Quintin van Jaarsveld
Claire Haskins showed what a versatile wave-rider she is when she bagged a bronze medal at the GB Surf South African Longboarding Championships in Lamberts Bay recently.
The Southbroom surfer has represented Ugu with her short board for the last three years at the South African Junior Championships in Jeffreys Bay, but this was her maiden national longboarding championships.
Haskins got off to an excellent start and won her Under-16 semi-final heat with solid surfing, making her the top seed for the final.
During the decider, she got the highest scoring wave of the heat – 8.75 – but couldn’t find a back-up wave, which saw her finish third.
“I’m very happy with the outcome. It’s given me confidence that I’m on the right track at least, and having scored the highest single wave in the final is really nice,” Haskins told eHowzit.
“It was a wonderful experience. I did a lot of surfing in the cold water with a thicker wetsuit and booties and of course, I ate some freshly caught snoek West Coast style.”
The Creston College grade 10 learner said she initially never considered competing on the longboard.
“My parents bought me a nine-foot longboard for Christmas, the year before last. I loved the idea and would surf it just for fun when the surf was not ideal for my short board.
“But everyone started to comment that the style of surfing really suited me, so after the SA short board champs last year, I started to surf it more and entered the KZN trials earlier this year and made the KZN team for Lamberts Bay to my surprise.”
She said the transition has been tricky but fun and remains a work in progress. “I had to learn how to cross step and walk on my board. It’s a big challenge and I still have so much to learn.”
What’s clear is the talented teen has fallen in love with longboard surfing. “I really enjoy the longboard because it’s graceful and suits my style of surfing better.”