Mon, 20 May 2019

After a nervous week of tests after the sewage leak in Durban, the Build for Better Adaptive Surfing Championship was held in clean 2-3’ surf at New Pier over the weekend, writes Spike.


BEACH CREW: The adaptive surfing family is becoming more and more extended Photo Dawn Rouse

It was clean 2-3' at first, and when the onshore came up, at least the water stayed clean. Six champions were crowned in six divisions, with two time gold medallist Ant Smyth winning the AS-1 category in crumbly 3-4’ onshore conditions at New Pier, vanguishing long time rival and friend JP Veaudry from East London. There were also champions in prone assist (AS-5) prone (AS-4), sit (AS-3), kneel (AS-2), stand (AS-1) and visually impaired (AS-6) divisions.

The event had been in jeopardyExcluding a host of 20 volunteers and other members of the adaptive community, 36 surfers entered the event (19 in the competition and 17 in an Expression Session for the inexperienced). The event had been in jeopardy after the City of Durban closed city beaches 10 days ago in the wake of the failure of sewage pumps that lead to a torrent of effluent gushing into the Port of Durban, which led to the cancellation of the Zigzag Surf Pro the weekend before.

“There was no way contestants would be put at risk (some of whom already have compromised immune systems),” said organiser Julia van Zyl (founder of the Made for More non-profit organisation in Durban), “in anything less than good, clean and safe conditions. Fortunately, the results went from poor, to moderate, to good; all in a matter of seven days.”


EMOTIVE: Darian Haynes cracks up with emotion after winning the AS-2 Women's. Photo Spike

A team of 20 volunteers had their hands full in the shorebreak at New Pier assisting the prone surfers. Hoots of enjoyment could be heard, particularly from young Lwazi Matanga, a young Cape Town surfer from Delft township, who was shot in the head a few years ago, which caused right-side paralysis (hemiplegia).

“C’mon! Lets go! One more! One more!” he could be heard to shout, gesticulating wildly in what can only be described as quintessential surf stoke.

There is a certain intensity of spirit and karmic resonanceEmotions are part of adaptive surfing. There is a certain intensity of spirit and karmic resonance when it comes to expressing yourself. Just ask Darian Haynes, who came all the way from Hawaii to compete. An emotional Haynes, 19, was named winner of the Women’s AS-2 division, defeating Cape Town’s Grace Anderson, who won a silver medal at the World Champs in San Diego last year.

Haynes sobbed when her win was announced, convinced that Anderson should have won. However, because Haynes is not South African, Anderson effectively won the final in terms of selection for the South African team to the world champs in San Diego later this year. Haynes has Erb’s Palsy from nerve damage to her left shoulder at birth when she was pulled out by her arm too forcefully.


TWO PRONE STOKES: First time surfer Hayley Raman catches her first wave, and it shows!

Other winners included Anton Weiseman, who absolutely ripped the finals of the AS-2 Men’s division: “Anton stunned us all with his natural, confident and attacking style,” said Van Zyl, pointing out that he had been surfing since the age of eight and was an Eastern Province surfer for many years.

He was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma in his ankle in 2000 and his leg was amputated below the knee in 2001. He has been kneeboarding ever since. He recently took part in the South African KneeBoarding Championships and came third in the open and first in master’s division. “An absolute force to be reckoned with, he is most certainly someone to look out for at World Adaptive Surfing Champions later this year,” she said.

Van Zyl was relieved that the event could go ahead: “It’s an incredible privilege for us to run this event. So much goes into preparing for an adaptive surfing event of this magnitude, from beach and vehicle permits, to contest infrastructure, coordinating volunteers and personnel, and then there are the logistics around acquiring the specialised equipment.”


SURFER: Sabel Ngema from Glenwood near Durban surfs during the AS-6 impaired vision final.

Part of the logistical task was to set up access mats for accessibility for wheelchair users on the soft sand as well as water chairs to assist them in and out of the water. They also required specific surfboards that are generally thicker and wider for surfers who lie prone and are assisted onto waves.

The level of waste that choked Durban has been directly linked to corruption chargesIt’s been a fraught few weeks for Durban. A week before the sewage disaster a massive storm dumped 300ml of rain on the city in an eight hour period. Huge floods swamped the city. There were 51 deaths, mostly from collapsing buildings, while tons of trash and debris washed down rivers into the ocean. Floodwaters turned the yacht basin into a mini-sea of garbage.

The level of waste that choked Durban has been directly linked to corruption charges brought about the axing and arrest of the Mayor, Zandile Gumede, who admitted to fixing a R200 million solid waste management tender that has led to large areas surrounding Durban becoming devoid of waste management.

According to sources, the company awarded the contract had not been fulfilling its mandate. The waste from outlying communities simply piled up, with no-one coming to clear it. When the deluge of rain fell, it was washed into Durban.


