In true surfer fashion, Rudolph Dante sits at a table, bare feet dangling off a stool in a Big Bay café. Long blond tresses drape over a white T-shirt, partially covering a faded pair of jeans.
His blue eyes offer a dazzling contrast to a handsome, tanned face.
He’s back in the country since December, after spending six years in Israel, mostly in the southern city of Eilat, home to surfers, divers and anybody who loves the sea, which hugs the town on the edge of the desert.
Since he’s been back, Rudolph, who’s from Melkbosstrand but now lives in Big Bay, is a team rider for kite companies and surfers.
He was planning to return overseas in the next few months, but after being chosen as a finalist – one of the top 24 in the country – in the Mr South Africa competition, he’s decided to stay for the rest of the year.
“I decided to enter because right now I am in a positive frame of mind.”
Like most talent competitions where both good looks and personality count, Rudolph, 29, has committed to working for a charity, and he chose to promote animal rights.
“In Eilat, I worked to help the hundreds of stray cats that are around and adopted two. Here I am working for Fallen Angels in Melkbos.
“In Israel, I started a process of self-enrichment and I feel strongly we are not who we become, but what we give back.
“I felt this competition was a challenge because I am shy and introverted, so I have given myself this to come out and explore myself.”
Apart from his journey of self-discovery, Rudolph will also have to show off his looks.
He works out in a gym in Sunningdale and has a personal trainer. “I do weights, but my whole idea is to create a low maintenance body where you eat basically what you want as long as you keep your routine of fitness.”
At Fallen Angels as a volunteer, he walks the many displaced dogs who have been give refuge there, and he says his idea is to try to motivate others to do the same.
On the Mr South Africa website, the competition, which has been running since 1982, is described as seeking “not a male model but a model male.”
Some of the winning entrants include Michael Moll, who after winning became the Top Billing presenter; Marcus Muller, who became an actor on Egoli, and Dieter Voigt, who became the presenter of Pasella.
Rudolph, it appears, believes strongly in the contest’s mantra and, in true surfer speak, says, “I am trying to buzz everything without making it look hard. I have a very laid back personality and want to keep everything in balance.”
With such sensible speak and the good looks to go with it, it seems only natural to ask whether he has a girlfriend. The answer, ladies, is no.