

This sent the championship title race into a Super Heat where Jared and Iain would ride against each other in a single heat for the world title!

Iain went into the heat well but Jared was on form and in tune with the conditions. Iain just could not match the in-form Houston. Jared won the heat to take his second world title with Iain as the Championship runner-up.

So close……..and what a way to end a great 2018 Championship campaign!