Quintin van Jaarsveld
Southbroom saw epic action in what turned out to be a bumper Ugu Surfing Championships on Saturday.
Close to 80 surfers vied for the coveted titles in divisions ranging from novice to masters.
The big entry pool had Ugu Surfriders having to run two podiums with two sets of judges keeping score, a big logistical challenge but one chairman Wade Botha and his team pulled off with aplomb.
Good weather and tricky conditions greeted the surfers for what was an entertaining showcase of South Coast surfing.
Young groms got a taste of a major competition and showed promise, with Samkelo Tshezi and Lexi Peyios winning the boys and girls divisions respectively, while Llewellyn Engelbrecht and Louise Lepront clinched the Under-10 honours.
Luc Lepront and Gia Gillmer were two of the stars of the championships and came out of the water as double champions, winning their respective Under-12 and Under-14 titles.
Business picked up when the Under-16s took to the waves. Ayanda Mpisane rose to the occasion and took the boys title after seeing off Lwando Dlezi, Caden Coetsee and Axel Anthony.
Like Luc and Gia, there was double delight for Jesse Powell, who picked up the Under-16 and Under-18 girls crowns.
The Under-18 boys final was won by Tyler May, who managed to hold off Dlezi, Ziggy Borstlap and Mpisane.
The much-anticipated open finals produced high-calibre surfing and saw Zamani Gcwenca grab the men’s title ahead of Cody Coetsee, Simo Mkhize and Byran Wigmore, while Chad Delport won the masters crown.
The open ladies final pitted the past and present against the future. In the end, experience trumped the exuberance of youth as the legendary Heather Clark clinched the title ahead of dual champ Powell and fellow rising star Maya Attfield.
“I’m super happy to get another Ugu title under my belt. It’s always nice to get a title behind your name,” Port Shepstone great Clark told eHowzit.
“It was quite tricky out there. There was a very shallow sandbank so some of the waves closed out, some were barrelling and others had walls.
“There also wasn’t a predominant peak where you could sit on and go left or right, so you had to be on your game and look for waves instead of sitting and waiting for some.”
Clark, the most decorated South African women’s wave-rider of all time, was full of praise for the region’s rising stars, saying, “It was great to compete against Jesse and Maya in the open division – they are two very talented up-and-coming surfers.
“Litte Gia surfed extremely well, sitting at the back and catching waves, Kira [Attfield] also did her thing and Louise was outstanding. She surfed a little closer in where she felt comfortable and was a real standout in my eyes.
“All the junior boys also surfed well; it’s awesome to see that we have such good young talent coming through. Overall, the champs was awesome and the committee did a great job running the two podiums.”
After a long day of surfing, the annual general meeting and awards ceremony was held at the Pavilion Restaurant in Uvongo. The surfers headed back to Southbroom on Sunday for the first trial of the year (report to follow).
“A big congratulations to all the surfers,” said Ugu Surfriders secretary Claudia Attfield.
“Thanks to the Southbroom community who gave up their local spot to the district surfers for the whole weekend. Many South Coasters came to watch the outstanding surfing and support our surfers throughout the weekend.
“With over 40 heats to surf and having two podiums run for most of the day, it was quite a difficult thing to keep things running smoothly, but under Wade’s guidance, there were hardly any incidents to be noted.
“Wade made sure that his fellow judges – Chad Coulie, Byran Wigmore, Brennan Brodie, Dylan Gouws, Nick Njapha, Andre Attfield and Royden Bryson – with the help of our Under-16 surfer Jordy Boshoff, who couldn’t take part due to his broken arm, judged fairly and according to the rules.
“Thanks to Claudia Lotz from Pavilion Restaurant and her staff for accommodating the surfers and their continued support over the years. A special thanks to Guy Spittal for making the wonderful handmade trophies for prize-giving and to Eloise Boshoff, who spent two solid days tabulating scores and making sure all results were worked out correctly and all surfers got their placings on time.”
Photos by Offshore Surf Photography
Ugu Surfing Championships Results:
|u10g & Novices:||Lexi Peyios|
|Open Ladies:||Heather Clark|
|Open Ladies:||Jesse Powell|
|Open Ladies:||Maya Attfield|
|Novice boys:||Samkelo Tshezi|
|Novice boys:||Mfundo Mkhize|
|Novice boys:||Ntuthuko Nzimande|
|Novice boys:||Zolani Ncwane|
|u10b & Exp Nov.||Llewellyn Engelbrecht|
|u10b & Exp Nov.||Taigan Cunningham|
|u10b & Exp Nov.||Tristan Korsten|
|u10b & Exp Nov.||Kalan Springer|
|Open Men:||Zamani Gcwenca|
|Open Men:||Cody Coetsee|
|Open Men:||Simo Mkhize|
|Open Men:||Byran Wigmore|