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Welcome to the John Whitmore Book Project website, dedicated to the publication of the life story of South African watersports pioneer John 'The Oom' Whitmore


JUNE 2022 Update: The John Whitmore book manuscript is currently being edited by Steve Pike (Spike) of Wavescape and will be ready for publication soon. Please watch this space or even better follow us on social media and sign up for updates:

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Aloha and welcome to the John Whitmore Book Project website, dedicated to the publication of the life story of South African watersports pioneer John ‘The Oom’ Whitmore. John was a man who undoubtedly lived a life worth documenting in book form.

Also known as ‘The Doyen’, John was the driving force behind many notable firsts in South African water sports and beach culture. Among his many achievements are pioneering skin diving in Cape Town, being the first person to surf a wave upright on a modern surfboard on the entire West Coast of Africa, building the first foam surfboards in Cape Town, forming the first Springbok surfing teams and introducing Hobie Catting to South Africa. For a list of at least 27 things John accomplished in his incredibly productive life, please click here.

John with the 1966 Springbok surfing team. From left to right, Donald Paarman, Robert MacWade, John Whitmore, Margaret Smith, Marlene Webb, George Thomopoulos (C), Errol Hickman, Cornel Barnett. Image Whitmore Collection.

John ‘The Oom’ Whitmore left a positive legacy for tens of thousands of South Africans. This website has been created to showcase the progress that has been made so far on documenting his fascinating life story and to gain support for the book project. The manuscript is currently completed and being edited, with the aim to publish it before the end of 2021.

Of course, if you are at all familiar with John and all of his incredible contributions, you probably already knew all of the above – but if you don’t know who John Whitmore is or want to know even more about him, please click here.

Otherwise, please sign up to our newsletter, to receive notice of future blog updates (see here) and outtakes from the book, as well as exclusive offers we will introduce soon – including Whitmore branded products.

Please also share the cause with your networks, and let us know if you can contribute to our research or photographic archive. You can also contact us to make a financial contribution or back the project through a donation (click here) or sponsorship (click here), or to offer any other kind of support (please click the link to support page here and below).

Otherwise please take a tour of this site and play a small part in creating something unique and special this year: The John Whitmore Book Project.

Many thanks,

Miles Masterson (Author), June 2022

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2 thoughts on “Home

  1. Hi Miles. I have an interest in John Whitmore’a impact on surfing in SA. I have had one of his boards, not with a logo on, but with the line on it “Shaped by the Oom.” That board used to talk to me… what a board!

    More importantly, I have a marine ply twin fin body board, logo and all, still in very good condition. I had a chat to him before he died, re this. He said he made about four of them in approx 1963. That board is as old as me!

    Do you know anything about these Bodyboards? I’m in Somerset West, so if you’re still in Cape Town, I’m happy to connect with you.

    If it can add value to your story on him, I’m happy to assist in this regard.


    1. hi Haydn you can call me on 079 966 2548 or email, Cheers


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