South Africa Finishes 10th With One Medal at ISA World Surfing Games

The South African surfing team finished 10th out of the 47 nations that attended the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games that ended at Biarritz in France on Sunday with team captain Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay) earning the copper medal for fourth place in the final of the women’s event.

France, the hosts for the annual event dubbed the ‘Olympics of Surfing’, won the team gold medal, securing the coveted title for the first time in the storied 53 year history of the event. Portugal took the silver medal for the third year in succession with Spain claiming the bronze and outsiders Mexico earning their first team medal with the copper.

Mexico’s Jhony Corzo, 18, contributed substantially to his team’s success by winning the men’s gold medal, finishing ahead of Joan Duru (FRA), former ISA world champion Pedro Henrique (POR) and Jonathan Gonzalez (ESP).

The ISA Aloha Cup relay event saw France earn another gold medal when their squad of four men and one woman outpointed Portugal, Peru and the USA, who finished in that order in the event contested by the top eight national teams at the 2016 World Surfing Games in Costa Rica.

France’s Pauline Ado and Johanne Defay got their team off to a great start when they secured the gold and silver medals respectively in the women’s event which was wrapped up on Monday. The bronze medal went to Leilani McGonagle (CRC) with Buitendag earning the copper for South Africa.

The South African team, managed by Isaac February and coached by Greg Emslie, started the event well with all four men and both women progressing directly from their Round 1 heats to Round 2, avoiding the cutthroat repercharge round.

Tanika Hoffman (Sea Point) among the women and David van Zyl (Glenashley) in the men’s event were eliminated in Round 2, with vice-captain Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay), Brandon Benjamin (Steenberg) and Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) all failing to advance from their Round 3 encounters.

2017 ISA World Surfing Games (Biarritz, France)


National Team Totals

  1. France, 4275 – Gold
  2. Portugal, 2850 – Silver
  3. Spain, 2560 – Bronze 
  4. Mexico, 2455 – Copper
  5. Japan, 2395
  6. Peru, 2193
  7. USA, 2158
  8. Brazil, 2120
  9. Costa Rica, 2113
  10.  South Africa, 1965
  11. Tahiti, 1960
  12. Australia, 1880
  13. England, 1833
  14. New Zealand, 1781
  15. Morocco, 1731

Men’s Event

Gold – Jhony Corzo (MEX)

Silver – Joan Duru (FRA)

Bronze – Pedro Henrique (POR)

Copper – Jonathan Gonzalez (ESP)


South Africans:

Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) – 33rd

Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) – 33rd

Brandon Benjamin (Steenberg) – 49th

David van Zyl (Glenashley) – 65th


Women’s Event

Gold – Pauline Ado (FRA)

Silver – Johanne Defay (FRA)

Bronze – Leilani McGonagle (CRC)

Copper – Bianca Buitendag (RSA, Victoria Bay)

South Africans:

Tanika Hoffman (Sea Point) – 46th


ISA Aloha Cup

Gold – France

Silver – Portugal

Bronze – Peru

Copper – USA


See full results, images, videos, news and more at and at

The South African team is supported by Mercedes Benz South Africa, Buffalo City Municipality, the National Lotteries Commission and Sport and Recreation South Africa. Travel arrangements were made by All Aboard Travel.

: Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay, far left) celebrates winning the copper medal on the podium of the women’s event at the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games in France
Photo: ISA / Reed