SLASH BACK: JP Veaudry shreds a clean 3 foot wall before the onshore came up.

Van Zyl was chuffed at how the event went down: “The atmosphere and support on the beach was the best, biggest and warmest we’ve ever had. We are so proud and in awe of the bravery, courage, commitment and talent of all the surfers and competitors in both the contest and the expression session.”

The expression session was held for first time and beginner surfers not ready for competition, Van Zyl explained: “When the expression session began, the crowd erupted and literally ran down to the water’s edge in celebration and support of these brave young men and women. The inexpressible and glorious joy experienced in the expression session was not of this world and something that will sit and resonate in people’s hearts for a very long time.”

Conditions at New Pier were clean and offshore for the first two heats of the event, with clean contestable 2-3’ lines coming through at New Pier. The atmosphere on the beach at New Pier was festive, with stoke levels set to froth mode. As the tide came in and the onshore picked up, it became difficult to catch waves.


ONE AND TWO: They're fierce competitors in the water, but good mates on land. Photo Dawn Rouse

ASVI Men (Blind and Visually Impaired)
1. Jared Sacks (Kommetjie, Western Cape)
2. Danito Mondlane (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal)
3. Sabelo Ngema (Glenwood, KwaZulu-Natal)
4. Erynn Geddie (Glenwood, KwaZulu-Natal)

AS5 Men (Prone assist)
1. Albert Rust (Middelburg, Mpumalanga)
2. Lwazi Matanga (Delft, Cape Town, Western Cape)

AS5 Women (Prone assist)
1. Noluthando Makalima (Khayelitsha, Cape Town, Western Cape)

AS4 Men (Prone)
1. Daniel Nel (Cape Town, Western Cape)

AS4 Women (Prone)
1. Tracy Mckay (Bluff, KwaZulu-Natal)
2. Alulutho "Lulu" Tshoba (Clernaville, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal)

AS3 Men (Sit)
1. Douglas Hendrikz (Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal)

AS2 Men (Kneel)
1. Anton Wiersma (Port Alfred, Eastern Cape)
2. Donovan Kanes (Simon’s Town, Western Cape)
3. Tyler Pike (Cape Town, Western Cape)
4. Derick Sigwebela (Chatsworth, KwaZulu-Natal)

AS1 Women (Stand)
1. Darian Haynes (Hawaii)
2. Grace Anderson (Somerset West, Western Cape)

AS1 Men (Stand)
1. Antony Smyth (Cape Town, Western Cape)
2. Jean-Paul Veaudry (East London, Eastern Cape)

Derrick Mboyisa (Muizenberg, Cape Town) – Best Wave
Thandi Muir (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal)- Most Waves
Hayley Raman (New Germany, KwaZulu-Natal)- Longest Ride
Amuri Mwanza (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal) -Biggest Wipeout
Mfundo Blose (New Germany, KwaZulu-Natal -Most Stoked
Peter Glass (Amamzintoti, KwaZulu-Natal)
David Nhlapo (Pretoria, Gauteng)
Kayden Eksteen (Newlands East, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal)
Dean Hart (Durban North, KwaZulu-Natal)
Rayaan Moodley (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal)
Guy (Oliver) Sinclair (Winston park, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal)
Krishiv Katuwaro (Howick, KwaZulu-Natal)
James Sinclair (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal)
Nelisiwe Sibiya (Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal)
Daniel Deghaye (Glenwood, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal)
Sibobgile Shosha (Khayelitsha, Cape Town, Western Cape)
Chloe Malcomess (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal)


This event would not have been possible without the many sponsors, volunteers and friends of Made for More that came on board to love, encourage and support us. Every year the support grows from strength to strength and that just speaks to the amazing community we as Adaptive Surfing South Africa have built.

Well done to everyone who is doing their bit for Adaptive Surfing around the country- you all know who you are! To Surfing South Africa’s contest director, Anne Wright.

Thank you to you, your head judge Bongani Xulu and the judging panel for a fair, smooth and brilliantly run contest. Anne, you are a legend.

To our main and naming sponsor SBS Tanks, thank you for not only contributing financially, but for contributing your time, and for getting deeply involved in the day.

We know this relationship is going to continue to grow and flourish as we BUILD FOR BETTER! A massive thank to our official sponsors and partners: SBS Tanks, Made For More, Triggerfish Animation, Surfing SA, Sports and Recreation South Africa, Jumping Kids and Community Build Durban.

Associate sponsors and friends: Hurley, Afro's, Mr Price Sport, Hurricane Surf, aQuellé, Gooderson Tropicana Hotel, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, Ocean Ventures, City Celebration and Ignition.

#adaptivesurfing #surftherapy #surf #nationals #sachamps #southafrica #durban #newpier #community #family #friendsofmadeformoresa

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