The cream rose to the top in the Ugu Surfing Championships held at Scottburgh main beach on Saturday.
In a thrilling showcase of local surfing talent, champions were crowned in 12 different divisions.
The conditions were slightly tricky with a slight onshore breeze, but still offered some good surf and smaller decent waves for all the age divisions.
The break, however, did not really deliver two decided peaks as hoped, and it made for some tricky navigation for the surfers in the regional championships, as well as for the novices, who ran a trial concurrently.
A total of 52 surfers competed in 22 heats in the main contest as well as 26 frothing novices in 16 heats on podium two.
This saw very good management skills from Ugu Surfriders marshals and tabulators as well as some very alert judging throughout the day.
Decorated veteran Gary van Wieringen won the open men’s crown after seeing off a trio of young and hungry standouts. Simo Mkhize secured second place, with Jordy Boshoff finishing third and Ugu Surfriders chairman Wade Botha fourth.
The same scenario played out in the open ladies final where another multi-time South African champion, Heather Clark, took the crown. The two-time world masters champion bested Jesse Powell, former South African junior star Chanelle Botha and Louise Lepront, who placed in that order.
Van Wieringen almost did the double but had to settle for second place in the men’s masters division as Grant van der Linde landed the win. Chad Delport finished third and Justin Maisch fourth.
The Under-18 titles went to Caden Coetsee and Maya Attfield while the Under-16 spoils went to Boshoff and Powell.
Luc Lepront and Kira Attfield won the Under-14 boys and girls titles respectively, with Clayton Turrell and Louise Lepront prevailing in the Under-12 divisions.
The novices surfed their second trial for team selection for the KwaZulu-Natal Grommet Games set to take place in Durban in March.
Boshoff and Attfield once again stepped in and helped with judging under the watchful eyes of a qualified judge, giving them more valuable experience.
Four age divisions were surfed and promising talents emerged. Picking up wins were Tristan Korsten (Under-16 boys), Daryn Palmer (Under-14 boys), Paige Robertson (Under-14 girls), Fin Herdolt (Under-12 boys), Cruz Reynolds (Under-10 boys) and Leah Lepront (Under-10 girls).
After the action in the water, it was time for the annual general meeting and prize-giving, which was held at C Breeze Restaurant. In addition to the champions being crowned, the standout performers of 2019 were acknowledged for their form throughout the year.
Confirmed as the top seeds for 2019 were Cody Coetsee (Open Men), Clark (Open Ladies and Masters), Delport (Men O45), Andrew Lange (Men O40), Lyle Miller (Men O35), Caden Coetsee (U18 boys), Maya Attfield (U18 girls), Lwando Dlezi (U16 boys), Powell (U16 girls), Evan Peyios (U14 boys), Kira Attfield (U14 girls), Llewellyn Engelbrecht (U12 boys) and Louise Lepront (U12 girls).
Van Wieringen and Port Shepstone legend Clark (pictured above) claimed the coveted Surfer of the Year awards. The elite duo were also the recipients of the first-ever Triple Fin awards with Van Wieringen having won the South African Over-45, KwaZulu-Natal Over-45 and Ugu open men’s titles and Clark having clinched the South African, KwaZulu-Natal and Ugu masters titles.
Clark was also named the Most Frothing Senior Surfer of the Year, with JJ Hoffman handed the grom prize in this category. Boshoff and Louise Lepront landed the Junior Surfer of the Year awards, with Boshoff also banking the Stepping up/Blow Out award.
The Most Improved Surfer of the Year awards went to Evan Spittal and Kira Attfield, the Most Promising Junior Surfer of the Year awards to Dlezi and Louise Lepront and the Mini Grom Surfer of the Year awards to Tyne van Achterbergh and Haylie le Roux.
Ziggy Borstlap won the Sportsmanship award, Clayton Turrell took the Best use of social media prize, Chad Coullie was named Judge of the Year while the club committee members received commitment to surfing awards.
“We would like to thank all the sponsors and benefactors of the sport and everyone who supported Ugu Surfriders throughout 2019,” said Ugu Surfriders vice-chairperson Claudia Attfield.
“We’d especially like to mention the Horlock family who put together an incredible fundraiser competition, the Tweni2s, each year. Further mention goes to Nicci Tilley for her personal donations, funding and commitment to the sport and the surfers.
“A special thanks is extended to everyone that help with transport of surfers and to those working behind the scenes, seemingly unnoticed.
“Thank you, too, to all the establishments and venues who have fed the judges and officials so well throughout the year: Tiago’s, C-Bali and C Breeze.
“Finally, a big thank you to all the surfers for showing their best and putting the district and surfing on the map.”
The next trial will take place at Southbroom on 8 March. Those interested in joining Ugu Surfriders can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ugu Surfing Championships results:
1st Gary van Wieringen
2nd Simo Mkhize
3rd Jordy Boshoff
4th Wade Botha
1st Heather Clark
2nd Jesse Powell
3rd Chanelle Botha
4th Louise Lepront
1st Grant van der Linde
2nd Gary van Wieringen
3rd Chad Delport
4th Justin Maisch
1st Heather Clark
1st Caden Coetsee
2nd Sibusiso Mkhize
1st Maya Attfield
1st Jordy Boshoff
2nd Ayanda Mpisane
3rd Lindokuhle Ndovela
1st Jesse Powell
1st Luc Lepront
2nd JJ Hoffman
3rd Evan Peyios
4th Lisa Mbhele
1st Kira Attfield
2nd Zoey Thompson
1st Clayton Turrell
2nd Tyne van Achterbergh
3rd Daryn Palmer
4th Taigan Cunningham
1st Louise Lepront
2nd Leah Lepront
3rd Haylie Le Roux
Novice trial results:
1st Tristan Korsten
2nd Jude Ho Yee
3rd Slade Jesson
4th Mpilo Dlamini
1st Daryn Palmer
2nd Hannes Hoffman
3rd Sanele Zwelonke
1st Paige Robertson
1st Fin Herdolt
2nd Okuhle Ngcungama
3rd David Moussouris
4th Nthutuko Dlamini
1st Cruz Reynolds
2nd Travis Turrell
1st Leah Lepront
2nd Haylie le Roux
Top Seeds for 2019:
Speciality awards for 2019:
Triple Fin (awarded for the first time):
Heather Clark: 1st Ugu Masters Ladies, 1st KZN Masters Ladies, 1st SA Masters Ladies
Gary van Wieringen: 1st Ugu Open Men, 1st KZN Masters o45 Men, 1st SA Masters o45 Men
Senior Male Surfer of the Year:
Gary van Wieringen
Senior Female Surfer of the Year:
Junior Boys Surfer of the Year:
Junior Girls Surfer of the Year:
Most Frothing Senior Surfer of the Year:
Most Frothing Grom of the Year:
Most Improved Boys Surfer of the Year:
Most Improved Girls Surfer of the Year:
Most Promising Junior Boys Surfer of the Year:
Most Promising Junior Girls Surfer of the Year:
Mini Grom Boys Surfer of the Year:
Tyne van Achterbergh
Mini Grom Girls Surfer of the Year:
Haylie le Roux
Stepping up/Blow Out award:
Best use of social media:
Judge of the Year:
Commitment to surfing:
Ugu committee members
Photos by Hennie Potgieter