Ugu surfers impress in Grommet Games return

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Quintin van Jaarsveld

The Ugu Surfriders team marked their return to the Billabong SA Grommet Games with promising team and individual performances in Port Elizabeth last week.

Close to 100 girls and boys from seven districts took part in the annual event, which is Surfing South Africa’s premier entry level inter-provincial tournament.

Having last competed in the 2013 edition of the annual event, a 14-member team returned under its new Ugu guise and made their presence felt.

The South Coast’s best young guns showcased their skills on the national stage – all for the first time – and by the end of the action-packed tournament on Sunday, they left no doubt that the state of surfing in the region is on an upward curve.

The tournament culminated in two-foot surf and offshore conditions at the Pipe, Pollock Beach on Sunday, with Ugu – captained by Tyrone Molyneaux and Maya Attfield – finishing fifth overall and fourth in the Tag Team Final.

A number of team members impressed in the individual surfing categories.

Maya (Under-15 Girls), Jordan Boshoff (Under-13 Boys), Kai Molyneaux (Under-11 Boys), Kira Attfield (Under-11 Girls) and Thuso Kwanele Somptea (Under-9 Boys) all advanced to the semi-finals, with Maya’s and Jordan’s eye-catching performances over the four days of surfing earning them a place in the Grommet Games Academy Squad.

Prince-Junior Hlongwa was Ugu’s star performer in the beach flags competition, the youngster returning with the junior boys title, while Zoey Thompson bagged an impressive third place in the junior girls flags competition.

The Ugu team consisted of Maya, Tyrone, Jordan, Kai, Kira, Thuso, Prince-Junior, Zoey, Bumkiso Ngwekazi, Thomas Boshoff, Chania Landsberg, Landon Windvogel, Evan Spittal and Kelsey Windvogel.

Kyle Maher was the head coach of the team and was assisted by Philani Sikobi.

“This was the team’s first national event and they rose to the occasion,” a proud Maher told eHowzit.

“We had a few standouts in the team but everyone surfed to their full potential by putting themselves in position to get the maximum scores in their heats.

“Our team is new to competitive surfing and it showed in some areas in the contest but it’s a journey and every year I believe we will get stronger. A big thank you to the parents involved and our committee [Attfield and Boshoff families] for making this possible.

Maher also hailed the camaraderie and spirit in the team.

“For kids, fun comes naturally in a task they are asked to do but they had a genuine care and belief in each other when a team mate was surfing, running and paddling. It was by far the best team spirit I’ve seen.”

Elated Ugu Surfriders chairman Wade Botha said: “After two years of missing this important event on the junior surfing calendar due to lack of funding, we at Ugu Surfriders are over the moon to have sent a team to the Grom Games, and what a team it was.”

Botha added: “A very special thanks must go out from the committee and myself to Claudia Attfield, Eloise Boshoff and their subcommittee for all the hard work they put into organising the tour, fundraising and getting the Grom Games programing off the ground again.

“Thanks also goes to coach Philani Sikobi for inspiring not only the children he coaches on a regular basis but also all the other surfers in the team, and finally, thanks to Kyle Maher, head coach, who has ignited a flame in junior South Coast surfing that will hopefully see us rise up to the power province we have been in the past.”

The Cape Town Surfriders team made it five wins in a row as they took the overall honours.

The team in blue and white beat the hosts, Nelson Mandela Bay, to win the coveted Mandela Bay Trophy which goes to the team that posts the highest points after the four days of competition both in and out of the water.

An ecstatic Cape Winelands team not only produced their best performance in the history of the 24-year event to take a deserved third place overall but their energy, enthusiasm and support for each other throughout the event also earned them the coveted Team Spirit Award.

eThekweni, who were last year’s runners up in the overall standings had to settle for fourth this year. Sixth-placed Buffalo City and seventh-placed Eden both produced a number of individual successes but did not have the depth in numbers to feature higher up in the overall results.

In an exciting Tag Team Final, Cape Town successfully defended their 2015 title, beating Nelson Mandela Bay into second place in the final. Buffalo City were third and Ugu took fourth place.

Despite finishing second in both the overall team competition and the Tag Team Final, Nelson Mandela Bay won the Surfing Award, which goes to the team that scores the most points across the eight surfing divisions.

The youngest winners were Gabriella Herbst of eThekweni and David Emslie of Buffalo City, who won the Under-9 Girls and Boys Divisions respectively. The Under-11 Girls and Boys Champions were Zia Hendricks of Nelson Mandela Bay and C-Jay Posthumus of Nelson Mandela Bay.

Joining Buffalo City team mate and Under-9 Champion David Emslie as division winners were Zoe Steyn and Daniel Emslie who took gold in the Under-13 Girls and Under-13 Boys Finals respectively. Daniel was also named as Surfer of the Contest.

The Under-15 Girls gold medal went the way of Kaisea Button of Cape Town and Daniel Orpen of Nelson Mandela Bay won the Under-15 Boys Final.

