South Coast legend Heather Clark was crowned the national women’s Over-30 champion in 4-5 foot surf at the 2017 Mercedes-Benz South African Surfing Championships in East London on Sunday.
The 52nd edition of the South African Surfing Championships began and ended at Nahoon Reef with three days taking place at Nahoon Corner courtesy of some huge storm surf that hit East London midweek.
Despite these challenges, the national championships hosted by Buffalo City and supported by Sport and Recreation SA and the National Lotteries Commission was a huge success. Over 150 surfers from eight districts competed in the championships which were held in great surf over six days.
Clark led a small but talented Ugu Surfriders side by example as she wrapped up the Over-30 SA women’s title, with Michelle van Kempen of Nelson Mandela Bay second and 2016 champion Lynne Mackey of eThekweni Surfriders third. Tasha Mentasti of Eden came fourth.
The Port Shepstone icon also secured a silver medal in the open women’s division, where Olivia Brand of eThekweni Surfriders denied “Fergie” her ninth national open title.
Danica Stockigt of Buffalo City Surfriders was third and Maya Shefer-Boswell of Cape Town Surfriders took fourth place.
Clark’s overall performance during the six day event earned her the Surfer of the Contest award.
Ugu, made up of Clark, captain/manager Gary van Wieringen, Bryan Wigmore, Cody Coetzee, Derek Horlock, Calvin Moore, Carl Roux, Justin Maisch, Daryl Adamson and Warren van Wareing, had surfers in seven of the eight finals.
Coetsee, surfing his very first open South African Championships, landed himself a very well-deserved third place in the Open division.
Adamson placed second in the Over-50, Roux placed second in a very close Over-45 division final, Maisch placed third in the Over-40s and Wareing placed fourth in the Over-60s.
In other results, Van Wieringen and Moore finished seventh in the Over-40s and Over-35s respectively, while the Open division saw Maisch come 10th, Horlock and Van Wieringen finish 19th and Wigmore and Moore finish 27th.
A specialty heat was run before the open finals to highlight adaptive surfing in South Africa. Jean-Paul Veaudry, the current South African adaptive surf champion, was ripping in the line-up along with Van Wieringen, Philip Malherbe and Craig Johnson, with Van Wieringen taking the win.
Meanwhile, an overwhelmed Brandon Benjamin of Cape Town Surfriders became the 52nd South African men’s champion when he beat defending and five-time South African champion Greg Emslie of Buffalo City Surfriders
Earlier this year the 20 year old from Steenberg represented South Africa at the ISA World Surfing Games in France where Emslie was the Team Coach.
His incredible victory by a mere one point was greeted with joy by the members of the SWOT Surf Club, his Cape Town Surfriders team mates and by the crowd at the Awards ceremony.
Benjamin, who has come through Surfing South Africa’s programmes, is one of the youngest surfers to win the coveted South African Open Men’s title. 19-year-old Coetsee of Ugu Surfriders was third and Llewellyn Whittaker of Eden came fourth in the Final.
In the Over-35 men’s Division Tyrell Johnson of Buffalo City Surfriders celebrated his birthday in style with a good win over defending champion Llewellyn Whittaker of Eden. Tyrell’s brother, Orrin, was third and Etienne Potgieter of Nelson Mandela Bay came fourth.
Emslie won the Over-40 South African title beating Buffalo City team mate Tristan Johnson into second spot. Maisch of Ugu Surfriders was third and Warwick Heny of Nelson Mandela Bay came fourth.
Emslie’s consistent surfing throughout the championships saw him become the inaugural recipient of the Dave Fish Trophy. This Trophy was introduced at this year’s SA Championships in memory of former SSA Board Member and Buffalo City Surfriders President, Dave Fish, who passed away suddenly last year.
In a show of brilliant surfing which resulted in the first 10 point ride of the event, Wayne Monk of Buffalo City added the Over-45 division South African title to the many national titles he has won since winning the SA Championships at Nahoon Reef for the first time in 1989.
Monk beat defending champion Roux of Ugu Surfriders into second spot. Buffalo City Surfriders stalwart Gareth Sepp came third and 2015 Over-45 champion Rob Moore – Boyle of eThekweni Surfriders had to settle for fourth spot.
Adding to Buffalo City’s list of success was victory for David Malherbe who took gold in the Over-50 final. Adamson of Ugu Surfriders was the runner-up, Richard Heath of Cape Winelands won bronze and Andre Mory of Cape Town Surfriders took fourth spot.
Multiple world and South African champion Chris Knutsen of eThekweni added another victory notch to his belt when he beat Trevor Hansen of Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders into second place in the Over-55 final.
