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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Mon, 28 August 2017

The small town of Muizenberg can be proud. Rising star Brandon Benjamin has won the Mercedes-Benz SA Surfing Champs. Here's a quick wrap of an incredible six days of surfing.

An overwhelmed Benjamin of Cape Town Surfriders became the 52nd SA Men's Champion at Nahoon Reef in East London yesterday when he beat defending champ and five time SA Champ Greg Emslie of Buffalo City Surfriders in cranking 4-5' surf.

After four days of heaving storm surf at the Mercedes–Benz SA Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo City, with waves people are saying were the biggest East London has seen in 30 years, the contest moved back to Reef yesterday (after running at protected Nahoon Corner).

Consistency was key, and those who kept up the momentum prevailed. Benjamin has surfed well all week, but he had to take down the veteran local who has also been charging all week. In the end, the Capetonian came out on top by one point. It was a proud moment for the Muizenberg-based SWOT team of whom he is a member.

Earlier this year Benjamin, who is from Steenberg, represented SA at the ISA World Surfing Games in France. Emslie was Team Coach. Benjamin, 20, is one of the youngest to win the coveted title. Cody Coetsee, 19, of Ugu Surfriders was 3rd and Chris Frolich of eThekweni Surfriders was 4th.


BRAND ONE: Brandon Benjamin beat veteran Greg Emslie in the final. Photo Ian Thurtell

Emslie (Buffalo City) was considered favourite for the title with a heat average throughout the competition of above 16pts. He will, however, find solace in his Men’s O/40 win. His consistency also earned him the inaugural Dave Fish Trophy in memory of former SSA Board Member and Buffalo City Surfriders President, Dave Fish, who passed away suddenly last year.

In the corresponding Women's Open final, another favourite South African fell just short. Eight time SA Champion Heather Clark lost to Olivia Brand. Brand has not been competing regularly of late and her comeback should help her change her mind. Danica Stockigt of Buffalo City Surfriders was third and Maya Shefer - Boswell of Cape Town Surfriders took 4th.

However, Clark won the Masters division and banked a special trophy. She posted on Instagram: "Super stoked to have won the masters division and placing 2nd in the opens. I was honoured to be rewarded surfer of the contest at this years #mercedessasurfchamps. I've always wanted to get my grubby paws on this tiger trophy. Well done to everyone who competed at this years champs, it's been an amazing event."


BURNING BRIGHT: Heather Clark won the Surfer of the Contest trophy. Photo Ian Thurtell

In a show of brilliant surfing which resulted in the first 10 point ride of the event, Wayne Monk of Buffalo City added the Over 45 Division South African title to the many National titles he has won since winning the SA Championships at Nahoon Reef for the first time in 1989.

Consistency worked for Durban's Chris Knutsen, multiple world and SA champ, and he walked off with a win in the Men's Over 55. Capetonian Andre Mory was on fire in the semi-finals of the Over 50s, winning the heat, but fell short in the final. His earlier barrel (see the sequence) was pretty good for a ballie! Wily local David Malherbe, who has surfed the Reef his whole life, was just too good.

Buffalo City Surfriders won the Presidents Cup for the highest scores in the Open Divisions. eThekweni came second followed by Cape Town, Ugu, Nelson Mandela Bay, Ilembe, Eden and Cape Winelands. Buffalo City won the Masters Cup for the 12th year in a row beating Nelson Mandela Bay into second spot. Then came eThekweni, Cape Town, Ugu, Eden, Ilembe and Cape Winelands.

The inaugural Champions Cup to the Team that scores the highest combined points went to the dominant Buffalo City Team. eThekweni came second, Nelson Mandela Bay was third followed by Cape Town, Ugu, Eden, Ilembe and Cape Winelands.

sa-champs-Day-4 Ian_Thurtell_-10

FIRE RING: The surf, it was going off. Another one explodes over the ledge. Photo Ian Thurtell

The 2017 Mercedes – Benz South African Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo city is supported by Sports and Recreation South Africa and The National Lotteries commission and is produced by Accelerate Sport and hosted by Buffalo City Surfriders.

Surfing South Africa is the recognised governing body for the sport of surfing in South Africa and is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA)

Men's Open:
1st Brandon Benjamin - 15.75
2nd Greg Emslie - 14.75
3rd Cody Coetsee - 8.85
4th Llewellyn Whittaker - 5.45

Women's Open:
1st Olivia Brand - 17.25
2nd Heather Clark - 16.75
3rd Danica Stockigt - 11.35
4th Maya Shefer Boswell - 8.95

Men's Over 35:
1st Tyrell Johnson - 18.4
2nd Llewellyn Whittaker - 11.45
3rd Orrin Johnson - 10.65
4th Etienne Potgieter 10.35

Men's Over 40:
1st Greg Emslie -16.25
2nd Tristan Johnson - 15.25
3rd Justin Maisch - 8.25
4th Warwick Heny - 8.0

Men's Over 45:
1st Wayne Monk - 14.5
2nd Carl Roux - 13.75
3rd Gareth Sepp - 11.15
4th Rob Moore Boyle - 8.5

Men's Over 50:
1st David Malherbe - 18.5
2nd Daryl Adamson - 15.0
3rd Richard Heath - 12.5
4th Andre Mory - 5.0

Women's Over 30:
1st Heather Clark - 18.75
2nd Michelle Van Kempen - 12.2
3rd Lynne Mackey - 10.65
4th Tasha Mentasti - 8.05

Men's Over 55:
1st Chris Knutsen - 17.4
2nd Trevor Hansen - 14.25
3rd Andre Venter - 8.75
4th Bruce Anderson - 4.25

Men's Over 60:
1st Gordon Harmer - 14.25
2nd Jeremy Zinn - 13.25
3rd Dave Lipschitz - 5.35
4th Warren Wareing - 4.85

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