Surfing South Africa, its members and the South African surfing community are in mourning at the passing of former Provincial and National Masters Team member Colin Buitendag (54).
The tall and affable Victoria Bay local touched the lives of people around the world.
Heartfelt tributes from fellow surfers and friends have been paid to the former Surfing South Africa Board member and father of top ranked WSL Dream Tour surfer, Bianca.
Surfing South Africa President Mark Hoffman had this to say about his friend, “Colin was respected and admired by everyone in the surfing community. He touched the lives of so many with his sound advice and dry sense of humour. To my family and me he was a dear friend with whom we shared many memorable times which will be kept in our hearts forever. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Yvette and his children, Sven, Bianca and Daniel at this very difficult time”
Tributes were received from former President of Surfing South Africa and friend of 35 years, Gary Gravett who said “Words cannot explain what I am feeling at this extremely sad time. The times we shared will forever be treasured. While we lived a fair way apart somehow we had an understanding and a friendship that defied logic. I will miss our annual braais at Jeffreys Bay. My prayers and thoughts are with Yvette and the family at their sad loss. Rest in peace my “long slab” brother in Christ.”
One of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” wrote former Surfing South Africa Vice President and friend, Craig Sims in tribute. “From surfing together at Seals during the SA University events in the eighties to hanging out at the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks just last year, and so many moments in between. It has been an honour and a privilege to have known Colin. I am so sad to hear this news. Rest in peace my friend.”
Colin Fitch, WSL Africa Operations manager also paid tribute to Colin. “My heartfelt, sincere condolences to the Buitendag family on the very sad passing away of Colin Buitendag. To Yvette, Bianca, Sven and Daniel, words cannot express the sorrow you must be going through right now. I mourn with you all. Colin was such a larger than life person who always greeted me with a smile whenever we bumped into each other. He had a real concern for others and it radiated from him. The great fun-filled trips to surfing events while we were still part of the Defence Surf Club many years ago will always be remembered with laughter. RIP Colin.”
Finally a tribute from Andre Strydom, Chairman of the Eden Surfriders Association who Colin represented at the 2014 SA Masters Championships. “It is with great sadness that we mourn the untimely passing of Colin Buitendag. Yvette, Sven, Bianca and Daniel, we cannot even try to comprehend the massive loss but our condolences to you all and we carry you in our thoughts and prayers.
Colin was one of those guys that had a profound presence about him, yet he was such a humble person. From dishing out nick names to the juniors to giving advice, Colin was such an immense fountain of wisdom. For us as parents with juniors and groms, he was always ready to share his love, knowledge and experience on competitive surfing. When he wasn’t carving with his fluent style at Vic, he would often just wander down to the point, hand in hand with Yvette, watching and enjoying the moment. That is how I will remember Colin. We salute you and may you rest in Peace.”
Surfing has lost a special person who was very much part of the tapestry that binds the sport together and Surfing South Africa extends its deepest condolences to the Buitendag family during this difficult time.
A memorial service for Colin will be held at Eden Church in George which is on the old Rademacher’s nursery site, at 10am on Saturday March 28th, The memorial paddle-out, a surfing tradition, will take place at Victoria Bay at 3.30pm on Sunday March 29th.
Rest in Peace, Colin Buitendag.