Torrential rain and gale force winds which hit East London at around midday on Day Four of the 2018 Mercedes – Benz South African Surfing Championships hosted by the Buffalo City Municipality, forced officials to shut down the contest after only fourteen of the twenty three scheduled heats had been run.
At the start of the day’s competition 5-6 foot waves were pouring into Nahoon Reef and it seemed that the predicted storm might well have moved on. At midday the rain started to fall and the visibility on the ocean dropped making things difficult for surfers, judges and water safety. By 12.30pm the rain was buffeting down and the wind had increased to gale force and the decision to cancel the contest for the rest of the day was inevitable.
Before the storm hit there was some top notch surfing by the Open Men’s division and the Over 40 competitors. Standout on the morning was five time SA Open Champion and defending Over 40 Division Champion Greg Emslie who blasted his way into the quarter finals of both divisions.
Joining him in the quarter finals are his 14 year old nephew Daniel and fellow Buffalo City surfers Thomas Lindhorst, Tyrell Johnson and Luke Malherbe, eThekwini’s Brandon Jackson and Chad du Toit, Liam de Villiers, Michael Monk and Richard Kidd of Ilembe, Joshe Faulkner and Kelvin Zehmke of Nelson Mandela Bay, Jordy Maree of Cape Town Surfriders and Cody Coetsee of Ugu.
Buffalo City are represented by Greg Emslie and Tristan Johnson in the Over 40 Division Quarters and will come up against Graeme Field, Ryan Kuhn and Stephen Hutchison of Cape Town Surfriders, Justin Maisch, Chad Delport and Gary Van Wieringen of Ugu, Ross Solomon and Karl Ribbink of eThekweni, Dave Pietersen of Ilembe and Warwick Heny of Nelson Mandela Bay.
Due to the early shutdown of competition on Day Four organisers will run 25 heats tomorrow (Saturday) and twenty one heats on Sunday, which is the final day of competition.
The Mercedes – Benz SA Surfing Championships is hosted by the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Surfers representing eight districts are competing for nine individual national titles as well as coveted Presidents Cup, Masters Cup and Champions Trophy at this, the 53rd edition of the SA Surfing Championships.
Saturday and Sunday’s heats will be streamed live on www.vodacom.co.za/viewplus