7 August, 2015 7 August, 2015

Swell Steps Up for Masters at SA Champs (Day 4)

It was the best day of surf yet at the 2015 Citroen SA Surfing Champs. Although the swell direction made wave selection tricky, conditions were a lot bigger than the rest of the week and were being groomed by a gentle offshore – setting the stage for the Masters division who filled the schedule on Day 4.

wayne monk - dave s
Wayne Monk enjoyed the step up in size and advanced through Round 1 of the Over 40’s.

The atmosphere on the beach was also standout. The Masters enjoyed a great reception with plenty of cheers and good spirits flooding Alkanstrand throughout the day. Top performances are too many to mention but multiple World Masters champion, Chris Knutsen’s 9.3 and 8.5 scoring heat – which took the wave of the day – had to be the best surfing seen on day four. Once again we caught up with some of the competitors to get their thoughts on the day and event thus far.

CHRIS KNUTSEN – I surfed in the over 50 Men’s category today and it was my first heat of the event. I haven’t been up this way in a long time, but it’s quite an interesting beach break. There are some really good waves out there if you can find the right one, and I managed to win my heat by getting two pretty decent scores. So I’m happy about the start and I hope it can continue. It’s also really nice that the Open SA’s are combined with the Masters this year. It definitely makes it more interesting and I think watching better surfing from the younger guys pushes the older guys a lot harder in their heats.

chris k - dave s
Chris Knutsen took wave of the day with a 9.3 scoring ride.

JOHN CAWOOD – I’m the official media guy but I also surfed in the Over 35’s and came fifth yesterday, so today I surfed the repo’s but got knocked out. It was a close one though, I only needed like a 3.3 to make it but I didn’t get there. The conditions today have been the best of the week, it could get better though. The swell direction needs to change and get more into the pier, it was a little too south today. We’re trying to run as many heats as possible now because it’s going to be east tomorrow. We had Ray Harris from Uthungulu Surfriders in the Over 60 division riding his first ever heat at SA Champs and he won. The guys made a tunnel for him as he was walking up the beach and that was a really cool moment.

ray - lenard
Ray Harris exits the tunnel of stoke after winning his first heat in the Over 60 division.

MIKE FREW – I managed to win my heat in the first round of Over 40’s earlier today. I’m part of the uThungulu team which is the host province, and we’re really stoked with how the event is going. The first three days were really disappointing in terms of wave quality, so it was great to have some swell today to showcase a little bit of the surf that Richards Bay can offer. This is the first time in 50 years that the event has been held in Richards Bay, we had Citroen getting involved this year through a local guy, Kenneth Hodsen, and through that involvement we were able to put on an event of this nature. The standout for me today was Chris Knutsen, who is a multiple World Masters surfing champ, and he scored a 9.33 and an 8.5 during his heat – which was by far the highest heat score of the day. Another guy who really impressed me was Manfred Adrio who was surfing in the Over 35 Men’s division, and Calvin Moore from the south coast definitely stood out in terms of progressive manoeuvres. Other than today, Ntando Msibi has really stood out to me. He was boosting airs in his semi final yesterday and won that hands down. I think he’ll be a big threat in the Under 20 Boys division.

mike frew - dave s
Mike Frew slamming it on his backhand in Round 1 of the Over 40’s.

ANDREW PREEN – I’m surfing in the Grand Kahunas which is the 45 – 50 year-old division. The conditions today have been somewhat frustrating because the waves have been shutting down pretty quick, but guys have been putting in good performances. I’m through to Round 3 now and it’s just been great fun hey, really nice to be here. The standard of surfing has just been super high all round, I mean there’s numerous past world champions, Springbok surfers and SA Champs in all different categories so everybody’s been shining. As for the rest of the event, ironically it’s probably the first time ever that I’m hoping for some onshore to come up. I think that will give it a few more edges rather than just coming in clean and shutting down.

calvin moore- dave s
Calvin Moore was impressing the crowd and judges with progressive surfing in Round 2 of the Over 35 Men’s division.

Read the official press release from Day 4 of the 2015 Citroen SA Surfing Champs below. You can also follow the action on surfingsouthafrica.co.zaTwitter and Facebook to keep updated.


A good day of surfing at the Citroën SA Surfing Champs
by John Cawood

It was a big day of surfing at the Citroën SA Surfing Champs in more ways than one. It was a long day, with 25 heats running solidly from 8am till just after 5pm. It was the day with the biggest and best waves so far with 3-4 foot clean offshore winds and it was a day with a great festive atmosphere on the beach with many supporters visiting the beach even on a work day.

The surf was the star of the day, mostly for pitching up eventually and although a bit too South for the occasion it offered more than enough for the Masters surfers to display their talent.

The programme consisted entirely of Masters (Ballies) surfing with Round 1 and Round 2 action in all of the Divisions. Those placing in the top positions in Round 1 advanced directly to Round 3 and the bottom placings of each Round 1 got a second chance in Round 2. Winning your heat or in some cases coming second in Round 2 means you get to join Round 1 winners in Round 3. Round 3 action will take place tomorrow (Day 5) in another day of Masters action.

In a day with so many highs and top class it is difficult to single out standout performances. Chris Knutsen (Eth) surfing in the O/55 men top scored with a 9 point something ride to earn today’s Freedom Surf trophy presented at the multi-sports club. Bush Greeff (uTh) also scored a 9 pointer in the final heat of the day. Local favourite Fred le Roux fought his way out of two round 2 heats to advance in both divisions. The O/50 heat of Robin Lavery (uTh), Andre Venter (NMD) and Robin Bisset (Ugu) had the crowds and commentators going crazy as they traded blow for blow in cooking waves.

In the inaugural heat of the O/60 Division it was another local Ray Harris who won his first ever SA Champs heat in only his third ever heat of competition. It was an emotional moment when his team mates created a tunnel for him to walk through when he left the water.

The Citroën SA Surfing Champs is supported by Sport and Recreation SA, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Reef Wetsuits. Zigzag, the  Zululand Observer, the uMhlatuze Community Tourism Organisation, the City of uMhlatuze and Monster Energy. The week long event, being held at Alkantstrand Beach, Richards Bay, will conclude on Sunday 9 August.

Heats, contest schedule and photos for the event are updated each day websites and social media. Follow us on social media at #sasurfingchamps #citroensa #c4cactus #citroenrb for results and images as they happen at facebook.com/zulusurfriders and twitter.com/zulusurfriders. The event partner websites for more info and articles are www.zulusurfriders.co.za, www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za or www.zululandobserver.co.za


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