Mon, 26 August 2019

The backhand attack of Joshe Faulkner and Zoe Steyn saw them to the Open titles at the Mercedes–Benz SA Champs yesterday after a stellar run of cranking surf at Nahoon Reef.


EASTERN CAPE RULES: Zoe Steyn (East London) and Joshe Faulkner (JBay). Photo Pierre de Villiers

Jeffreys Bay local Faulkner became the 54th South African Open Men’s Champion and local girl Zoe Steyn repeated her 2018 victory to win the Open Women’s Division Championship in 4-5ft surf at the fully titled Mercedes–Benz SA Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo City Municipality.

This is the third win in three years by goofy footersSteyn, who was representing a dominant Buffalo City Surfriders, was awarded the Dave Fish Trophy for being the most consistent surfer at the event. Faulkner represented South Africa at the 2015 ISA World Junior Championships in Ecuador where he took second in the U16 Division. In 2015, he won the Under 20 Division at the SA Champs in Richards Bay. This is the third win in three years by goofy footers. In 2017, Brandon Benjamin won and last year year it went to another Cape Town goofy footer, Jordy Maree. Steyn is also backhand at Nahoon Reef.

Runner up in the Open Men's Final, Tyrell Johnson of Buffalo City Surfriders, made a massive impression throughout the contest. Although he did not win the Men’s title he was awarded Surfer of the Contest for his overall efforts, including the Over 35 division. Teammate Bryce du Preez took third. Buffalo had multiple winners: Dave Malherbe (Over 50), Nick Pike (o55), Gordon Harmer (o60), Tyrell Johnson (o35), Greg Emslie (o40) and Steyn (open women).


LOCAL IS LEKKER: Steyn knows Nahoon like the back of her hand. Get it? Photo Pierre de Villiers

The victory underlines the reason for Steyn's inclusion in the SA team that travels to Japan in 10 days for the ISA World Surfing Games, an Olympic qualifying event.

The legendary Heather Clark of Ugu Surfriders took second in the Open Women's division for the third year running. Clark is a former WSL Championship tour surfer, a former World Masters Champion and an eight time South African Open Women’s Champion. She won her first South African Championship title at Nahoon Reef in 1989. Sophie Bell of eThekweni Surfriders took third while Buffalo City surfer Adriel Wolmarans was fourth.

In the Over 35 Men’s Division, Johnson made up for a technical error that cost him this title last year to beat Buffalo City teammate Devyn Mattheys into second place. Jacques Antoine of Cape Town Surfriders was third and Orrin Johnson of Buffalo City took fourth.


BACK TO THE FUTURE: Josh Faulkner backs up his score in kiff Nahoon Reef. Photo Pierre de Villiers

The Over 30 SA Women’s title was won for the third successive year by Heather Clark, while Tasha Mentasti of Cape Town Surfriders repeated her 2018 runner up spot. Michelle Van Kempen of Nelson Mandela Bay was third again and Cindy Anderson of Buffalo City took fourth.

Emslie added a fourth Over 40 title to his list of achievements with a dominating performance in this final. Warwick Heny of Nelson Mandela Bay was second, and Emslie’s Buffalo City team mates, Tristan Johnson and Graeme Field were third and fourth respectively.

An elated Gary Van Wieringen of Ugu Surfriders won the Over 45 Division when he narrowly beat the defending champion Wayne Monk of Buffalo City into second place. Pieter Ben Van Rhijn of Nelson Mandela Bay was third and Kevin O Brien of Buffalo City took fourth.


CLARK FOAMIE: Heather Clark is still putting it down after a stellar career. Photo Pierre de Villiers

Adding to Buffalo City’s list of successes at the 2019 SA Champs was a victory for Malherbe in the Over 50 Division where he beat 2018 winner and Buffalo City teammate Gareth Sepp into second. David’s brother, Andre, took third and Sean Jerram of Cape Town Surfriders was fourth.

Nahoon Reef local Pike added another gold medal to the Buffalo City haul when he won the Over 55 title for the second time. Pike beat Buffalo City stalwart Mike Brent into second place with Reg Horne of eThekweni taking third ahead of Andre Venter of Nelson Mandela Bay.

In the Over 60 Final, Harmer of Buffalo City pulled out all the stops to beat Warren Wareing of Ugu Surfiders, Bruce Anderson of Cape Town Surfriders and David Lipschitz of Nelson Mandela Bay. Winners took home coveted Surfing South Africa floating trophies, gold medals and R750 in cash.

The Buffalo City Surfriders team retained the 47-year-old Presidents Cup for the highest scores in the Open Divisions. Nelson Mandela Bay took second, followed by iLembe Surfriders, Ugu Surfriders, Cape Town Surfriders, the Rising Stars and eThekweni Surfriders. Buffalo City won the Masters Cup for the 14th year in a row, beating Nelson Mandela Bay, Ugu, iLembe, Cape Town and eThekweni.


TROPHY HUNTERS: It will take some doing to overcome this talented bunch. Photo Pierre de Villiers

The Champions Cup, which is presented to the team that scores the highest combined points, went to the dominant Buffalo City Team. Nelson Mandela Bay took second, iLembe were third followed by Ugu, Cape Town, eThekweni and the Rising Stars.

This was the 54th edition of the South African Surfing Championships. Four of the five days of competition were held at Nahoon Reef and one day was held at Nahoon Corner courtesy of some huge surf that hit East London midweek. Over 120 surfers representing seven teams competed in the event, which is supported by Sport and Recreation SA.

At the Award Ceremony Mercedes-Benz South Africa was represented Mr. Abey Kgotle and Ms Thembeka Sigabi and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality was represented by Mr. Manelisi Lwana. Surfing South Africa President Johnny Bakker, Vice President Bongani Xulu, Deputy President Bruce Anderson and Board Members Alvin Mtatshi, Ann Wright and Shirley Fairall were also present.

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