Over 200 surfers and officials from all corners of South Africa will be making their way to East London early next week to compete in the 2018 Mercedes – Benz South African Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo City.
This historic surfing tournament will officially get under way at with an Opening Function at the East London Surf Lifesaving Club at Nahoon Beach on Monday August 6th. The function, which begins at 7pm for 7.30pm, will see surfers, officials, guests and VIPs enjoying a social occasion before competition gets under way in earnest at Nahoon Reef from Tuesday August 7th until Sunday August 12th.
The Mercedes – Benz SA Championships hosted by Buffalo City is the premier event on the Surfing South Africa calendar and features surfers in the premier Open Men’s and Women’s Divisions as well seven other age groups ranging from Over 30 to Over 60.
Over the years Nahoon Reef has hosted numerous iconic South African Surfing Championships and in 1978 became the first of only two South African cities to host a World Surfing Championship.
During last year’s edition of the Mercedes – Benz South African Surfing Championships, hosts Buffalo City not only produced perfect waves but also included storm conditions as part of the menu. Despite the challenge of moving from Nahoon Reef to Nahoon Corner due to huge swells, there was some fine surfing across the board and the 2017 championships was a resounding success.
This year Buffalo City will play host to the 53rd edition of the South African Championships making it one of the longest running surfing tournaments in the World.
For the second year in a row Mercedes – Benz and the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality have partnered with Surfing South Africa to not only showcase South Africa’s surfing talent at the annual National Championships but will continue their support of the National Team as they prepare for Surfing’s inclusion in the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
The partnership between Surfing South Africa, Mercedes – Benz and Buffalo City, is aimed at highlighting East London’s importance as a major South African surfing venue through the presenting of the annual championships and other important initiatives.
This year over 160 surfers from eight Districts and three Provinces will be competing for nine individual South African titles, traditional trophies, medals and a R1000 cheque for each of the winners.
Leading the charge for gold medals is current World Masters Champion , five time South African Men’s Champion and defending Over 40 Division Champion Greg Emslie. Emslie was runner up in the premier Men’s Division last year and is determined to add a sixth title to the five that already make him one of the greatest South African surfers in history.
Chris Knutsen of eThekweni, a five time World Champion and four times South African Champion will be back at Nahoon Reef to defend his Over 55 Division title.
Former World Tour campaigner, ISA World Masters Champion, eight time South African Open Women’s Champion and 2017 Over 30 Women’s gold medallist Heather Clark of Ugu Surfriders,will be hoping to add at a ninth Open Women’s title and defend her Over 30 title next week.
Twenty nine current and former National Team members are competing this year while eight of the nine 2017 South African Champions will be defending their titles this year.
Adding to the pedigree in the field will be the presence of six former World Champions who will be coming up against a number of young but talented district surfing stars such as local girl Zoe Steyn and eThekwini’s Nicole Pallet. Fourteen year old Steyn became the youngest female surfer to be selected South Africa when she was selected to compete in the ISA World Games in Japan in September. Her teammates are Nicole Pallet and world ranked Bianca Buitendag, Beyrick de Vries, Adin Masencamp and David Van Zyl. The Team, which is supported by Mercedes – Benz and Buffalo City, will compete in the ISA World Surfing Games in Japan in late September.
At this year’s Championships Surfers will compete in a total of 128 heats which will take 48 hours to complete over six days.
Each surfer in every team will accrue points which will be allocated to their District totals to determine which Team will win the 45 year old Presidents Cup which involves the Open Men and Women surfers and the Masters Cup which is competed for by the surfers in the Over 30 to Over 60 Divisions.
The 2017 Presidents Cup and the Masters Cup winners were event hosts Buffalo City Surfriders and their combined points also saw them taking the inaugural Champions Cup.
Last year, the Dave Fish Trophy, which is awarded to the most consistent surfer throughout the event, went to Greg Emslie and Heather Clark was named Surfer of the Contest.
As National Women’s Day falls on Thursday August 9th next week and to celebrate South Africa’s female surfers, the South African Championships will feature only Women’s heats on that day.
All the heats as well as the Event schedule are posted on www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za . Daily updates and photos will be posted throughout the day on the Surfing SA Facebook page and results will be updated on www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za daily.
The 2018 Mercedes – Benz SA Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo City will be streamed live on Saturday and Sunday August 11th and 12th from 9am and can be viewed on any device by going to www.vodacom.co.za/viewplus
The 2018 Mercedes – Benz South African Surfing Championships are hosted by Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and supported by Sport and Recreation SA.
The event is presented by Surfing South Africa in association with the Buffalo City Surfriders and produced by Accelerate Marketing.
Surfing South Africa is the governing body for the sport in South Africa and is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the African Surfing Confederation (ASC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).