Bruce Gold has spent his life chasing waves.
He’s been a staple of Jeffreys Bay for as long as most can remember. In his early 20s, Gold quit his job and moved there, finding a place among a small group of “pot smoking hippie” surfers. He was there in the ’60s, when the first real surf tourists showed up–the beginning of the end of a way of life found nowhere else in the world.
Now, at almost 70-years-young, Gold still has the same mentality as he’s always had. He’s still that same hippie that lived in a tent on the dunes. He hasn’t changed, but Jeffrey’s Bay certainly has.
He doesn’t have much, save for a few rare surfboards and a box that, if the rumors are true, contains Miki Dora’s last possessions. “Da Cat asked him to never open this surfing Pandora’s Box,” wrote Miles Masterson, “but he jokes, ‘Dora always used to say, ‘Don’t sell out’, but I’m thinking of auctioning off the contents when Leonardo Di Caprio brings his movie out.’”
Gold gets by just fine, though–he does what he needs to, including selling shells and bartering with others. It doesn’t hurt, either, that he’s a much-loved figure in the area. Of course, it hasn’t all been perfect. “I have often been without a place to stay,” he says. “It can be unsettling. I’ve stayed in the dunes… when it rains, it’s not much fun.” But he keeps his eye on the bigger picture of what he wants out of life, which can be surprisingly hard to do, especially with the strange pressures of what we’re expected to do. “You’ve got to make compromises in your life,” Gold explains. “Maybe I must buy a little tent. Then I’ll always have a home… it’s hard to be a hobo, but it has its rewards.”
Bruce Gold is among the last of a dying breed of surfers. He has dedicated his entire life to riding waves and living in a way that most only think of. And in a time where surfing seems to be taking a different, commercialized path, he’s a reminder of what it’s all about. “Every time you go surfing, that’s what you were born for,” he says. “That’s the peak of your life.”