Viaene bags SA title in J-Bay

Border star beats WP rival to waveski prize

SPECTATORS and competitors were treated to spectacular waveski surfing during the 2017 SA Waveski Championships in Jeffreys Bay over the past weekend as an East Londoner brought home gold.

PADDLE GLORY: East London’s Bruce Viaene came out of the surfing wilderness to claim the South African Waveski Championships in Jeffreys Bay last week Picture: BRUCE TRAVENOR

In a breathtaking four-man final, it was Bruce Viaene, representing Border, who got the waves and pulled off the moves he needed to claim gold in a battle against Western Province (WP).

Neal Stephenson (WP) showed great class to take second place ahead of Steph Le Roux and Gerhardus van Zyl in fourth, all from WP.

This year, Viaene picked up his paddle competitively for the first time since 2007 with the dream of competing at the Waveski SA Champs this August.

“A dream without a plan is just a wish. I never really expressed my dream to win both South African titles, other than within my close inner circle. My dream was put in place with hard work on my weaknesses and perfecting my strengths,” said Viaene after claiming the title on Saturday night.

“It still feels surreal to walk away with two titles. With such a strong field of surfers, it was really just a dream to make the Men’s Open Final, to win it. It feels incredible,” he said.

Magna Tubes proved to be the perfect break for a performance of a lifetime, where all athletes surfed to the best of their ability for three consecutive days, battling it out for a South African title.

With the goal of surfing World Champs in Spain next year, the quality of surfing proved to be brilliant entertainment for supporters, fellow competitors and judges alike, featuring excellent scoring waves resulting in top scores being dished out in the big surf.

Viaene said his hard work had paid off. “I did at least two training sessions a day; one in the water and on the waveski. Gym, swimming, building up my core and working on stabilising muscles was key if I was going to win.

“Surfing at Nahoon Reef was a great training ground, I love my local break. I also spent time with physio Penny Tarr to work on my body weaknesses because my back is prone to injury. In the end, surfing so much to the final, the fitness paid off,” said the excited Viaene.

The event kicked off last Thursday with each athlete within their division battling it out at Magna Tubes from 8am until sunset.

Surfers of all ages took to the water representing their province in their divisions; Grand Masters, Masters, Veterans, Seniors, New Age or the Kadet/Juniors.

The Open event is definitely the most popular stage of the competition, as it welcomes waveski surfers of all ages to compete for the South African Waveski Champions title, which resulted in a two days of heated surfing, ending on Saturday evening.

Due to unfavourable winds and swell at Magna Tubes, contest director Chris Jones moved the contest site to the backup venue, Kitchen Windows, for the final day of surfing. The call proved to be good, with long 2 to 3ft walls offering world- class surfing.

Border had a great championship overall, picking up a silver for Brandon Flynn (Border Waveski chairman) and Rob Smith bronze in the senior section. There were also bronze medals for Border’s Francois Roesstoff (junior/cadet division) and Jan Stevens (Grand Masters division).

Viaene and the rest of the South African team will now head off to the stunning Pantin Beach in Galicia, Spain next September and Viaene has already started planning for it.

“I am working closely with Viking Waveskis on developing a few board options. Viking has been key to my success and ultimately my two SA Titles. Now that I have been selected to represent South Africa means that I need to get the finances to get there and of course keep up my training. There is lots of work to do before I can claim a world title, and the work starts now,” added a pumped-up Viaene.

Summary of Results – SA Waveski Championships

OPEN:

1.Bruce Viaene (BDR)

2.Neal Stephenson (WP)

3.Steph Le Roux (WP)

JUNIOR/CADET:

1.Liam Kerr Smith (KZN)

2.Marcus Esterhuyse (WP)

3.Francois Roesstoff (BDR)

NEW AGE:

1.Bruce Viaene (BDR)

2.Gerhardus Van Zyl (WP)

3.Duran Martin (KZN)

SENIOR:

1.Ant Stott (KZN)

2.Brandon Flynn (BDR)

3.Rob Smith (BDR)

MASTERS:

1.Percy Louw (WP)

2.Rory Taylor (WP)

3.Neal Stephenson (WP)

GRAND MASTERS:

1.Steph Le Roux (WP)

2.Chris Jones (WP)

3.Jan Brand (BDR)

VETERANS:

1.Charl du Plessis WP

2.Danie Nel (WP)

3.Darryl Moodie (KZN)

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