The annual Mercedes-Benz South African Surfing Championships had its opening function on Tuesday evening at the East London Golf Club where surfers from all over the country and esteemed guests enjoyed a social occasion before the competition kicked off at the Nahoon Reef on Wednesday.
The championships end with the presentation of all nine division finals on Sunday.
The 54th edition of the championships, hosted by Buffalo City Metro (BCM), is the premier event on the Surfing South Africa (SSA) calendar and features surfers in the open men’s and women’s divisions, as well seven other age groups ranging from over-30 to over-60.
Over the 54 years that organised surf contests have taken place in SA, the powerful right-handed waves that occur at Nahoon Reef have been the venue for numerous iconic South African Surfing Championships.
The championships are one of the longest-running surfing tournaments in the world and BCM has hosted more national championships than any other region in SA.
This is the third year in a row that Mercedes-Benz and BCM have partnered with SSA to showcase some of the best of South Africa’s surfing talent.
The competition will crown nine new South African champions by the end and will determine which team will win the coveted Presidents Cup, the Masters Cup and the Champions Trophy.
Leading the charge for gold medals is former World Championship Tour surfer, ISA World Masters champion, five-time SA Men’s champion and defending Over-40 division champion Greg Emslie.
He will also be competing in the premier men’s division in a bid to add a sixth title to the five that already make him one of the country’s best. surfers. in the country.
Fellow former World Tour campaigner, ISA World Masters champion, eight-time South African Open Women’s champion and defending over-30 women’s gold medallist Heather Clark will be hoping to add a ninth Open Women’s title to her resume, as well as successfully defend her over-30 title.
Six former world champions are also expected to take part and will be coming up against a number of talented surfing stars, such as defending Open Women’s champion Zoe Steyn, 15, who is an East Lonodon resident and member of the 2018 and 2019 South African surfing teams.
The Daily Dispatch reported (“Local teen champ the youngest ever in SA”, August 13 2018) that Steyn became the youngest female surfer in history to win the 2018 Open Women’s Champion title. in 2018. last year.
“The 14-year-old Merrifield College pupil was in superb form to dominate the final, beating out this year’s favourite – eight-time South African women’s surfing champion Heather Clark– as well as defending champion Olivia Brand and fellow Buffalo City Surfrider Tayla de Coning to take the title,” the article said.
“Steyn scored two monster waves in the final, with her second delivering the highest score of the day.”