Iconic Jeffrey’s Bay will be the venue for this yea’rs SA Waveski Championships which takes place from Thursday, 10 August until Saturday, 12 August and the hype around the 2017 event has been building for months with the country’s top waveski surfers ready to showcase their skills on the national stage.
The lure of being able to compete in J-Bay has also re-awoken the excitement for many top competitors from the past. With the old and new coming together in what are predicted to be fantastic surfing conditions, these national championships are set to be one to be remembered.
Waveski surfing events are run and scored identically to traditional stand up surfing where contestants are judged for performing radical manoeuvres on the critical section of the wave. Riders need to work their way through multiple rounds until the eventual winners are crowned in the final.
Western Province heads into the contest with a string of surfers who are capable of bringing home the gold. Defending champion Chris Jones from Cape Town, after putting in the hard work, is as hungry as ever to retain the top step of the podium this year.
Current Western Province champion Rory Taylor has literally been ripping up the waves this season, with his current form he comes into the event as one of the hot favourites. After just missing out on the finals last year Rory, with his stylish surfing, will not be going down without a solid fight.
Cape Town’s Percy Louw is also keen to impress as he starts to regain the form that brought him the success of years gone by.
Neal Stephenson from Plettenberg Bay is no stranger to competitive surfing, he has titles in both body boarding and on a waveski and after a few years absent from the sport he makes a welcome comeback.
Stephenson was known to pioneer and land some impressive aerial manoeuvres in the past and will be eager to show the new kids on the block that he still has what it takes.
Border has a reputation for producing world class waveski surfers and once again will be sending a strong team to J-Bay. The absence of ex world champion Andre Burger will leave a bit of a gap as he prepares for the gruelling Roof of Africa motorbike enduro.
Spearheading the teams charge will be well known East London photographer Bruce Viaene who is once again firing on the waves after a few years off the waveski scene. He will be backed up by the likes of Tony Dubber and Brandon Flynn to name a few.
From the KZN team, Durbanite Duran Martin will be looking to improve on his second place finish from last year. Martin is known to pull off and land some massive moves in practice and will be doing his utmost to impress the judges with his radical surfing.
Multiple FNB Dusi winner Ant Stott, who is better known for racing canoes, has taken well to the shorter craft and peeling waves. Ant was a finalist at last year’s SA championships and will have high hopes of bringing home some silverware.
The event will be split and run in two parts, the main category and then the age group categories.
Firstly contestants will all compete together for the major SA title and a seeding, where after they will split up into their respective age groups to fight it out for their respective age group medals.
The competition at Magna Tubes is set to be fierce and J-Bay hopes to deliver some of the world class conditions that it is famous for.