Future stars hit the waves for the season-opening Ugu Surfriders novice competition at St Michael’s on Sunday.
The aim of the competition was to introduce and excite children from the ages of eight to 16 about competitive surfing and give them an opportunity to match up with other surfers of similar ability.
This competition also doubled as the first trial to establish a team to represent Ugu Surfriders at the Sea Harvest KwaZulu-Natal Grommet Games, which will be held in Durban on 28-29 March.
Surfers, parents and supporters from all over the Ugu district descended on St Mike’s and enjoyed a fun day of surfing. The day started off with great glassy conditions, which soon changed as a little rain made the wave surface not easy to navigate. To round off the day, a howling onshore East wind gave competitors all the seasons in one day.
Trafalgar Saints Surf Club entered quite a large contingent of surfers as well as Genesis Wave of Hope, who under the tutelage of Philani Sikobi came and showed their skills.
Sikobi has been involved in surfing and Ugu Surfriders for many years, coaching and grooming children from lesser advantaged backgrounds to surf and have fun in the sea. Many surfers from Trafalgar as well as other parts of the coast have been taught by this amazing coach and mentor (click on the link below to watch his powerful life story).
The youngest competitors were Haylie le Roux (Scottburgh) and Travis Turrell (Umtentweni), who both showed a lot of grit and talent and will definitely be ones to look out for in the future.
The Under-12 boys division title went to Fin Herdolt (Umtentweni) ahead of Okuhle Ngcungama (Trafalgar) Luke Adamson, (Ramsgate) and Ntuthuko Dlamini (Wave of Hope).
The Under-U14 girls division was won by Sonnel Dicken (Wave of Hope). Coming second and third were Paige Robertson and Keira Hooper, both of whom have only been surfing for less than five months and impressed their coach Heather Clark with some nice rides.
The Under-U14 boys division was hotly contested – all four finalists were within 0.8 of each other in the final score. Daryn Palmer (St Michael’s), fondly known as “Lil-Daryn”, took out the win in this nailbiter finale, closely followed by Sanele Zwelonke (Trafalgar), Clayton Turrell (Umtentweni) and Hannes Hoffman (Shelly Beach), the latter another one of Clark’s protégées.
Mpilo Dlamini (Trafalgar) claimed a dominant win in the Under- U16 boys division. Tristan Korsten (Shelly Beach), Jude Ho Yee (Shelly Beach) and Slade Jesson (Umtentweni) finished second, third and fourth in really tricky onshore conditions that did not allow for good waves. The boys, however, made the best of what was on offer, and showed some good skill.
This being a novice competition, Ugu Surfriders also gave some of the juniors the chance to try judging. Jordy Boshoff (U18), Maya Attfield (U18) and Evan Spittal (U16) did a great job judging under the watchful eyes of qualified judges Theo Peyios and Andre Attfield, the latter serving as head judge for this contest.
Some of the other juniors got to work helping with the beach marshalling and showing the newbies how it’s done. JJ Hoffman, under Gill Spittal’s guidance, did an outstanding job of checking kids in for their heats and making sure they were all in the correct rash vests all day long. Instilling the culture of paying back to the sport is a big focus for Ugu Surfriders.
The trusted Ugu tabulator team of Eloise Boshoff and Claudia Attfield tabulated and calculated 21 heats in total to make sure all was correct and in order. Overall, it was a very smoothly run contest with lots of fun and stoke for both kids and parents alike.
Ugu Surfriders’ next novice contest will be held in Scottburgh on 22 February and will once again double up as a trial for the Grommet Games.
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