SA LONGBOARD SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS
DURBAN – New Pier
23 – 28 May 2011
Over 200 surfers of all age groups and representing teams from Western Province, Eastern Province, Southern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are competing in the SA Longboard Championships at New Pier in Durban.
At stake are individual honours and the coveted Presidents Cup which is currently held by Western Province.
The event got under way earlier this week and while surf has been in the 2 foot range it hasn’t affected the standard of surfing and there have been some standout performances.
In a shock first round result, Brad Weare, KZN top seed, was relegated to the second stream of the Open Men’s Division after failing to find waves with sufficient scoring potential. Weare came back strongly in his next heat, and is fighting his way back into the main event.
Justin Bing, WP top seed and top coach at the Surf Emporium and Roxy Surf School ,a member of the South African Team that will compete in the ISA World Surfing Games in Panama in June, finds himself in a similar position, but has yet to surf his Round three heat.
There have also been plenty of surprises one of which is Dylan Fernandez (SC), a hot new talent in the Boys’ division whose repertoire of manoeuvres brought the crowd to its feet. Fernandez is certainly is a talent for the future and was assisted in getting to the contest through support from Lotto funds allocated to Surfing South Africa’s Talent Identification project.
In the Girls Division, Hannah Bing (WP) has been winning all her heats with good wave selection and the highest scores while in the Veterans, Craig Daniels (KZN) and Hugo Zuanni (WP) are their division’s highest scorers.
In The Ladies Division Semi Finalists will be surfing on Saturday morning with Muizenberg Surf Emporium and Roxy Surf School Muizenberg owner Roxy Davis entering the water in heat two and one of the Surf Emporiums top coaches Tamsyn Brown surfing in the Semi Finals aswell.
The SA Longboard Champs is also the final stop on the inaugural five-event SALSA Series where Surftools have sponsored a trip to Bali for the winner.
Dylan McLeod (EP) is currently leading the ratings but needs to make the final to ensure that he claims the prize. WP Longboarders Michael Grendon and Justin Bing are also in the running for the big prize that goes to the series champion.
Alfonso Peters (WP) is another in the running after having attended all five events around the country. Peters’ participation in the Championships came via SALSA funding and also through Lotto funds allocated to athletes who are part of Surfing South Africa’s talent identification programme.
The SA Longboard Championships is the largest surfing event of its kind in the country and caters for a wide spectrum of age groups with surfers in their late 60’s competing in the same team as 12 year old girls. Its strength is the family element and camaraderie amongst all who attend over the week long event.
The championships are hosted by KZN Longboarding and run by the SA Longboard Surfing Association (SALSA) which is affiliated to Surfing South Africa, the governing body for surf riding in South Africa
The week-long tournament ends with the Finals on Sunday May 29.