Riding the Big Waves to Success

| May 17, 2012


Big Wave Surf Champion.

Cape Town born surfer Chris Bertish entered the leagues of the great surfing championsof the world when he was crowned winner of the 2009/2010 Mavericks Surf Contest® Presented by Sony Ericsson and Barracuda Networks.

Mavericks off Half Moon Bay ‘s Pillar Point near San Francisco is home to some of the biggest waves in the world. It’s not just anyone that can stomach the ride down one of those giants with the hope of getting to the bottom in one piece.

Held semi-annually, there has only been 7 Mavericks contests between 1999 and 2010. Conditions need to be ideal so organizers wait until the swell is sufficiently big (40 ft. minimum) before calling the contest. Invited elite surfers fly in to compete within a few days notice from all over the world.

We interviewed Chris to learn a little more about the person behind this extraordinary achievement.

What school/s did you attend? Rondebosch High

What is your university/college qualification & college? Cape Technikon

What is your current title and profession? Director-CMB Agencies

Please describe what you do in a brief paragraph. We look after the sales of 9 brands in the Western cape region

What has been your greatest/most interesting international achievement?

  • XXL Award 2001
  • Mavericks Big Wave Champ, 2010/11/12/13
  • Pushing the Boundaries award-RSA Awards 2011
  • Tedex Expo-Seapoint – Guest speaker 2012

When you were little what did you most want to be when you grew up? Professional Sailor, Big Wave Surfer

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Have the time and the money to be able to travel, surf and enjoy being around friends, family and the Ocean, as much I need to.

What is your greatest fear? Needles

Which South African words or phrases do you most overuse? Braai

Which talent would you most like to have? Daily flexibility to be in the ocean more

What do you consider your greatest achievement? To inspire others

What is your most treasured possession? Happiness

Where would you like to live? Where I presently do, Kommetjie, Cape Town, South Africa

What do you most value in your friends? Trust

What is your most marked characteristic? Determined & focused

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing what or who would it be? Dolphin or Turtle

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? More patient

What do you do to relax? Spend time in the Ocean

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My girlfriend, then my cat

What is your favorite occupation? Motivational speaking

Who was the teacher who had the most impact on you? My father

What would we never guess about you? I love pistachio nuts

What are the best lessons in life you have learnt from a pet? Love unconditionally!

Who is a South African you admire the most? My brothers

What is one of the greatest strengths you believe South African business professionals are recognized for? Hard work

Riding the “big waves” at Half Moon Bay’s Mavericks


The Mavericks contest website points out just how significant Chris’ win was: 2008 Champion Greg Long summed up the day perfectly while passing along the Jim Beam Champion’s jersey to Bertish. “The entire book of big wave surfing was rewritten today.”

Bertish, a native of Cape Town, South Africa was overcome with emotion, adding, “It was an honor just to be here today and paddle out with these other guys. I flew 36 hours to be here, and this has been a dream come true.”

The Mavericks surf contest can only be held if there is a big enough swell. Since ideal conditions have failed to materialize in the 2010-2011 as well as 2011-2012 season and the contest was not held, Chris continues to hold the crown now for three seasons.


Category: Personality Stories

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