Bokkoms My Bru!
While most eyes were intensely focused on a huge swell up the East Coast, a group of kneelos made their way up the West Coast to the sleepy town of Lamberts Bay to contest the 2023 SA Champs. By Sean Thompson
The thing about the sport of kneel surfing is that everyone knows everyone in the game, and in this case, not only that, but the field brimmed with talent that included both current Open men and Open women’s and Grand Master World Champions, .
The 3 day event kicked off with a braai and briefing at Jackal’s Creek with KSSA committee “head honcho”, Juriaan Erwee welcoming all the contestants followed by Dillan Lowenthal, SSA’s contest director, explaining how the event will run, going through judging criteria and confirming the schedule for day 1.
Friday morning saw an early start with very tricky but contestable conditions at Yoyo’s leaving most contestants with a good dose of spaghetti arms as they battled the rip.
Saturday saw the swell arrive, rendering Yoyo’s and other spots along the stretch uncontestable. The contest was moved to the beach break between Yoyo’s and the harbour. It was a good call. The full days schedule was completed and with some big moves executed in the gnarly shore break section.
The day was followed with a raffle and braai at Jackal’s Creek where we were all treated to proper “plaas gebakte brood’, an assortment of homemade jams, braaied snoek and sweet patat.
Kneelo legend Bobby "Bobcat" Rossouw had everyone in ruptures with his comical "Whats in Bobby’s box" where various local West Coast legends were called up and given artifacts as prizes for their involvement in the surf scene. Two of the behind-the-scenes organizers were both awarded a pukka "Wes Kus Bokkom bouquet".
Finals Day on Sunday greeted us with large overhead, clean conditions at Yoyo’s with exciting surfing on show from the first wave of the day. Ladies’ world champ Linne Ash held off surfing legend Kay Holt to take the Open woman’s title. They were joined in the final by young guns, 16-year-old Emily Sweetman and Miya Furness.
There were strong performances from various kneelo s throughout the event but Grand Masters World Champ Lester Sweetman put it all together to combo his competitors, THE stylish Jedd McNeilage, big hitting Andrew Black and men’s World Champion Tom Gray in the Open Final to claim his first Open National title.
In conclusion, SA Champs was an extremely well-organized event without any glitches. The hard work put in by KSSA committee comprising Juriaan Erwee , Johan Rademan, Mike Theys , Donald Bentley in conjunction with many others certainly paid dividends and was a precursor to World Champs which are due to be held in S.A next year. Amenities which included a judge’s truck, portable toilets, sound equipment as well as a pop up restaurant were arranged. An event such as this comes at a cost and sponsors were generous in their support. The net result, another big win for Kneeboarding in this country.
Open Men – Lester Sweetman
Open Woman – Linnie Ash
Pro Junior & Cadets – Matt Bentley
Grand Masters – Lester Sweetman
Kahunas – Craig Seale
Legends & Immortals – Linnie Ash
Master’s & Seniors – Tom Gray
Veterans – David Wilsenach
Special thanks to sponsors
Woeskus - Ian Hollander
Surfzone - Gigs Celliers
PaddyPads – Paddy Leroque
Autopilot - Adam and Craig - shirts (Demi @ hatchd for the design and Craig @ Liquidink for the shirts)
Occuvision - Mike Theys - Merrypack - Ocean Eyeware
CineFX - Mickey Kirsten
Westside Kneelos - Lester Sweetman + Crew + Pia Sweetman
Brandmix Media - Brian Wood
Riverport Insurance Brokers - Juriaan
BuddyCentral - Marine
Wetsuit Warehouse - Jeremy Hare & Tyler
Reef & Island Style - Barry and Grant Stringer @ Andrew Holmes
In A Flash Photography - Anika Burger
Jackals Creek - Cornell
Ant Anderson for the fish donated
Andrew Black - Sound
Digicape - Gaenor - Tablets
Westcoast Wonders - Carol & Albert Burger
Jedi & Mike de Heer (Dust)
Mike De Heer- Logo
JiQs Leash Fix