6 August, 2015 6 August, 2015

Birthday Celebrations and Upsets In Richards Bay

It was a day for double celebrations for one birthday boy in particular, while some title favourites and contenders were left disappointed after being eliminated on Day 3 the Citroen SA Surfing Champs in Richards Bay.

Hands up for the birthday boy. Ntando shredded his way to the Under 20 Boys final.

Ntando Msibi celebrated his eighteenth birthday in style by making it through to the finals of the Under 20 Boys division, while four-time SA Champ, Nikita Robb, was knocked out of contention in one of the upsets of the day.

Along with Ntando’s performance, some of the other standouts from Day 3 in tough, small conditions came from; Muizies local Brandon Benjamin, who’ll be joining Ntando in the Under 20 Boys final; as well as Nicole Pallet, who laid down the highest scoring ride of the day (8.33); Greg Emslie, meanwhile, showed why he’s a former CT surfer and SA Champ by ripping through his heat.

We caught up with some of the competitors and commentators in Richards Bay to see what they had to say about Day 3, the competition thus far and the days to come:

GREG EMSLIE – “Overall it was a bit of a tough day in the small surf, but it was still very contestable. For me the best surfing I saw today was probably by Nicole Pallet. We’re hoping for better surf tomorrow and through the rest of the contest because it has been pretty tough out there. Personally I was happy with my contest surfing today. Both my heats went well and I managed to get some decent scores, so I was happy with that. But definitely looking forward to a bit bigger surf and a bit more consistency out there.”

Greg Emslie making the most of the small conditions.

FAYE ZOETMULDER– “Conditions were actually a lot better today. There was a bit of an offshore and a fun little left, so my heat went really well. I’m very stoked that I’m through to the semi finals. I’ve got a two day break now, so we’re just going to be supporting on the beach until we surf our semis on Saturday.”

Faye ripped on one of the better running lefts of the day during her ladies quarter final.

CRAIG JOHNSON – “Today was one of those difficult days because the wind was kind of cross-onshore and cross-offshore – it was changing all the time and the long lulls didn’t help either. You had to really have your finger on the pulse out there. I surfed my quarter final Men’s heat today, which was pretty difficult after being sick in bed on meds the whole day. I managed to win my heat after picking up two or three nice little left-handers. A lot of the guys were scratching because of the small size today, so I think having surfed Muizies so much helped me a lot because it was basically like onshore Muizies out there. I’m super happy to advance today because it’s a long way to drive from Cape Town to Richards Bay not to make it to the third or fourth day of the event at least.”

Craig out of bed and ready to rip.

BRANDON BENJAMIN – “The waves today were a lot like where I come from [Muizenberg], so it was basically like going out there and doing what I do everyday, I didn’t need to change anything. I won my quarter final heat [Under 20 Boys] and had Richard Kidd and Devon Whitehead in the Semis, where I scored a 7 and a 6-something and managed to win that. Richard had an interference so it was kind of hard for him to make it, so ja, Devon made it through as well.”

Brandon styling his way through to the Under 20 Boys finals.

KAI LINDER – Conditions were tricky on Day 3, but still totally contestable as things started out offshore. We saw Nicole Pallet score an 8 point ride, so that will definitely be a contender for wave of the day. Finishing off the day watching Ntando Msibi on his 18th birthday absolutely ripping the beans out of his Under 20 Boys semi final was awesome. So some great surfing, great results and we’re looking forward to tomorrow, which hopefully brings with it a little bit more swell and a bit more offshore as well. Brandon Benjamin was another standout for me today in the Under 20’s. The Masters also got in the water today and it was great to see guys like Brad Sorour, who hasn’t surfed competitively in South Africa for like 10 or 15 years. He pitched up for Nelson Mandela Bay and won his heat, so it was good to see some of the older boys ripping as well. All the older guys are stoked too I’m sure, because they get the day of the week tomorrow.

Luke Malherbe was killing it but was unfortunate to get knocked out of the Under 20 Boys quarter finals.

Read the official press release from Day 3 of the 2015 Citroen SA Surfing Champs below. You can also follow the action on surfingsouthafrica.co.za, Twitter and Facebook to keep updated.

Report on Day 3 of the Citroën SA Surfing Champs
by John Cawood

The combined 50th SA Surfing Champs and 10th SA Masters Champs is currently being held at Alkantstrand, Richards Bay and is set to end on Sunday 9 August. As predicted the surf remained small today with a strong offshore wind but as in the previous days it was very contestable with competitors putting on an impressive display without complaint.

Competition started with Open Women Round 3 (Quarter Finals) in 2-3 foot surf with good left handers coming through on the middle bank. Semi-finalists were decided in three heats with Tamarys de Maroussem (uThungulu), Emma Smith (NMB), Tasha Mentasti (Pres), Heather Clark (Ugu), Faye Zoetmulder (NMB) and Kat Steffen (Eth) making it through. Noticeably absent from the semi-finalist list is defending four time champion Nikita Robb (BC) who was eliminated from this event by Zoetmulder and Steffen.

In the Open Men Quarter Finals Luke Malherbe (BC) continued his good run making the semi-finals in a heat won by Chris Frolich (Eth). Craig Johnson from Cape Town has been looking good all week and also managed to advance with an impressive heat win. Joining them in the Semi-Finals on Saturday are Davey van Syl (Eth), Greg Emslie (BC) and Simon Fish (BC)

The U/20 Boys provided most of the days fireworks with big air reverses and explosive surfing in the best of the days surf. In a long day of competition with the decision to add the U/20 semis to the proceedings the finalists were decided in both the Boys and Girls U/20 Divisions. In the Boys it was Brandon Benjamin (CT) and Devin Whitehead (Eth) who advanced over Richard Kidd (Eth) in Semi 1 and Ntando Msibi (Pres) and Joshe Faulkner (NMB) over Bevan Willis (Eth). The latter was the highlight of the day with Ntando winning the heat with an awesome display of surfing on his birthday.

In Semi-final 1 of the Girls U/20 Nicole Pallet (Eth) scored the highest wave score of the day, an 8.3, advancing to the final with Gina Smith (NMB) in second place. Nicole won today’s “Freedom Surf” commemorative trophy that is given out each evening at the Multi-Sports Club for her effort. Joining them in the final will be winners of semi-final 2 Jade Story (uTh) and Chanelle Botha (Ugu).

Today saw the beginning of the Masters event with the running of the 0/30 Women and the O/35 Men. These heats were strongly contested in probably the worst surf of the day. Heat winners in the O/30 women were Tash Mentasti (Pres) and Heather Clark (Ugu). In the 0/35 Mens the heat winners were Greg Emslie (BC), Jaco Kapp (Eth), Tristan Johnson (BC), Brad Sorour (NMB), Sean von Oettingen (uTh) and Lu Whittacker (Pres).

The focus on the next 2 days of competition will be the Masters with the O/40 Men hitting the water first on Thursday (Day 4).

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.

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 on Facebook and Twitter. The event partner websites for more info and articles are zulusurfriders.co.za, surfingsouthafrica.co.za or zululandobserver.co.za


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