East London’s Bruce Viaene represented SA at the World Waveski Surfing Titles in Ventura, California, from November 7-13.
Viaene narrowly missed progressing to the finals, claiming third in the semifinal round of the men’s Senior Division.
Athletes from SA, Australia, Chile, France, the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain and the US took part.
More than 65 competitors from the age of 10 and upwards competed for the coveted world waveski surfing titles.
These titles included Open Men’s and Women’s, Adaptive, Mixed Gender Age, Open Tag Team and Open Women’s Tag Team.
Viaene, representing SA as the team captain, competed in the men’s Senior Division and Open Division against the world’s best waveski surfers.
He has been competing at international and national level since 2017 and cited surfing greats such as Michael Orsmond, Mathui Babarit and Tony Cherry as his sporting inspirations.
On the first day, Viaene competed in the men’s Open Division, claiming first place in his heat. On day three, he competed in the second heat of the men’s Senior Division and placed second, progressing to the semifinals.
Later during day three, he competed in round six of the men’s Open Division and placed second.
In the semifinals on day four, he earned third place in the men’s Senior Division, with a time of 7.76. Falling just short, he would have needed 8.44 to claim a higher spot and progress to the finals.
Viaene did not perform as he expected finishing ninth in the world in the Open Division and fifth in the world in the Senior Division.
Of his performance in the senior division, he said: “We had small, weak waves and an interference call [judgement by a referee] was the nail in the coffin for me and we’ll never know what could have been.
“Fifth place is far off the mark and it’s been pretty hard to digest this result. Well done to my fellow competitors who have been ripping all contest.”