The 2018 Mercedes – Benz South African Surfing Championships hosted by the Buffalo City Municipality is celebrating National Women’s Day in perfect three to four foot surf at Nahoon Reef today.
After two days of strong winds and unruly surf, East London has produced the perfect day for the 30 women who are at the championships representing their respective districts and Contest Director Ann Wright had no hesitation in getting the third day of the contest going at 8am.
Today belongs to the female competitors at the event and the whole day will feature all the early rounds of the Open Women and Over 30 Women’s Divisions.
Today these graceful and competitive surfers will be cheered on from the side-lines by their male counterparts.
Among the competitors are South Africa’s queen of surfing Heather Clark, the defending Over 30 champion and eight time South African champion. Clark has been competing at the highest level for two decades and has made a name for herself all over the world during her career. A former professional who competed on the World Tour and an ISA world Masters Champion, Clark continues to show the way for the new generation of female surfers. Although she is the oldest competitor among the women she remains a threat in every heat she competes in and takes her wins and losses with style, class and grace. This champion surfer, who based in the St Mikes area on the KZN South Coast not only surfs every day but also makes time to coach young surfers and mentor younger competitors.
Another surfer with a long history in the sport is Tasha Mentasti. Mentasti is a former junior champion, SA Champion and National team member and continues to compete at the highest level. She is an international coaching instructor and course presenter, contest commentator and contest director, qualified surfing judge and is heavily involved in the growth of Adaptive surfing in South Africa. Her life revolves around the sport she loves and as a representative of Accelerate, Surfing South Africa’s marketing company, Mentasti lives and breathes surfing.
The youngest surfer in the Women’s divisions at this year’s Mercedes – Benz SA Surfing Championships is 13 year old Eat London local Aimee du Preez, who at the tender age of 10, began competing in national surfing events. She ended 2017 as the top ranked girl in the Under 14 Division of the South African Surf Tour and is already a tough competitor in the older age division. This is the first time that she will be competing in the Open Division at the SA Championships.
Also competing are defending Open Women’s champion Olivia Brand of eThekweni Surfriders, current National Team members Zoe Steyn of Buffalo City Surfriders and Nicole Pallet of eThekweni, who will be hoping to secure good results at Nahoon before they leave for the ISA World Surfing Games in Japan in a months’ time.
Professional Jeffreys Bay based surfers Emma Smith and Kai Woolf will be representing Nelson Mandela Bay at this event and Surfing South Africa’s Development Officer Danielle Powis has made the long journey from Cape Town by car to represent Cape Winelands at the championships.
Also competing are 2018 national junior team members Kayla Nogueira from eThekweni, Tayla de Coning from Buffalo City and former national junior team member Olivia Izzard of eThekweni.
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 drawn from three provinces have made their way to East London to compete for nine individual national titles as well as coveted Team Championships at the 53rd edition of the SA Surfing Championships.
The event runs until Sunday when the semi finals and finals will be held. The final two days of competition will be streamed live on www.vodacom.co.za/viewplus