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Muizenberg hosts SA’s first Adapative Championships
- Updated: October 18, 2016
South African Surfing is celebrating the success of the first ever South African Adaptive Surfing Championships which were held at Muizenberg on Sunday.
Competitors from all corners of South Africa were assisted and supported by over 60 volunteers and coaches in the Triggerfish Animation South African Adaptive Surfing Championships which was presented by Adaptive Surfing South Africa, the organisation that runs adaptive surfing in South Africa.
With the weather fair and surf conditions small but contestable, competitors took to the waves and produced a remarkable day of inspiring surfing.
With dedicated volunteers lending assistance and support from professional coaches, the NSRI and local lifeguards, the competitors in the five divisions were able to show what they could do on the small Muizenberg waves.
Enthusiastic beach support from family, friends and spectators as well as the holding of a surf clinic for individuals with physical challenges who were able to surf a wave for the first time, made the day particularly special.
In the SA Championships itself, surfers in the five divisions were assessed on their performances in two heats by a panel of accredited Surfing South Africa judges. The outcome of each division was decided by the combined scores achieved by the surfers.
With medals for each of the finalists as well as a Surfer of the Contest Award and prizes donated by Reef Wetsuits up for grabs competitors gave it their all. Fine performances by 2015 SA Team members, Dries Millard of Saldanha Bay, who posted a total score of 78,1 points and Antony Smyth of Hout Bay, who racked up 71,50 points, earned them both South African titles and gold medals but it was not enough for either of them to take the Surfer of the Contest Award. This honour went to Caleb Swanepoel of Rondebosch who posted two 10-point rides in the event and scored a total of 93,5 points to take the Surfer of the Contest Trophy.
Millard took gold in the Prone Division with Daniel Nel of Parow of taking silver and Ian Kolevsohn of Cape Town going home with a bronze medal. Antony Smyth, a silver medalist at the 2015 ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championships, won the SA Stand Up 1 Title ahead of JP Veaudry of East London, his teammate in San Diego last year. James Orbin of Richards Bay took third place and the bronze medal.
Leslie Lee of Port Elizabeth, the only woman in the event, not only came second to Swanepoel in the Stand Up 1 Division but also won the Stoked Surfer of the Contest Award. Anton Raimondo of Cape Town was third and earned a bronze medal, while Tyler Pike of Kirstenhof took fourth sport and was awarded the copper medal.
In the Assist Division the result was close with only seven points separating first and third place. In the end Albert Rust of Ermelo posted 59,4 and edged Ashtan Davids of Muizenberg into second place. Davids scored 52,6 points, a mere 0.1 of a point ahead of Graham Humphries of Claremont who had to settle for bronze.
Blind surfers Erryn Geddie of Glenwood and Danito Mondlane of Durban also competed, in their own division. Both of these KZN surfers made the trip to the event having worked hard on their surfing with Adapted Surfing South Africa board member Wes Smith. Smith, Danito’s dad, Leon Van Zyl, as well as Janine Prinsloo and Harry Dreyer, were all part of the stoked KZN group that made the trip to this historical event.
After two rounds of competition Geddie posted 59,3 points to take victory and Mondlane scored 38,1 for the silver medal.
The 2016 South Africa Adaptive Surfing Championships was sponsored by Triggerfish Animation Studios and supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa, Hawk62, Reef Wetsuits, Surf Emporium and GoPro.
Picture of Sunday’s finalists courtesy of Sandy Coffey