WATCH: KZN teen prodigy in his element at Sun City’s Valley of Waves

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It is not often a surfer rides the waves inland, but this is exactly what 14-year-old rising prodigy Ntokozo Maphumulo did this weekend at Sun City’s Valley of Waves.

Maphumulo, also known as Surprise, hails from Durban where he has been competing in the surfing junior championships since the age of 11, winning the Under 12 Billabong national series. He is a product of the SA Surfing Legends High Performance Academy under coach and pro surfer, Chad du Toit.

Internationally renowned surfer Jason Ribbink, who owns Bilt Surfboards, where Maphumulo’s father works, sponsors Surprise. “He grew up hanging around the shop and when I saw his skateboarding skills, I realised he would be a good surfer.”

The then nine-year-old started Nippers surf lifesaving but first had to overcome the challenge of learning to swim.

“I had a fun weekend in the water, it was one of my best trips I’ve had all year. Thanks Sun City for making this happen – I was really grateful for the opportunity,” said Maphumlo. “Everything I do is about surfing and in five years’ time I see myself surfing against the world’s best in the World Tour.”

The teen was accompanied in the water by du Toit, himself a top South African surfer.

“I was super excited not only as a surfer but also as Surprise’s coach to share the waves with him to help better aspects and the technique of his surfing,” du Toit said.  “It was really exciting to watch him practice new manoeuvres, his strengths were really key and it was nice to work on his weaknesses and see improvement,” du Toit said.  “His future is super bright and with his small stature and big heart he really made the most of this opportunity.”

Sun City used the lockdown closure period to conduct an extensive refurbishment of the Valley of Waves, so the facility was in tip-top condition, said Sun City general manager, Brett Hoppé. “Sun City is proud to make a contribution towards furthering the career of one of South Africa’s bright young sports stars by having hosted this exciting event.”

“I am stoked that Surprise had the opportunity to ride the Sun City waves pool.  I think the way he’s surfing, his compactness and his explosiveness fared well in the pool,” Ribbink said.

Former professional surfer turned Oakley Sports Marketing Manager, Seth Hulley, described Maphumlo as “the future of South African surfing”. “He is so dedicated and I have no doubt that he will make it onto the World Tour one day. Watch his name for the future,” he said.

Greg Pearson of Grit Real Estate Income Group, another of Maphumlo’s sponsors, said one of the advantages of the Valley of Waves was getting the same wave each time.

Renowned water photographer, Pierre de Villiers, who snapped the photographs over the weekend, said, “I couldn’t wait to photograph our world-class surfing talent at such a beautiful and unique venue, it was wild.”

Watch Ntokozo Maphumulo surfing the Valley of Waves video – click here.

Photo: Ntokozo Maphumulo, 14-year old rising surfing prodigy, testing the waves at Sun City’s Valley of Waves this past weekend. (Pierre de Villiers)

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