South Coast duo crowned SA bodyboarding champs
Reece Hargreaves celebrates after being announced as the 2017 South African men’s champion. (Karen D-Vine Images/Lizzard)

South Coast duo crowned SA bodyboarding champs

Quintin van Jaarsveld

South Coast standouts Reece Hargreaves and Nico Müller scooped national titles at the Lizzard South African Bodyboarding Championships in Durban on Friday.

The country’s best bodyboarders descended on Durban to vie for individual glory and team supremacy, common goals that produced plenty of fireworks over five action-packed days.

A new-look Ugu Bodyboarding Association side represented the region in the 31st national showcase, which started at Ansteys Beach and wrapped up at Bay of Plenty.

WATCH: Margate bodyboarder Wesley Coetzee crushes it

Sans experienced stars like Margate’s two-time defending South African dropknee champion Dune Barker and former national pro and boys champion Storm Prestwich, the exuberance of youth largely fuelled Ugu’s 2017 campaign.

Rory Fellows-Smith captained the team, which included Hargreaves, Müller, Michelle Imeson, former South African ladies champion Skye Bothma, Wesley Coetzee, Codi Butterworth, Leeroy Crawford, Jason Sequiera, Jonathan Sequiera, James Commamond, Ethan Footit, Troy Smith, Rohan Nel, Keagan Lloyd, coach Derek Footit, manager Heino Nel and judge Natus du Preez.

The Ugu bodyboarding team.

The team rose to the occasion, with every member reaching the quarter-finals of their respective divisions.

Hargreaves, Müller and Michelle Imeson were the star performers and punched their tickets to finals day on Friday.

In relatively trying 4-5 foot waves closing out on the back line, Hargreaves bested Bret Eriksen, James Symons and Angelo Ackerman to be crowned South African men’s champion at that evening’s prize-giving.

“I was ecstatic to hear that I had won. It’s a humbling experience but also has given me a lot more confidence in my abilities in the water,” the 19-year-old Warner Beach ace told eHowzit.

“This title means a great deal to me as I’ve never won such an important title. When examining the past winners of this trophy, I was pleased to see the names of fellow past Ugu riders…it reminded me of what a great team and family we are.

“I’d like to thank all of our sponsors, coach Derek, team manager Heino, media man Wesley, captain Rory and everyone else who did the tedious work behind the scenes in order to make this SA’s the best and most interesting one yet! Without all of you, our family would not be complete – cheers!”

Müller became the South African dropknee champion, and also finished fourth in the masters final. Imeson impressed all week and came away with bronze in the ladies final, while rising star Jonathan Sequiera was acknowledged as the Most Improved Rider.

Ultimately, Ugu – sponsored by JM Signs, Leopard Clothing, Ulwenbu Security, FutureLife and Marilla Surf – finished sixth, with eThekwini managing to retain the coveted Fishman Trophy.

Nico Müller claimed the South African dropknee title.

Results:

Pro Division:
7th – R. Du Toit (NKZN)
5th – C. Warrington (WP)
5th – E. Nel (WP)
4th – T. Coulonval (ETH)
3rd – M. Ostler (ETH)
2nd – C. Pass (WP)
1st – M. McCarthy (NKZN)

Men’s Division:
4th – A. Ackerman (ETH)
3rd – J. Symmonds (WP)
2nd – B. Eriksen (EDEN)
1st – R. Hargreaves (UGU)

Ladies Division:
4th – C. Cremer (WP)
3rd – M. Imeson (UGU)
2nd – S. Houston (NKZN)
1st – O. Reitz (ETH)

Dropknee Division:
4th – W. Du Preez (ETH)
3rd – S. Holloway (ETH)
2nd – M. McCarthy (NKZN)
1st – N. Muller (UGU)

Grand Masters Division:
2nd – L. Nel (WP)
1st – M. Van Huyssteen (ETH)

Masters Division:
4th – N. Muller (UGU)
3rd – B. Greenaway (ETH)
2nd – P. Le Roux (WP)
1st – R. Pape (ETH)

Juniors Division:
4th – L. Goder (ETH)
3rd – V. Holloway (WP)
2nd – K. Haworth (EDEN)
1st – L. Kavanagh (ETH)

Boys Division:
4th – L. Bruton (WP)
3rd – K. Wilkinson (WP)
2nd – J. Clayden (WP)
1st – J. Sang (ETH)

Fishman Trophy: ETH
Best team spirit/sportsmanship: Eastern Province
Ivan Friedman Trophy: J Calitz (EDEN)
Most Improved Rider: J. Sequiera (UGU)
Top Judge: L. Nel (WP)
Best Wave: J. Symmonds (WP)
Best Move: E. Nel (WP)

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