12 April, 2017 12 April, 2017

9Miles Project 4th Annual Surf Challenge & Family Day 2017

9Miles Project is a community based non-profit organisation that provides holistic support to impoverished and high-risk youth from the surrounding coastal informal settlements and communities in Strandfontein. This is achieved through teaching surfing, supplementary academic support, life skills and leadership training, amongst many other activities and events.

This past weekend 9Miles had their annual surf challenge and family. See what went down below:

“A list of gushing adjectives were used by attendees to describe the 9miles Project’s 4th Annual Surf Challenge & Family day. Held at Strandfontein Beach on 8 & 9 April, the 2-day event was bigger and better than ever.

Day 1 dawned with light winds and sunshine and loads of excited surfers, families, supporters, partners, and sponsors arriving to register and set up for activities. All the surfers received a bag with the new Zigzag and a competitors t-shirt sponsored by Surfing SA & Share the Stoke SA. In addition to the Surf Challenge, there were many of other family-friendly activities on offer at the Pavilion which included free kayak, SUP and surf lessons brought to you by Stoked Surf School. There were sandcastle challenges, treasure hunts, beach soccer, volleyball and a skate jam – and let’s not forget the great food trucks and stalls.

There were various divisions on offer. Masters (with the likes of Cass Collier), Open Men, Open Ladies and Under 20 Boys. An exciting new addition was the introduction of development surfers from various surf outreach projects across South Africa coming to check in for the “Share the Stoke SA – 9Miles Project Academy Cup”.

The sun was out, music pumping in the background, the surfers being refreshed by Red Bull Energy Drinks, the beach filled with family members and spectators and surfers catching as many waves as possible to put points on the board – all under the watchful eyes of the NSRI Strandfontein Crew.

Free surf lessons were underway just metres away from the Surf Challenge which saw both young and ‘not so young’ taking on their own ‘challenge’ of catching their first wave. The more seasoned surfers were charged and as excited as always to participate in an event which has become a highlight on the calendar for many from the surrounding areas.

The surf was punchy from the ground swell that week with some good sections and bowls for the surfers to rank up high scores. Many advanced well through the rounds but those who didn’t still experienced the 9miles spirit.

“Although I lost in my heat, I never felt bummed or wanted to leave the competition,” Kwezi-Anderson Qika remarked. “The love and atmosphere here makes everybody feel like winners, like a big family stoked to support each other.”

It was sweet seeing the Masters division in action and supporting the older guys was an honour for many since they paved the way for the upcoming youth.The Academy Cup surfers were well supported, with their proud families cheering them on wave after wave. Another priceless moment for them was having Matt Bromley, 9Miles Goodwill Ambassador, encouraging them and imparting great advice. They were stoked to have a professional surfer invest in them.

The heats ended at 2pm when everyone headed over to the Pavilion Amphitheatre to enjoy the exciting new addition to the event – the Acoustic Sunset sessions – which showcased several local acts like musicians, artists, hip hop dancers and the Jungle theatre. Spectators were enthralled and thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment.

Day 2 of the Surf Challenge started off a bit dark and grey but the wind swung and created some amazing conditions. The offshore wind created quite a buzz in the competition area. Once the finals were completed everyone gathered at the Pavilion Amphitheatre for the Prize giving and special awards.

Prizes included items generously sponsored by Scarfini Fins, Billabong, Reef Wetsuits and Sport Unlimited as well as wooden trophies sponsored by Kingdom Longboards. Some amazing Firewire Surfboards were also donated by Rory Heard from Share the Stoke Foundation SA for Academy Cup Boys & Girls winners and for the Most Improved Surfer in the Academy Cup.

The weekend came to an end with another acoustic sunset session, again showcasing amazing local artists like Frank Paco and Spencer Mbadu. To echo the sentiments of the spectators and participants, the weekend was truly epic and amazing, one which will surely become a highlight on not only the surfing calendar, but within the community of Strandfontein and surrounding areas.

The following winners were awarded prizes in their respective categories:
1 – Cass Collier
2 – Faizel Diedericks
3 – Mark Price
4 – Rhomeez Petersen

Open Ladies
1 – Robyn Dodd
2 – Caitlin October
3 – Casey Mussel
4 – Chelsea Mussel

Open Men’s
1 – David Solomon
2 – Ben De Castro
3 – Simpiwe Tokoms
4 – Gasan Lukie

Under 20 Boys (Academy Cup)
1 – Gabriel Fernandes
2 – Ntando Alex
3 – Simakele Rooi
4 – Isaac Van Zyl

Academy Cup – Girls
1 – Cassidy Mussel
2 – Shakira Fisher
3 – Meshka Hermanus
4 – Shanice Fortune
5 – Clio-Jessica Smith

Academy Cup – Boys
1 – Nathan Perris
2 – Faieq Samodien
3 – Siyamthanda Makanda
4 – Elrico Meyer

Academy Cup Awards
Most Stoked – Ntando Alex
Most Committed – Isaac Van Zyl
Most Improved – FaieqSamodien

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