South African Masters Surfing Champs
Surfing South Africa
Nahoon Reed, East London
29 - 31 July 2011
Two-time ISA World Womens Masters Champion Heather Clark shines bright
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 29 July, 2011 : - - The powerful Border team dominated the first two days of the South African Masters Surfing Championships which are being held in their home surf of Nahoon Reef in East London. The event started on small onshore conditions on Thursday with more than 140 surfers from eight provincial associations vying for individual titles in seven age categories ranging from Seniors (Over 30) to Veterans (O/55) along with the Masters Team Cup, which the host province have won for the past four years.
Todays offshore winds produced clean lined-up one metre waves that enabled the countrys top masters competitors to display their skills with several delivering scores in the excellent range of 8.0 or more out of a possible 10.
With women competing for the first time in the seven year history of event, two-time ISA World Womens Masters Champion Heather Clark, who is competing here for Southern KZN, wasted no time in showing why she is the favourite for the inaugural SA Womens Masters title by posting a score of 8.0 on the first wave she rode, going on to win the heat and advancing directly into the final.
Tasha Mentasti, the SSA Liaison & Operations Manager, gave her Boland team a boost by joining Clark in the final while the ladies finishing second and third in the two heats will fight it out for the remaining two final spots. In the Seniors, reigning SA Open Champion Greg Emslie (BOR) won his opening heat yesterday and progressed to the semifinals along with fellow heat winners Kelvin Zemke (EP) and Calvin Moore (SKZN) and their respective runners-up.
Standouts in the Masters division include Gary van Wieringen (SKZN), who earned an outstanding 8.75 out 10 for one ride today, along with WPs Steven Gadd and Graeme Field, EPs Shane Pittard and Barry Delport and Borders Justin Emslie, all of whom won their Round 3 heats today.
All four of the home teams Grand Masters won their Round 1 encounters with SA Masters team members Andre Malherbe and Wayne Monk joined by Gareth Sepp and Kevin OBrien in Round 3, along with Mark Wootton and KZN teammate Rob Moore-Boyle, another to have represented South Africa internationally.
In the Kahunas division, Borders David Malherbe and Nick Pike, both medalists at the ISA World Masters, emerged victorious from their opening match-ups and were joined in Round 3 by former Nahoon Reef kingpin Andrew Carter, now surfing for EP, and Simon Woodley from SKZN.
The biggest upset of the event to date came in the Grand Kahunas when three-time ISA Masters gold medalist and multiple SA champ Chris Knutsen was relegated to second place in his first heat by a highly motivated Warren Wazo Waring. Knutsen still moved directly into Round 3 along with the other Round 1 heat winners and runners up who included Grantley Reid (KZN), Bushy Greef (Zululand) and Martin Rennhackkamp (Boland).
In the oldest division, the Veterans, who are over 55, EPs Glen Bowles and John Elliot won their Round 1 clashes as did Borders Dave Fish and WPs Jeremy Zinn with defending champion Leonard Giles having to go through the losers round to reach Round 3.
Border, with just two team members ousted from the event to date, hold the provisional lead in the hunt for the Masters Cup team award where the final position of each surfer counts towards their teams final tally. The event runs until Sunday 31 July when the finals in all seven divisions will be run.
The results of this years championships will also be used by the SA selectors to choose the surfers who will compete in a National Trial at Nahoon Reef on Monday August 1. All 2010 SA Masters Team members who are surfing in the event will automatically be included in the trial which will be used to select the 2011 SA Masters Team for the ISA World Masters Championships that takes place in El Salvador in October.
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Robin de Kock
Masters - Surfersvillage