Shock over Capri death

Ryan "Smithy" Smith. Picture: Supplied

Fish Hoek police have opened an inquest docket following the death of the man who gave Nelson Mandela his first surfboard.

Ryan “Smithy” Smith, 47, a former Western Province surfer and the owner of Smithy Surfboards, was found dead in his Capri home on Saturday night.

While social media was abuzz with speculation that he had been murdered, Fish Hoek police branch commander Captain, Charl Basson, said foul play was not suspected at this stage, but Mr Smith’s death was being investigated.

He said Mr Smith had a head wound, but there was no evidence to support a social media claim that he had been stabbed.

Police are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Mr Smith’s neighbour called the police after suspecting something was wrong when he was not seen on Saturday.

In a Facebook post, which has since been removed, Donovan Smith, who returned from the UK on Tuesday to support his family, said his brother had sent a photo to their mother on Friday afternoon January 10 at 4pm, showing her the latest surfboard he had made.

The post said Mr Smith had arrived home on Friday night at 8.30pm without his motorbike and a neighbour had let him into the complex.

Noticing blood on Mr Smith, the neighbour had asked him if he was okay, and he had said he was. The neighbour had checked on him again later that evening and again he had said he was fine.

However, when he had not been seen on Saturday or could not be reached by phone, the police had been called. According to the Facebook post, Mr Smith had been found dead on his bed with stab wounds.

His phone, wallet and ID were missing, but his motorbike was where he usually parked it.

The post said anyone with information about Mr Smith’s whereabouts on Friday between 4pm and 8.30pm should contact the family.

The family could not be reached for comment.

Surfing South Africa general manager Robin de Kock sent his condolences to Mr Smith’s family and his circle of friends.

“Ryan was a former Western Province surfer and a well known surfboard maker. His positive outlook on life was infectious. He used surfboards to promote surfing and presented surfboards to both former president Nelson Mandela and the first sports minister in Mr Mandela’s cabinet, Steve Tshwete. Recently he presented a surfboard to the Springbok team. These gestures, among many others, made Mr Smith a unique and special young man. The South African surfing community at large will miss him. RIP Smithy,” he said.

The Fish Hoek Community Police Forum has requested the public to refrain from posting non-factual information on social media. Anyone with information can call investigating officer Sergeant Nicky Damon at 078 373 4223.