It was a fine end to competition on Sunday 9 August at the Citroën SA Surfing Champs as champions were crowned, team cups awarded, pats on the back given and other achievements awarded in a prize giving held directly after the final heat of the morning.
The final day of competition saw just 7 heats run, beginning with the Open Womens semi-finals before going into the last five finals of the event. Being National Women’s Day it was fitting that the final 3 heats were left to the U/20 Girls, O/30 Women and the Open Women final who dominated proceedings in meagre 1-2 foot offshore surf. The small waves did not stop the country’s best from posting top scores and combining moves into the shorebreak with the highlight being top score of the entire event by Nicole Pallet, a 9.83 ride, in the U/20 final.
The prize giving started with a moments silence for renowned shaper and SA surfing legend Peter Daniels who passed away earlier in the week. This was followed by the host team’s raffle draw which raised almost R15 000 for the local Junior surfing team with a wetsuit and two custom surfboards won by luck raffle ticket buyers.
uThungulu Surfriding Chairman Anton Knoetze thanked all the visiting surfers, those behind the scenes and local sponsors who made the event happen and his wife as they celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary on the day. Robin de Kock, General Manager of Surfing South Africa, thanked headline sponsors Citroën, their representative Kenneth Hodgson and the Mayor of the City of uMhlathuze who was present at the prize giving for their generosity and hospitality. He also gave special mention and appreciation to the hosting Chairman, their organising committee, Anne Wright as contest Director in her biggest event to date, event Secretary Judy Dearling, tabulators Jeannine Anderson and May Knoetze, commentators Kai Linder, Gigs Celliers, Tasha Mentasti and Mike Frew, John Cawood from Alliance Graphics for the social media updates, Dave Savides for the many photos during the event and to Johnno Hutchinson and his team of judges and spotters for their excellent work on top of the tower. He also handed special awards to from the ISA to the former world champions present at the event to commemorate 50 years of competitive surfing in South Africa.
In an amazing display of generosity, local businessman and representative of Citroën Kenneth Hodgson handed over cheques for R15 000 each to Ntando Msibi and Joshe Faulkner to help them finance their trip to surf in the ISA World Junior Surfing Games in Oceanside, California in October. The formalities concluded with a message of thanks from Mark Hoffman, president of Surfing South Africa.
Result of the finals below are courtesy of the final day press release from Surfing South Africa.
In the Girls U/20 Division it was Nicole Pallet of Ethekweni who posted a 9.94 ride to secure the title and the accolade as Surfer of the Contest. Gina Smith of Nelson Mandela Bay was the runner up in this division with Chanelle Botha of Ugu winning the bronze medal and Jade Story of hosts uThungulu taking fourth place and the Copper medal. Tasha Mentasti of the Presidents Team gave a determined performance in the Over 30 Division to win her second South African title, beating local favourite and three time SA Champion Tamarys de Maroussem into second place by ,14 points. Heather Clark of Ugu was third and Bianca Bosman of Buffalo City came fourth. South Africa’s most successful female surfer of all time, Heather Clark powered her way to an eighth National title in the Open Women’s Division beating national team member Faye Zoetmulder of Nelson Mandela Bay into second place while 2014 Under 20 champion Emma Smith of Nelson Mandela Bay took third. Tasha Mentasti came fourth.
Talented Davey Van Zyl of eThekweni became the 50th South African Open Men’s Champion with a fine performance in an exciting premier final. Simon Fish of Buffalo City took silver ahead of Craig Johnson of Cape Town and Chris Frolich of eThekweni. South African junior team member Joshe Faulkner dominated the U20 Boys Final to secure the U20 Championship title and Nelson Mandela Bay’s only gold medal. Devin Whitehead of eThekweni came second, Cape Town’s Brandon Benjamin was third and Ntando Msibi of the President’s team was fourth.
In one of the major upsets of the 2015 SA Championships Manfred Adrio, a late replacement in the eThekweni team, beat defending champion and current ISA World Masters Champion Greg Emslie of Buffalo City by ,70 points to win the Over 35 Men’s Title. Justin Maisch of Ugu took third and Llewellyn Whittaker of the Presidents Team was fourth. Wayne Monk of Buffalo City, one of the outstanding surfers at this year’s championships, successfully defended his Over 40 Division title. Carl Roux of Ugu was second with Vince King of uThungulu third and Justin Emslie of Buffalo City fourth. Monk, Roux and King were all members of the 1992 South African team that competed in the ISA World Surfing Games in France. After competing in 34 South African Championships without ever winning a gold medal rob Moore Boyle’s perseverance paid off on Sunday when he won the Over 45 title beating Andre Malherbe of Buffalo City into second place by less than a point. 2014 SA Champion in this division, Gareth Sepp of Buffalo City was third and Mike Burness of Ugu came fourth.
David Malherbe of Buffalo City, one of South Africa’s toughest and most determined competitors over two decades, won the Over 50 Division title by ,27 points in the last seconds of this final beating former ISA World Champion Marc Wright of eThekweni into second place in the last minute of the heat. Nick Pike of Buffalo City was third and Peter Lawson of the Presidents Team took fourth. Four time SA Open champion, multiple national champion in other age divisions and four time ISA World Champion Chris Knutsen of eThekweni reclaimed his Over 55 crown in fine style at the weekend beating Judge Oliver of Ugu into second place, 1981 South African team captain Barry Campbell returned to competitive surfing after a long absence with a third place in this final while Hans Kamhoot of Cape Town was fourth.
Dave Fish of Buffalo City won the inaugural Over 60 Division title when he edged out Chris Morris of eThekweni in the final moments of this final. Mush Hide of Nelson Mandela Bay took bronze and local favourite Ray Harris of uThungulu was fourth.
The Over 30 Women to Over 60 Men’s Divisions competed for the Masters Cup which was won for the ninth year in a row by Buffalo City with 29982 points. eThekweni (27318) were second, Ugu (26732) were third, uThungulu (25304) took fourth place, Nelson Mandela Bay (20630) were fifth, Cape Town were sixth (19895) and the Presidents team (11652) were seventh.
The Presidents Cup winners were decided from the combined points in the U20 and Open Divisions. This year eThekweni won the Presidents Cup with 24668 points. Nelson Mandela Bay were second (21300), Buffalo City third (20660), Ugu fourth (20090), Cape Town fifth (197600m uThungulu sixth (16596) and the Presidents Team seventh (10136).
When the points for all eleven divisions were tallied the once off Celebration Shield was won by the powerful eThekweni Team followed by Buffalo City, Ugu, Nelson Mandela Bay, uThungulu, Cape Town and the Presidents Team.
The Citroën SA Surfing Champs was supported by Citroën South Africa, Sport and Recreation SA, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Reef Wetsuits, Zigzag, the Zululand Observer, the uMhlatuze Community Tourism Organisation, the City of uMhlatuze and Monster Energy.
Full results and photos for the event are available at www.zulusurfriders.co.za, www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za and www.zululandobserver.co.za. Also via social media at #sasurfchamps #citroensa #citroenrb and #c4cactus and facebook.com/zulusurfriders and twitter.com/zulusurfriders.
All images by Dave Savides (Zululand Observer)