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Mon, 17 December 2018

South Africans Anthony Smyth and Grace Anderson took gold and silver respectively at the Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship at La Jolla Beach in San Diego yesterday.

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TUNNEL OF LOVE: Ant Smyth is chaired up the beach by happy Saffas. Photo ISA / Grant

Host national USA - propelled by five individual medals - cut short a two-year streak by Team Brazil at the top of the podium. Like South Africa, the USA took only one gold, but their consistency came with a huge team of 14 surfers, and three silver medals: Christiaan Bailey (AS-4), Jeff Munson (AS-3) and Sarah Bettencourt (Women AS-4).

Points for South Africa, who came 9th out of 24 nations, came from Smyth's gold and Anderson's silver medals in their respective AS-1 divisions. They were aided by team captain JP Vaudrey, who made the AS-1 semi-finals; Tyler Pike, who got a quarter-final place in AS-2; and Elsje Neethling advancing to the semis of the Women's AS-4. Albert Rust banked points for participating in his two rounds of the AS-5.

South Africa had gaps in several divisions, with the more populous teams racking up much bigger team scores. The expanded format of the champs allows for eight men and eight women for a 16-person team. The winners USA had 14 surfers. Second placed Brazil had 13. Chili (3rd) had 13. Hawaii (4th) had 10. France (5th) had nine. Australia (6th) had seven. England (7th) had eight. Japan (8th) had eight. South Africa (9th) had six, which is commendable, considering. Like the Aussies, an indomitable fighting spirit pushed them to bat above their weight ... for a horrid metaphoric mix.

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BY THE GRACE: Grace Anderson won her first medal at an adaptive champs. Photo ISA / Evans

But that aside, because as any adaptive surfer will tell you, it's about participating, not competing. Others on the other hand might beg to differ. It's about both, if that makes sense.

Smyth was in top form throughout, and looked in control of the final from the outset although quite obviously aware of the gifted young Brazilian Jonathan Borba, who he kept a beady eye on. He employed some competitive tactics, but was first to congratulate the youngster after he had won.

Shaun Tomson, who had several stints in the commmentator's box to share his wisdom, was one of the first to congratulate Smyth on his second gold medal at the Champs. Anderson stuck to her guns in the Women's AS-1 final by catching long waves and milking them all the way to the beach. At one point it looked like she could win it, but she will be proud of her maiden medal at the World Champs.

Colombia’s 13-year-old Freddy Marimon continued his amazing run through the competition and saved his best for last, posting the highest wave score and heat total of the entire event. Marimon’s perfect 10-point ride and 18.83 heat total led him to a well-deserved Gold Medal in the AS-5 Division.

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POMP and CEREMONY: Ant Smyth celebrates his second gold medal. Photo ISA / Grant

In a string of historic moments, Melisa Reid’s Gold Medal performance for Team England in the Women’s visually impaired division marked a milestone for the sport, crowning the first women’s World Champion in the division.

Seven past ISA World Champions repeated their feats to return to the top of the podium on Sunday including Denmark’s Bruno Hansen (AS-4), Hawaii’s Ann Yoshida (Women’s AS-4), Brazil’s Fellipe Lima (AS-3), Australia’s Matthew Formston (AS-VI), USA’s Nichols (Women’s AS-3), South Africa’s Smyth (AS-1) and Japan’s Kazune Uchida (Women’s AS-1).

Denmark’s Bruno Hansen - a former South African - continued his domination in the AS-4 Division, earning his fourth consecutive Gold, which makes him the sole adaptive surfer in the world with four individual world titles.

Five new champions were crowned. England’s Reid (Women’s AS-VI), Australia’s Samantha Bloom (Women’s AS-5), Canada’s Victoria Feige (Women’s AS-4), Brazil’s Henrique Saraiva (AS-2), and Colombia’s Marimon (AS-5) rose to the top of adaptive surfing for the first time in the four years of the event.

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HEAD OF THE BOARD : Ant Smyth in the water, while Borba is happy with 2nd. Photo WSL / Evans

Team Ranking

2 Brazil
3 Chile
4 Hawaii
5 France
6 Australia
7 England
8 Japan
9 South Africa
10 Canada

Individual Results

Gold – Fellipe Lima (BRA)
Silver – Jeff Munson (USA)
Bronze – Meira Duarte Va’a (HAW)
Copper – David Munk (AUS)


Gold – Bruno Hansen (DEN)
Silver – Christiaan Bailey (USA)
Bronze – Massimiliano Mattei (ITA)
Copper – Miguel Rojas (CHI)

Women AS-4

Gold – Ann Yoshida (HAW)
Silver – Sarah Bettencourt (USA)
Bronze – Suzanne Edwards (HAW)
Copper – Morgane Elvira (FRA)

Women AS-5

Gold – Samantha Bloom (AUS)
Silver – Katell Michler (FRA)
Bronze – Valentina Ponce (CHI)
Copper – Monique Aparecida (BRA)

Women AS-VI

Gold – Melisa Reid (ENG)
Silver – Ling Pai (CAN)
Bronze – Marta Jordão Paço (POR)
Copper – Carmen Garcia (ESP)


Gold – Matthew Formston (AUS)
Silver – Gwendal du Fretay (FRA)
Bronze – Elias Figue Diel (BRA)
Copper – Aitor Francesena (ESP)

Women AS-3

Gold – Alana Nichols (USA)
Silver – Meira Duarte Va’a (HAW)

Women AS-2

Gold – Victoria Feige (CAN)
Silver – Noemi Alvarez (CHI)
Bronze – Dani Burt (USA)


Gold – Henrique Saraiva (BRA)
Silver – Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart (AUS)
Bronze – Llwelyn Williams (WAL)
Copper – Masafumi Kobayashi (JPN)

Open AS-5

Gold – Freddy Marimon (COL)
Silver – Davi Teixeira (BRA)
Bronze – Samantha Bloom (AUS)
Copper – Nuno Vitorino (POR)

Women AS-1

Gold – Kazune Uchida (JPN)
Silver – Grace Anderson (RSA)
Bronze – Charlotte Banfield (ENG)
Copper – Darian Haynes (HAW)


Gold – Antony Smyth (RSA)
Silver – Jonathan Borba (BRA)
Bronze – Adi Klang (ISR)
Copper – Robson Gasperi (BRA)


0 #1 Awesome!Graham 2018-12-25 08:53
Great story & pics
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