Quintin van Jaarsveld
The standout surfers of 2018 were acknowledged at the Ugu Surfriders Awards at Pavilion Restaurant on Saturday.
After the epic Ugu Surfing Championships at Southbroom earlier in the day, the region’s top surfing talent linked back up in Uvongo to reward the premier performers.
Simo Mkhize made the leap from talented youngster to clinch the top prize Ugu Surfriders have to offer – the prestigious Senior Male Surfer of the Year award.
The evergreen Heather Clark remains the gold standard and clinched the Senior Ladies Surfer of the Year award again.
“I’m proud and honoured to win this award and hopefully I can keep it up for another couple of years. It’s great to have Jesse [Powell] and Maya [Attfield] and the other girls coming up; they keep me on my toes and make me surf harder,” the reigning South African women’s over-30 champion told eHowzit.
The Junior Surfer of the Year awards went to Jordan Boshoff and Gia Gillmer, with the latter also winning the Stepping Up/Blow Out award, while the grom awards were won by Llewelyn Engelbrecht and Louise Lepront.
Evan Peyios picked up two awards – he was named Most Promising and Most Improved Junior Boy. Jesse Powell picked up the Most Promising Junior Girl gong, while Maya Attfield was named Most Improved Girl.
The Most Frothing surfers of the year were Chad Delport and JJ Hoffman, Brandon Lange was named Judge of the Year, Derek Horlock and Byron Wigmore shared the Best Use of Social Media award and Louis Boshoff and Guy Spittal were rewarded for their commitment to the sport.
The top seeds of the year were Luc Lepront (Under-12 boys), Kira Attfield (Under-12 girls), Landon Windvogel (Under-14 boys), Boshoff (Under-16 boys), Powell (Under-16 girls), Tyler May (Under-18 boys), Chalize Coetzee (Under-18 girls), Gary van Wieringen (open men’s), Clark (open ladies and masters) and Delport (Over-40 men’s).
Sunday saw the surfers return to Southbroom for the first trial of the 2019 season to establish a team to compete at the South African Championships.
A welcome sight was that of Philani Sikobe, who’s working with the Genesis Youth Outreach and has once again started coaching a new group of children.
Sikobe has been associated with Ugu Surfriders for many years and three of his protégés – Senzo Shange, Ayanda Mpisane and Lwando Dlezi – represented Ugu at the national championships last year.
Sunday’s judging took place under priority rules with some of the juniors stepping up to help with this very difficult task under the watchful eye of chairman Wade Botha and his fellow judges. Maya Attfield, Luc Lepront and Louise Lepront did a stellar job of keeping the priority boards.
Guy Spittal and Louis Boshoff spearheaded the setting up and taking down of the equipment and making sure that all equipment were in tip top shape, being the first to get to the beach and the last to leave.
Treasurer Gill Spittal, meanwhile, took all the excited groms and even some of the seniors under her wing as the beach marshall.