Chelsea Clotz of Nelson Mandela Bay was awarded the Sportsmanship Trophy and KZN-based Sisonke Ndumndum was presented with the Judge of the Contest Award.

Paddle battle honours went the way of Kaisea Button and her brother Sam of Cape Town Surfriders, Kitty Ribbink of eThekweni and Prince-Junior won the girls and boys junior Flags titles while the girls and boys senior Flags gold medals went to Shana Zunckel of Nelson Mandela Bay and Simakele Rooi of Cape Town Surfriders.

Photos by Claudia Fuchs

The full results can be found here.

RESULTS: 2016 BILLABONG SA GROMMET GAMES

SURFING  

U9 Girls    

1st                Gabriella Herbst                ETK

2nd               Anastasia Venter               CW

3rd                Emma Wise                      CTS

4th                Alyx Currin                        BC

5th                Issataya Bredell                 NMB

U9 Boys      

1st                David Emslie                     BC

2nd               Josh Malherbe                   BC

3rd                Matthew Canning              ETK

4th                Bryce Hoppe                     ETK

U11 Girls      

1st                Zia Hendricks                    NMB

2nd               Kitty Ribbink                      ETK

3rd                Emma Bedser                   BC

4th                Saffiya Moodlier                 CW

U11 Boys     

1st                C-Jay Posthumous            NMB

2nd               Joel Fowles                       BC

3rd                Ethan Currin                      BC

4th                River Gericke

U13 Girls      

1st                Zoe Steyn                         BC

2nd               Ceara Knight                     CTS

3rd                Che Du Plessis                  CW

4th                Sune Chadwick                  CW

U13 Boys     

1st                Daniel Emslie                    BC

2nd               Nicholas Lombard              CW

3rd                Matthew O Brien               BC

4th                Brad Scott                         CTS

U15 Girls      

1st                Kaisea Button                    CTS

2nd               Casey Mussel                    CTS

3rd                Danella Finlayson              CW

4th                Rentia Tromp                    CW

U15 Boys     

1st                Daniel Orpen                     NMB

2nd               Ashwin Petersen                CW

3rd                Simakele Rooi                   CTS

4th                Sam Button                       CTS

2016 GROMMET GAMES ACADEMY SQUAD:

BOYS

Daniel Orpen (NMB), Sam Button (CTS), Simakele Rooi (CTS), Ashwin Petersen (CW), Spe Shangase (ETK), Jayden Toby (NMB), Ntando Nqadala (CTS), Nicholas Lombard (CW), Daniel Emslie (BC), Brad Scott (CTS), Matt O’ Brien (BC), Ernie Prinsloo (NMB), Jordan Boshoff (UGU), C-Jay Posthumous (NMB)

GIRLS

Casey Mussel (CTS), Kaisea Button (CTS), Danella Finlayson (CW), Rentia Tromp (CW), Tobuku Ndlovu (NMB), Maya Attfield (UGU), Ceara Knight (CW), Che Du Plessis (CW), Zoe Steyn (BC), Sune Chadwick (CW), Zia Hendricks (NMB)

TEAM RESULTS – MANDELA BAY TROPHY FOR THE OVERALL EVENT CHAMPIONS: 

1st                Cape Town                                35307

2nd                Nelson Mandela Bay                  29935

3rd                Cape Winelands                          26992

4th                eThekweni                                   22144

5th                Ugu                                             19529

6th                Buffalo City                                19480

7th                Eden                                            19250 

TAG TEAM

1st                Cape Town

2nd                Nelson Mandela Bay

3rd                Buffalo City

4th                Ugu

SURFING TROPHY

Nelson Mandela Bay

TEAM SPIRIT AWARD  

Cape Winelands

SURFER OF THE CONTEST

Daniel Emslie (Buffalo City)

JUDGING RECOGNITION AWARD

Sisonke Ndumndum

BEACH FLAGS

U9 & U11 Girls

1st      Kitty Ribbink                ETK

2nd     Zia Hendricks                NMB

3rd      Zoey Thompson            UGU

4th      Emma Bedser                BC

U13 & U15 Girls                  

1st      Shana Zunckel               NMB

2nd      Kaisea Button               CTS

3rd      Casey Mussel                CTS

4th      Faieka Cupido               CTS

U9 & U11 Boys

1st      Prince-Junior Hlongwa              UGU

2nd      Jaydin Van Louw                     CTS

3rd      Bryce Hoppe                             ETK

4th      CJ Posthumous                         NMB

U13 & U15 Boys                             

1st      Simakele Rooi                   CTS

2nd      Isaac Van Zyl                    CW

3rd      Sam Button                       CTS

4th      Nicholas Lombard              CW

PADDLE BATTLE

Girls  

1st      Kaisea Button                    CTS

2nd      Zoe Steyn                         BC

3rd      Ceara Knight                     CTS

4th      Danella Finlayson              CW

Boys             

1st      Sam Button                       CTS

2nd      Nicholas Lombard             CW

3rd      Ashwin Petersen               CW

4th      Timothy Shelver                NMB

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