Ocean News

Our history with the Wavescape Festival

By Kelli Whitehead, 20th November 2020

As Cape Town begins warming up for their summer season, we’re warming up for another epic collaboration for this year’s Wavescape Surf and Film Festival. Save Our Seas Foundation has been a sponsor of this incredible event for over 10 years, raising awareness around threats to our oceans and engaging with local communities to create healthy attitudes towards sharks.

Save Our Seas Foundation and the Wavescape Surf and Ocean Festival go way back. Artwork © Wavescape Festival.

Teaming up with like-minded people from the Wavescape Festival team over the years has been incredibly rewarding. With exciting, educational and conservation-focused activations all around the Cape peninsula; each year we aim to get communities involved in appreciating and protecting their home shores through grass-roots engagement and fun.

Our #goodsharkkarma performers spreading the love for sharks. Photo © Save Our Seas Foundation.

Interactions between sharks and people always come down to odds, and although the likelihood of ever having a fatal encounter is a 1 in 32 million chance, the primal fear of being eaten by a predatory marine animal is not something many people can rationalise through numbers. That’s why in 2013, 2014 and 2015 we used our space at Wavescape to spread some #goodsharkkarma to enlighten the public about the true nature of sharks and how they can help change their own perception of these incredible animals.

In 2013 and 2014, as Cape Town warmed up for the night-time beach screening of the film festival on Clifton 4th Beach, we spent the afternoon with our body-painted shark ‘hybrids’ interacting with the public and spreading a love for sharks and some #goodsharkkarma.


We were back on Clifton 4th beach for a pre-screening activation in 2015, where we set up a Shark Soda refreshment stand to keep beach-goers hydrated and refreshed, while sharing some of our shark stoke, and educating about sharks with the hopes of encouraging them to shift their perspective.

© Photo by Justin Sullivan

In more recent years, we shifted our focus to outreach efforts, starting with the BeachReach activation on Muizenberg beach in 2016. BeachReach was created to educate local children and community members during a fun and interactive event where they would learn about beach safety and ocean conservation. We teamed up with our partners Shark Spotters and our Shark Education Center to organise the event and were joined by NSRI & PETCO to provide a morning filled with educational games, performances from Jungle Theatre Company, live ocean rescue simulations from NSRI, face-painting and tasty shark cookies.

Photo © Save Our Seas Foundation

Photo © Save Our Seas Foundation

In 2017, together with our Shark Education Centre, we spent some time with the inspirational students from the surf outreach programmes Waves for Change and 9Miles Project during their end-of-year party. Joined by Ocean Pledge,  we educated the children about the dangers of plastic pollution to our marine life and our oceans and played a few interactive educational games, which the kids loved. Afterwards, The Beach Co-op congratulated the kids with a graduation gift after their day of educational fun.

Beach Reach 2017. Photo © Save Our Seas Foundation.

This year we aim to make an even bigger splash with our contributions to the festival.
Local artist Chris Auret has already created a mesmerising mural ‘In Our Hands’ for us on the Sea Point Promenade to capture the eyes of Capetonians and the spread a message of kindness and understanding towards the sharks that call our shores home.

Photo by Nicola Poulos | © Save Our Seas Foundation

Our very own director of storytelling Thomas Peschak will be exhibiting some of his best images along the promenade wall, showing off the mystical beauty that lies beneath the waters of the seas in his photographic exhibition Wild Seas.

And last, but certainly not least, keep an eye out for us at Wavescape’s Slide Night online event, The Galileo drive-in, The st James Tidal pool clean-up with Beach Co-op and the Galileo Open Air Cinema at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – we may even have a few things up our sleeve for you.