23 July, 2012 23 July, 2012

New Pier to host 2012 SA Masters surfing champs

Chris Knutsen (KZN Central) is a three time World Champion and multiple SA Champion and will be one of the favourites to take out the Grand Kahunas (O50) title. Image by: ISA/Watts

2012 SA Masters Surfing Championships
A premier Surfing South Africa tournament
Primary Venue : New Pier, Durban
Alternative venue : Cave Rock, the Bluff.
Date: July 26 – 29

New Pier in Durban is the primary venue for the 2012 SA Masters Surfing Championships this week

The eighth annual South African Masters Surfing Championships will take place at Durban’s New Pier starting this Thursday with the finals in the six divisions scheduled for Sunday.

Although New Pier has been selected as the primary venue for the championships, Cave Rock on the Bluff is an alternative if conditions are suitable at this famous big wave spot.

Over 160 surfers from eight provinces are making their way to Surf City for this popular tournament which features surfers from as ‘young’ as 31 to over 60 years of age.

Border, the defending champions and five time winners of the Masters Cup, have assembled a side that looks almost unbeatable. However hosts KZN Central, who sent a small team to East London last year and finished in an uncomfortable last place, will be aiming to rectify this.

KZN Central have assembled a team that could upset the powerful Border side who have dominated this segment of South African surfing over the past five years. Other strong teams include Western Province, Zululand and Boland, all of whom have the required number of surfers in each of the divisions.

Last year’s Over 30 Division (Seniors) champion, Greg Emslie (Bor), has moved up into the Over 35 (Masters) age group where he will challenge defending champion Gary Van Wieringen (SKZN) for the title.

2011 Over 40 (Grandmasters) winner Kevin O’Brien (Bor) will be competing in the O35 Division this year and is good enough to upset the form books while Graeme Field (WP) is the pick of the rest.

With O’Brien out of the mix in the O40 group, Border trio Wayne Monk, Andre Malherbe and Gareth Sepp, all finalists in 2011 should be regarded as favourites. But Carl Roux (SKZN) and KZN Central surfers John McCarthy and Rob Moore-Boyle are New Pier locals and could upset the Border dominance.

Defending O45 (Kahuna) Champion, David Malherbe (Bor), will be aiming for his umpteenth National title this year but will come up against former World Champion Marc Wright (KZNC) and team mate Mike Burness in what looks to be an exciting division.

Multiple SA Champion, triple World Champion and defending O50 (Grandkahuna) champion, Chris Knutsen (KZNC), will get the chance to show his skills at his beloved New Pier this year. He is such a tough competitor that it seems unlikely that anyone will be able to challenge him but stranger things have happened. Knutsen’s toughest test should come from 2011 O55 (Veterans) champion Dave Fish (Bor), Bushy Greeff and Grant Read (both Zul) and Kurt Buchner (EP).

There will be a new O55 (Veterans) SA Champion this year as Dave Fish is competing in another division. Best bets here are Mike Larmont (KZNC), Jeremy Zinn (WP) and Brian Heathcote (Bor).

In the Women’s Division (O30) Heather Clark (SKZN) will defend her title against 2011 runner up Michelle Van Kempen (EP), Tasha Mentasti (Bol) and Carolyn Dent (WP). Bianca Bosman (Bor), Tarryn Adamson (KZNC) and Julia Rutherford (Zul) are the other surfers competing in this division.

The 2012 SA Masters Championships will decide seven individual champions and determine the top Provincial team. Each team member’s points will count towards the Masters Cup, which was won by Southern KZN in 2005 and 2006 and by Border in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Teams in the SA Masters Championships will gather at 7pm at the Marine Surf Lifesavers Club on Wednesday for the Opening Function at 7pm. The first rounds will get under way at 8am on Thursday July 26.

Heats are posted on www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za and each day’s results will be available from 8pm on this website.

Surfing South Africa is recognized by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) as the governing body for the sport in South Africa. Surfing South Africa is a member of the International Surfing association (ISA).

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