SABA Update: December 2005

Source: www.sabaonline.co.za

posted by Alistair Taylor on 28th December 2005

Hey all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year first of all. Chairman’s report is running a bit late but the chairman has been quite busy, though better late than never right?

As you know we've just had our first event of 2006, the Hot Buttered Biotribe Classic in Richards Bay, which was put on by the overworked John Cawood, so big thanks to John for all his effort to put that together....back in October it looked like it wasn't going to happen.
The first event of the year was kind of hot on the heels of SA Champs, so hasn't really been a lot of time to enact some of the changes we want for 2006, but by the next event, the Cape Classic, some solid changes to SABA should be underway.

One change that was effected was that the Mens division now starts at 18 instead of 21...the advantage being for juniors that pass the 18 year mark, and have to move up but don't feel they're at the level to compete in the Pros, but still want to compete and do well - before they would have had no choice but to move into the Pros, but now they can skip that if they wish and just do the Mens.

Another change that is on the cards is that Development riders will probably be restricted to a max of 2 years in that division. Development is there to encourage new riders, but it should not become a safety net wherein the rider becomes complacent because it’s easy for him to make a final - you have to push yourself to the next level, and nothing quite does that like being thrown into the deep end against better riders. At the same time, 2 years also allows for guys that don't have the opportunity (guys I have met firsthand) of practicing and surfing enough to progress through development in just one year.

On the sponsorship side of things, good news is brewing as all is not lost in the negotiations with Maui and Sons surf wear. It is still too early to give details, but things are looking quite promising at the moment.
SABA also has a deal lined up with Itec Group, which is one of the premier suppliers of office equipment machines in SA, and they have offered us a fat chunk of their profits on any business we can bring them, thanks to the interest from Kevin Pearman, one of the business partners at Itec, who himself is an enthusiastic bodyboarder. There is a separate press release out on sixty40 with details, so please read it and see where you, the rider, can help.

And just on that note too, please remember that the purpose of this report is to keep all of you guys in the loop and tuned in to what's happening in your sport, so that you guys can contribute and help shape your sport's future. Obviously its particularly relevant to you guys that compete, but even those of you that don't, we should all be out on a mission to make bodyboarding better and more respected....so one day we can tell people from JHB that we're bodyboarders, and don't have to be met with a dumb look, or an even worse question like “how much weight can you lift?”
So anyway, questions or comments or ideas, please email me or Sally or one of your provincial rider reps...and if they don't reply, email me and I'll sort it out.

And then one more thing, this last comp at Richards Bay was my first as an official on SABA, and it helped me look at things in a completely different light than just a competitor. And not to specifically use that comp as an example, as now that I think about there are changes that need to be made across the board at SABA events...like for example we are way to loose about letting people mill around the judges area. Those types of distractions are going to have to end now, and riders are going to be fined for infractions....there will be a 'no-go' area around the judges that competitors will have to keep clear of, or pay a price. Same goes for judging too, if there's any goofing around, the judges can face penalties too. I believe if we want to be seen as a truly professional organisation, we need to conduct ourselves with the utmost professionalism at every level. But that is just an example for now, there are more issues to cover, which need to be decided on with the committee first.

Last but not least, the North Beach event that is scheduled for April is still a question mark at this stage, but I am pretty determined that at least we will have a Cave Rock event. Media-wise, both NB and Cave Rock are equally important, but on the high-end/radical side of the sport, Cave Rock is more important, as if we get good surf, it’s obviously more exciting to watch, and we have something better as a possible TV sell, and of course we can get some sick footage for a bodyboarding DVD.

Even if we don't get sponsorship for the event, my plan is to run it as a specialty event with a higher entry fee, something on the order of R500 per rider, which will form the prize pool. If we have no sponsor the event will be run bare bones to minimize costs and maximize the prize money return to riders. And since it will be hard to spread the money all the way back to last place, I think it'd be good to have a lot of 'specialty' prizes, for e.g. best air, best barrel, heaviest attempted manoeuver, most progressive move etc...that way even if you bomb out in your first or second heat, you might still be rewarded for at least having had a good go...it also makes for a more interesting competition instead of the standard predictable format, and gives incentive for riders to go big. There also won't be any divisions in the contest, it'll just be an Open division, open to whoever wants to compete, so it'd be a good chance for a couple of the best juniors and mens and maybe even boys and girls to have a shot at taking down some pros. You will however be required to sign the SABA indemnity form to compete, since as I am sure you are all aware, cave rock is a pretty dangerous spot, and by surfing it on the kind of day we would want to hold the contest on, there's going to be considerable risk of injury.

Well that's just a brief outline of what I have in mind for 2006. Once again your ideas/comments/suggestions are welcome and actually even needed, you guys are the ones most in touch with our sport, and I know some of you have a lot to offer.

Until next time happy holidays and keep surfing hard,

Alistair

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