2011 Glacéau Vitamin Water SA Closed Waveski Champs PDF Print

Sample ImageThe 2011 Glacéau Vitamin Water SA Closed Waveski Champs finished on Saturday the 30th of April with the prizegiving and a last chance for the competitors from all along the coast of South Africa to have a drink and a chat together. Three tough days of competition in big, powerful waves were over and Reef had its way with a few unlucky waveski surfers and wove its magic over all of the competitors as the weather, setting and waves came together for a great event.

The competition began with the event briefing, AGM and social get together on Wednesday night. With a huge swell and a howling gale, there was a muted feel and talk of postponing the start until Friday. Thursday dawned and the rising sun lit big barrels whipped into perfection by the wind as it raced in from the South West and tore the tops from the waves. Sample ImageA few hardy souls paddled out to sample the pounding surf, and the decision was made to start the event with the more experienced riders. With the big sets breaking out deep on the point at well over 6 foot and the wind whistling up the face making for impossibly difficult drop-ins, the first few waveski surfers made the sensible decision to surf the smaller, more sheltered inside break, until Doug Copeland from Border paddled out and paddled straight to the point, turned and dropped recklessly into a huge blue barrel. Doug easily won his heat. From then on, the expectations of the judges were raised and some amazing rides and some mayhem ensued as riders tackled the big peaks off the point. Initial heats were run in the morning and then it was decided to postpone until the wind dropped the next day. 

Sample ImageAt the 8am briefing on Friday morning Reef was a different beast. The wind had died to a light breeze caressing the ocean surface into a glassy finish, the waves were wrapping round the rocks and peeling down the reef and the sets were pulsing from medium to large. Lampeez (EL local shaper, surfer and water cameraman) was braving the biggest waves and occasionally getting tossed like a rag doll from the lip in search of the perfect footage as part of the crew filming for SuperSport. Risk/reward was the judging criteria and some of the waveski surfers were taking it to heart with deep drops into big bowling waves providing some breath-taking rides and also some bone-shaking mishaps. Mike Cowan from Border clinched his first heat of the day easily with a mid-heat drop into a towering peak, a sharp bottom turn and a smashing aerial up through the heavy lip, landing it and then carving turn after turn almost to Mermaids Pool. 

Sample ImageAs the competition progressed and the ranks of competitors thinned, the heats got more furious and the moves bigger and more critical. Daniel Nel and Willie Graser, both from Western Province worked hard to hold the Border waveski surfers at bay, winning the Grand Masters and the Veterans respectively, while in the Ladies division Mary-Ann MacSherry from Border was surfing out of her skin to seriously worry the eventual winner, Sandra Pienaar of Eastern Province. The Border Juniors dominated, but Duran the only KZN representative put his body on the line to keep them honest, taking a long swim in the process. Tian Podges of Border was the eventual winner. In the end there was no stopping Mike Cowan at his home break as he took the Senior final, while Doug Copeland is such a top competitor and never hesitated whatever the surf threw his way, fully deserving his win of the Masters division. In the New Age division, despite Andre Burger’s absence, Border was still able to field Max Eckhoff to take the win. Nahoon Reef is the Border backyard and it was a great relief to the Border Team when the final points count showed a clear Border win. Western Province was a major threat coming in a close second.

Sample ImageThe highlight of the Prizegiving was the announcement of the SA Waveski Team to compete against the rest of the World at the 2011 World Waveski Championships in Portugal. The SA Team will be:Ruan Brand (Border Junior), Andre Burger (Border New Age), Mike Cowan (Border Senior), Ian MacLeod (Eastern Province Senior), Doug Copeland (Border Master and Team Captain), Percy Louw (Western Province Master), Gerard Wilke (Western Province Grand Master), Charl du Plessis (Western Province Grand Master), Willy Graser (Western Province Veteran) and Sandra Pienaar (Eastern Province Ladies). Jan Brand (Border) will be Team Coach and Tubby Wills (EP) will be Team Manager.It was a well run, excellent event for all of the waveskiers from Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Province, Western Province and Border and thanks must go to all of the sponsors and the organising committee for ensuring that the event was memorable and fun.

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