Not in a million years! – is what some may have thought of the chance for the Southern KZN team to clinch the 2013 Cool Shoe SA Surfing Champs title in small waves at New Pier. After all, they’d never won the title before, and coming from a coastline that boasts incredibly consistent waves – they’re not perceived to be small wave shredders.
Well, ‘not in 48 years’ would have been more accurate, as the South Coast power-mongers clinched the President’s Trophy by one of the smallest margins in the 48-year history of the event – ahead of last year’s winners Western Province and the hosts Central KZN.
Scottburgh shredder Casey Grant’s repeat victory in the Open Men’s division collected the most points for the new champs, as he out-scored ISA World Masters Champion Greg Emslie in the final. Casey’s team-mate Klee Strachan also racked up the points for SKZN by finishing in third, ahead of Western Province’s Matt Bromley in fourth.
In the Open Women’s division former Dream Tour surfer Nikita Robb clinched both the gold medal, as well as the ‘Surfer of the Contest’ award for dominating the event from start to finish. Nikita was challenged by multiple-time World Masters champ Heather Clark, local ripper Lynne Mackey (KZNC) and Western Province’s Tanika Hoffman, who finished second to fourth respectively.
In the Under 20 Girls’ division J-Bay’s Emma Smith claimed the title ahead of New Pier ripper Nicole Pallet (KZNC), and both were chased by SA Junior Team members Anoush Zakarian and Chanelle Botha, who finished in third and fourth.
Michael February was another to retain their SA Champs title as he out-pointed another New Pier local David Van Zyl, who finished second. Mikey and Davey were followed closely by SA Junior team captain Dylan Lightfoot, with Western Province’s Max Armstrong finishing in fourth.
Besides the provincial titles up for grabs, the Prime Trials to decide the two remaining wildcard spots for the 6-Star Prime Mr Price Pro were also contested during the event. Slade Prestwich grabbed one by ripping his way to victory, while J-Bay’s Dylan Lightfoot snatched the other by finishing second. Both will look to gain maximum points towards their goals of Dream Tour qualification by surfing to victory in Ballito.
Here’s some highlights of that showdown shot by Western Province team member Neil Zietsman, and edited by event commentator Captain Kai:
Check out the official press release below.
SOUTHERN KZN CLINCH HISTORIC VICTORY AT COOL SHOE SOUTH AFRICAN SURFING CHAMPS
New Pier, Durban (Sunday 30 June 2013) – The Southern KwaZulu-Natal (SKZN) surfing team made history today when they clinched the coveted President’s Cup by winning the team title at the Cool Shoe South African Surfing Championships for the first time in the 48 year history of the event.
The closest finish to the team event in the modern era saw SKZN finish just 26 points ahead of 2012 champions Western Province with host province KwaZulu-Natal Central (KZNC) taking third place 112 points further back and 2011 champions Border in fourth spot.
In the individual SA titles, Casey Grant (SKZN) successfully defended his Men’s crown, Nikita Robb (Border) won the Women’s division for the third successive year and was also named the Surfer of the Contest, while Mikey February (WP) reclaimed the U20 Boys’ title he won last year, with Emma Smith (EP) crowned the U20 Girls’ champion for the first time.
The organisers decision to start the final day’s proceedings 30 minutes earlier than the preceding three days paid off when the very contestable one metre surf faded as the tide went out with virtually no waves coming through in the last 10 minutes of the men’s final.
Casey Grant contributed a massive 4,000 points to his team’s winning total by holding off the challenge of the vastly experienced ISA World Masters champion Greg Emslie (Border). Using a powerful array of carving manoeuvres, Grant posted a title-winning total of 13.25 out of 20 early in the final leaving Emslie, third placed Klee Strachan (SKZN) and fourth placed Matt Bromley (WP) scratching for waves with any scoring potential as time ran out.
Former WCT campaigner Nikita Robb dominated every heat she contested during the event, including the final, and finished well ahead of runner-up Heather Clark (SKZN), the 42 year-old former two-time ISA World Women’s Masters champion. Lynne Mackey (KZNC) collected the bronze medal for third place in her first final at a nationally rated event and Tanika Hoffman (WP) earned the copper medal.
Mikey February, a member of the SA Senior team that won the team title at the ISA World Surfing Games in Panama in April, racked up a heat total of 16.75 points in the U20 Boys’ final, the highest recorded on the last day. The lanky Capetonian finished well ahead of SA Junior team members David van Zyl (KZNC), Dylan Lightfoot (EP) and Max Armstrong (WP) who placed second to fourth respectively.
Emma Smith was a deserved winner of the U20 Girl’s title when she convincingly outscored Nicole Pallet (KZNC), Anoush Zakarian (Boland) and Chanelle Botha (SKZN) who finished in that order.
The awards ceremony held on the beach at New Pier in Durban after the event saw the finalists in each division receiving gold, silver, bronze and copper medals with Nikita Robb named the Surfer of the Contest and Southern KwaZulu-Natal collecting the coveted President’s Cup.
1. Southern KZN – 22,856 pts
2. Western Province – 22,830 pts
3. KZN Central – 22,718 pts
4. Border – 21,266pts
5. Eastern Province – 20,836 pts
6. Boland – 17,170 pts
7. Zululand – 15,652 pts
8. Southern Cape – 13,790 pts
1. Casey Grant (SKZN) – 13.25
2. Greg Emslie (Border) – 10.30
3. Klee Strachan (SKZN) – 8.35
4. Matt Bromley (WP) – 7.85
1. Nikita Robb (Border) – 15.25
2. Heather Cark (SKZN) – 11.75
3. Lynne Mackey (KZNC) – 6.80
4. Tanika Hoffman (WP) – 4.75
1. Michael February (WP) – 16.75
2. David van Zyl (KZNC) – 11.0
3. Dylan Lightfoot (EP) – 8.10
4. Max Armstrong (WP) – 7.75
1. Emma Smith (EP) – 13.50
2. Nicole Pallet (KZNC) – 9.45
3. Anoush Zakarian (Bol) – 6.10
4. Chanelle Botha (SKZN) – 2.95
All the results from the event can be found at www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za.