In 1985 several of the world's leading professional surfers announced that they would boycott the South African leg of the surfing world tour. This decision followed years of debate within the surfing community about whether and how to respond to the brutality of apartheid. While most scholarship on the athletic component of the antiapartheid movement has focused on major team sports whose professional associations either subscribed to or rejected the boycott call, this article traces the evolution of that debate among surfers, showing how, by the mid-1980s, a small core of committed professionals had individually decided that they could no longer compete in conditions of South African unfreedom.

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