Bodyboarding Newcomers Make Name

posted by Olivia Jones on 8th July 2004

Vodacom Bodyboarding Classic
Bay of Plenty
Hosted by the City of Durban – South Africa’s Playground
July 8, 9 & 10, 2004

A host of newcomers to the South African Bodyboarding Association (SABA) circuit made a name for themselves at the 2004 Vodacom Bodyboarding Classic held at the Bay of Plenty. The R22 000 prize purse makes it the richest bodyboarding tournament in the country. The first day was off to a great start in excellent, clean one-metre (3 to 4ft) surf conditions.

“The sheer amount of riders that have travelled up to compete at the Vodacom Bodyboarding Classic shows that interest in the sport is growing. We have seen some really talented performances come from newcomers that have never ridden on the SABA circuit. Standouts today include Carlin Govender and Blessing Mnelentshe. We’d like to thank Vodacom for putting up the prize money to support this SABA event,” commented SABA Chairperson Pat Harris.

Dark horse Carlin Govender who bodyboards on KZN’s south coast blew the crowd away with an outstanding performance in the drop knee rounds which made the established competitors sit up and take notice. Reigning SA Pro champion Craig Maree (Dbn) demonstrated his skills in the drop knee discipline as did Sihle Xaba (Dbn) and Brandon Foster (California) who is arguably one of the worlds finest drop knee riders.

In the junior division it was Blessing Mnelentshe’s (Dbn) turn to shine in the second contest he had ever entered. Mnelentshe advanced through to the quarterfinals thrilled to rack up valuable points and prestige to move up the ranks of the SABA elite. Other bodyboarders to please the judges included north coast riders Rheinhard du Toit and SABA tenth seed JP Fourie who both won their heats.

The pro division preliminary round standouts included former national team member Sihle Xaba (Dbn), red hot North Beach locals Wesley Fischer and Craig Jenkins. Multi talented board rider and top lifeguard Derek Footit (Uvongo) boosted a huge Air-Roll-Spin to win his pro heat comfortably. David Lee (Margate), who recently moved up from juniors to compete against the pros, proved himself by defeating big wave charger Brandon Foster (California) and talented former East London resident Wayne Gardener who now travels extensively bodyboarding exotic locations around the globe.

Upsets included the elimination of former SABA champion Douglas Lindsay (Dbn) who was late for his heat following car troubles and provincial team member Vijay Maharaj (Blythedale Beach) who finished tie second but was ousted out on the second count.

The three day contest runs from Thursday 8 July to Saturday 10 July and has drawn nearly 120 entries from around South Africa. The Vodacom Bodyboarding Classic is sanctioned by the SABA which means that the riders will earn valuable points on the domestic bodyboarding circuit that counts towards crowning the SABA champions at the end of the year and helps to determine the national team members. Divisions include juniors, boys, development, women, pro, drop knee and men.

An Expression Session will be held daily culminating in a final on Saturday. Top riders who have impressed in any division over the course of the event will be invited to compete. Wesley Fischer caught the crowd’s attention on day one with an Air-Roll-Spin and Brandon Foster’s polished drop knee riding was another highlight.

The 4A rated event has caused a major stir by awarding equal prize money to the Open Men and Women’s divisions who will each be vying for R10 000. This move has made history in SA and has prompted females in their droves to make the trip to Durban to ride the waves. The first of the ladies heats will take to the water tomorrow morning at 8.00am followed by the first rounds of the boys and development divisions; the drop knee quarterfinals will take place in the afternoon.

All youngsters are welcome to go to the Vodacom Bodyboarding Classic to meet their bodyboarding heroes, hang out with the pros and get tips to better their bodyboarding skills. The event runs through to Saturday July 10 when the winners will be crowned at about 3.30pm.

2004 Vodacom Bodyboarding Classic Day 1 Results:

(Province that they compete for at SA Champs listed)

Pro Division:

Heat one
  1. Douglas Groves (Southern KZN)
  2. Sihle Xaba (Central KZN)
  3. Mark McCarthy (Northern KZN)
  4. Douglas Lindsay (Central KZN)

Heat two
  1. Marc Jucker (Eastern Province)
  2. Wesley Fischer (CKZN)
  3. Darryn Campbell (EP)
  4. Brynn Muirhead (CKZN)

Heat three
  1. Stuart Bradford (CKZN)
  2. Jonathon Oliff (SKZN)
  3. Stefan Coetzee (NKZN)

Heat four
  1. Derek Footit (SKZN)
  2. Mark Laurens (CKZN)
  3. Robert Gray (CKZN)

Heat five
  1. David Lee (SKZN)
  2. Brandon Foster (California)
  3. Wayne Gardener (EP)
  4. Allan Horsefield (EP)

Heat six
  1. Philip Rodrigues (CKZN)
  2. Craig Jenkins (CKZN)
  3. Vijay Maharaj (NKZN)

Junior Division:

Heat one
  1. Rheinhard du Toit (NKZN)
  2. Blessing Mnelentshe (CKZN)
  3. Wesley Tucker (CKZN)
  4. Chad Van Der Walt (Western Province)

Heat two
  1. Rylin Richardson (CKZN)
  2. Paul Mitchell (CKZN)
  3. Jason Duvenage (CKZN)
  4. Jared Keiser (CKZN)

Heat three
  1. Donovan Bassett (WP)
  2. Joel Aaron (CKZN)
  3. Mathew Kaiser (CKZN)
  4. Daniel De Giosa (CKZN)

Heat four
  1. Michael Meyer (Southern Cape)
  2. Matthew Botha (SC)
  3. Matthew Holden (CKZN)
  4. Yeager Starke (WP)

Heat five
  1. Inacio Serrao (SKZN)
  2. Matthew Kay (CKZN)
  3. Etienne Koekemoer (CKZN)
  4. Jake Rosenberg (CKZN)

Heat six
  1. JP Fourie (NKZN)
  2. Wesley Van Blerk (CKZN)
  3. Michael Ward (NKZN)
  4. Timothy Singh (CKZN)

Drop Knee Division:

Heat one
  1. Jason Duvenage (CKZN)
  2. Wesley Fischer (CKZN)
  3. Rheinhard du Toit (NKZN)
  4. Brynn Muirhead (CKZN)

Heat two
  1. Sihle Xaba (CKZN)
  2. Craig Jenkins (CKZN)
  3. Inacio Serrao (SKZN)
  4. Vernon Wright (SC)

Heat three
  1. Colin van Dongen (SKZN)
  2. Stefan Coetzee (NKZN)
  3. Darryn Campbell (EP)
  4. Jared Housten (WP)

Heat four
  1. Brandon Foster (California)
  2. John Cawood (NKZN)
  3. Adam Morley (SC)
  4. Mark Harrison (CKZN)

Heat five
  1. Douglas Groves (SKZN)
  2. Carlin Govender ( SKZN)
  3. David Lee (SKZN)
  4. Mark Laurens (CKZN)

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