Tricky Conditions make wave selection key as finalists are confirmed on day 5

The competition was once again moved to Nahoon Corner on Day 5 as the current made surfing at Nahoon Reef impossible at the 2017 Mercedes – Benz SA Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo City. Conditions at the Corner were good, but with slightly smaller and fewer quality waves on offer compared to perfect conditions the day before.

Finalists were confirmed for all divisions in the competition except for the Open Men and Women who will start day 6 off with their semi-finals.

The swell had certainly dropped over night and thus the waves were slightly smaller, but as can be seen from the scoring if you found the right waves, the scores were available.

The first Final of the day to be confirmed was the Women’s O/30, with Michelle Van Kempen (Nelson Mandela Bay) and Tasha Mentasti (Eden) joining yesterday’s two confirmed surfers Heather Clark (Ugu) and defending champion Lynne Mackey in the Final.

The men’s O/35 Final promises to be an intensely contested affair tomorrow with defending champion Llewellyn Whittaker (Eden) and Tyrell Johnson (Buffalo City) both having won all their heats so far and scoring scores of 15 and 15.1 in their semi-finals respectively. They are joined in the final by Orrin Johnson (Buffalo City) and Etienne Potgieter (Nelson Mandela Bay).

Another man to win all of his heats so far is Wayne Monk (Buffalo City) in the O/45’s division, where he is looking to add the title to the O/40 title he won in 2016. He will be hard pushed as he competes against 3 former national champions in Carl Roux (Ugu), who is also the defending champion, Gareth Sepp (Buffalo City) and Rob Moore Boyle (eThekweni).

The Men’s O/55 managed to throw up the highest heat score of the day with, 4-time national champion and current world vets champion, Chris Knutsen’s (eThekweni) 17.5pts showing he still is at the top of his game. Nelson Mandela Bay has two representatives in the final with Andre Venter and Trevor Hansen, with the final spot going to Bruce Anderson (Cape Town).

The Over 50’s division has surfers from 4 different regions battling out for the title. Andre Mory (Cape Town), Richard Heath (Cape Winelands) David Malherbe (Buffalo City) and Daryl Adamson will all be looking to make the title theirs on Sunday.

The final heats of the day were the Men’s O/40 semi-finals. Greg Emslie (Buffalo City) who is has surfed on each day of the championships due to him also defending his Open division title once again showed why he is considered the favourite for the title with two 8.5pt wave scores. His heat average throughout the competition currently sits incredibly above 16pts. He was pushed all the way in semi-final 1 by Tristan Johnson (Buffalo City) who’s 15pts also secured him a final spot. The last heat of the day proved to be far lower scoring, but equally as competitive with 1.1 separating 1st and 3rd but in the end it was Warwick Heny (Nelson Mandela Bay) and Justin Maisch (Ugu) who booked the final two spots.

The swell is expected to drop even further on Sunday with far less energy in the water meaning we can expect a return to Nahoon Reef for the final day with some great waves on offer.

The 2017 Mercedes – Benz South African Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo city is supported by Sports and Recreation South Africa and The National Lotteries commission and is produced by Accelerate Sport and hosted by Buffalo City Surfriders.

Surfing South Africa is the recognised governing body for the sport of surfing in South Africa and is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA)

Tyrell Johnson goes vertical on the way to a semi-final victory. Phto: Ian Thurtell

 

Andre Mory is congratulated on his semi-final win and passage to the final. Photo: Ian Thurtell