Nelson Mandela Bay Chairman Andre Venter came third and Surfing South Africa deputy President Bruce Anderson of Cape Town Surfriders, took fourth place.
The oldest division to participate in this year’s championships were the Over-60s who are known as the Supervets and here Buffalo City’s Gordon Harmer beat Jeremy Zinn of Cape Town Surfriders to win the title. David Lipschitz of Nelson Mandela Bay was third and Wareing of Ugu Surfriders came fourth.
Solid team results for Ugu
Buffalo City Surfriders won the President’s Cup for the highest scores in the Open Divisions. eThekweni came second followed by Cape Town, Ugu, Nelson Mandela Bay, Ilembe, Eden and Cape Winelands.
Buffalo City won the Masters Cup for the 12th year in a row beating Nelson Mandela Bay into second spot. Then came eThekweni, Cape Town, Ugu, Eden, Ilembe and Cape Winelands.
The inaugural Champions Cup which is presented to the Team that scores the highest combined points total went to the dominant Buffalo City Team. eThekweni came second, Nelson Mandela Bay were third followed by Cape Town, Ugu, Eden, Ilembe and Cape Winelands.
The South African Championships were presented by Surfing South Africa, the National Governing body for the sport in South Africa. SSA is a member of the South African Sports Commission and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).
Photos by Menize Hattingh
FINAL RESULTS FROM MERCEDES-BENZ SOUTH AFRICAN SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS HOSTED by BUFFALO CITY:
Men’s Open Final:
1st Brandon Benjamin – 15.75
2nd Greg Emslie – 14.75
3rd Cody Coetsee – 8.85
4th Llewellyn Whittaker – 5.45
Women’s Open Final:
1st Olivia Brand – 17.25
2nd Heather Clark – 16.75
3rd Danica Stockigt – 11.35
4th Maya Shefer Boswell – 8.95
Women’s Over 30 Final:
1st Heather Clark – 18.75
2nd Michelle Van Kempen – 12.2
3rd Lynne Mackey – 10.65
4th Tasha Mentasti – 8.05
Men’s Over 35 Final:
1st Tyrell Johnson – 18.4
2nd Llewellyn Whittaker – 11.45
3rd Orrin Johnson – 10.65
4th Etienne Potgieter 10.35
Men’s Over 40 Final:
1st Greg Emslie -16.25
2nd Tristan Johnson – 15.25
3rd Justin Maisch – 8.25
4th Warwick Heny – 8.0
Men’s Over 45 Final:
1st Wayne Monk – 14.5
2nd Carl Roux – 13.75
3rd Gareth Sepp – 11.15
4th Rob Moore Boyle – 8.5
Men’s Over 50 Final:
1st David Malherbe – 18.5
2nd Daryl Adamson – 15.0
3rd Richard Heath – 12.5
4th Andre Mory – 5.0
Men’s Over 55 Final:
1st Chris Knutsen – 17.4
2nd Trevor Hansen – 14.25
3rd Andre Venter – 8.75
4th Bruce Anderson – 4.25
Men’s Over 60 Final:
1st Gordon Harmer – 14.25
2nd Jeremy Zinn – 13.25
3rd Dave Lipschitz – 5.35
4th Warren Wareing – 4.85
Champions Cup Team Standings:
1st: Buffalo City Surf Riders – 67 240 points
2nd: eThekweni Surf Riders – 48 792 points
3rd: Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Riders – 48 365 points
4th: Cape Town Surf Riders – 41 191 points
5th: Ugu Surf Riders – 34 288 points
6th: Eden Surf Riders – 21 858 points
7th: Ilembe Surf Riders – 21 640 points
8th: Cape Winelands Surf Riders – 17 870 points
President’s Cup Standings:
1st: Buffalo City Surf Riders – 27 020 points
2nd: eThekweni Surf Riders – 26 558 points
3rd: Cape Town Surf Riders – 22 150 points
4th: Ugu Surf Riders – 19 628 points
5th: Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Riders – 17 910 points
6th: Ilembe Surf Riders – 15 220 points
7th: Eden Surf Riders – 11 728 points
8th: Cape Winelands Surf Riders – 11 660 points
Masters Cup Standings
1st: Buffalo City Surf Riders – 40 220 points
2nd: Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Riders – 30 455 points
3rd: eThekweni Surf Riders – 22 234 points
4th: Cape Town Surf Riders – 19 041 points
5th: Ugu Surf Riders – 14 660 points
6th: Eden Surf Riders – 10 130 points
7th: Ilembe Surf Riders – 6 420 points
8th: Cape Winelands Surf Riders – 6 210 points
Dave Fish Award: Greg Emslie
Surfer of the Contest: Heather Clark