Wednesday D-Day for Cave Rock Gladiator Pit Showdown


posted by Olivia Jones on 22nd April 2006

Speciality South African Bodyboarding Association (SABA) Tour Event
Cave Rock on the Bluff, Kwa Zulu Natal - South Africa
April 19 to 26, 2006

Time is running out as the race between the window period closure and the arrival of big swell 'hots' up for the Cave Rock Gladiator Pit bodyboarding event on the Bluff in Durban. Wednesday (April 26) is D-Day for the inaugural event and according to swell forecasting guru Steve "Spike" Pike from the bodyboarders may be in for an epic showdown on the final day of the waiting period.

Open to only 32 of the most competent bodyboarders including international stars, the event carries the biggest prize purse out of any South African Bodyboarding Association (SABA) event – a whopping R20, 000. In addition to the prize money there are exquisitely crafted samurai swords for the top three riders. The Cave Rock Gladiator Pit requires only one day of hollow waves in 2-metre plus swell.

"We have spent a few days of pouring over weather maps, but finally some new swell is coming into view. It looks like we are in for some fun waves on Monday although it does not look big enough to run the event – it could be good for another practice session. Wednesday is looking promising so watch this space because Spike, who is known for his accuracy, is helping us with the wave forecasting," said event organiser and former US Bodyboarding Champion Alistair Taylor.

"We have a head's up for Wednesday, everything seems right, with a light land breeze followed by a glassy day with variable light winds. The swell looks powerful and it's pushing solidly all day; we should see waves up to six feet in size from a SSW direction ," commented Spike who is keeping the bodyboarders updated on the status of the upcoming big swell.

Wednesday, April 19 saw some strong surf up to 2-metres in size which the competitors rode as a practice session. Cave Rock lived up to its fearsome reputation by leaving its mark on most of the bodyboarders who emerged from the water with cuts and scratches after getting too intimate with the shallow, razor sharp reef break. Cave Rock has claimed lives and has always been the training ground for South Africans wanting to go to Hawaii.

"This coming Wednesday we are expecting similar conditions to what we had on day one of the window period but the swell is expected to be a little bigger with more waves in the sets. The tides are looking better and the wind will be much lighter," said Taylor.

The Cave Rock Gladiator Pit presented by Movement Bodyboarding Magazine and 662mob will only take place in optimum big wave conditions. If the waves rise to the occasion, bodyboarders will meet at 06h00 on Wednesday for a possible 06h30 start. The last heat will take place at midday with the prize giving held at about 13h00.

A wildcard slot has been allocated to 17 year old Jake Rosenberg (Bluff), who has risen through the development ranks to recently place first in the U20 division of a KZN bodyboarding event held at Umhlanga. Rosenberg has spent a fair amount of time at Cave Rock and will be looking to cause some upsets.

Lone female entrant and former women's world champion Karla Costa-Taylor (Pietermaritzburg) will bring a feminine touch and has got what it takes to ruffle a few feathers in the large surf; she features in the first heat of the day.

In addition to top international riders Spencer Skipper (Hawaii) and big wave maniac from California Eddie Solomon, other names to watch include seven times SA Bodyboarding Champion Alistair Taylor (Pietermaritzburg) as well as national bodyboarding team members Wesley Fischer (Berea) and Sacha Specker (Cape Town).

At the opening function Contest Director Alistair Taylor said, "If the conditions are not perfect, I am not going to cheapen the event by holding it in sub-standard waves – I would rather not run it at all and I will reimburse the riders’ entry fees. All of us here are making history by taking part in an event that I hope to grow to an International Bodyboarding Association Super Tour contest in the next year or two."

The Cave Rock Gladiator Pit will utilise the “Shark Island” event format based on the big wave bodyboarding event held at the infamous break south of Sydney. Each heat will consist of five or six riders over a 40 or 45 minute period. Each competitor will surf two rounds, with the top two waves from each heat being scored to give a four wave total tally, which will determine the final placings. Due to the fact that there are no eliminations the competitors are not only surfing against the riders in their heat, but against the entire field each time they enter the water.

Movement Bodyboarding magazine is a new publication created by current world bodyboarding champion Ben Player from Sydney Australia; it is rapidly making waves in the bodyboarding world and is poised to hit South African Shored soon.

662Mob is bodyboarding/clothing line produced by Eddie Solomon, a big wave bodyboarder from California, who also runs possibly the biggest bodyboarding website in the world (

For more information please call Alistair Taylor on 082 863 6665.

Following the Cave Rock Gladiator Pit the next event on the SABA calendar is the 5A rated Wimpy Rossi Pro-Am in Margate from April 28 to 30.

Cave Rock Gladiator Pit Contestant Profiles:

1. Alistair Taylor - 7 times SA champ, 4 times finalist at Pipeline in Hawaii, 4th in the world in 1998, 1st in sixty40 peer poll in Best Big Wave Rider category
2. Karla Taylor- 2 times women's world champ and current SA women's champ, and the only girl in the event
3. Eddie Solomon - big wave maniac from California, USA
4. Spencer Skipper- one of the best bodyboarders in the world and excellent performer in large, heavy surf, thanks to his upbringing in Hawaii, USA
5. Ross McBride- top international bodyboarder from California
6. Wayne du Preez - one of the top rated SABA men's division competitors and regular at the Bluff
7. Vaughn Harris - multiple SABA and current Pro Champion from Southern Cape
8. Rylin Richardson - underground big wave charger from the north coast of KZN
9. Adam Morley - freak talent from Mossel Bay, a big wave area in its own right
10. Ian Kruger- Cape Town, loves big heavy waves, has done well at pipe in Hawaii
11. Heavy Dave – Cape Town, underground big surf fanatic
12. Wesley Fischer – from Durban, one of the best bodyboarders in SA, recently selected for SA Bodyboarding Team to compete at ISA World Games and winner of the last SABA event in Cape Town
13. Mark Watts - newcomer to the pro ranks from KZN, has been one of the best junior riders in the country the last few years
14. Philip Rodrigues – Durban based, multiple SA champion and also top competitor on the world tour in previous years, has won a couple of international events
15. Hankus Loubscher - world traveller and big wave aficionado from Cape Town
16. Ian Metcalf - currently living in California, USA originally from Cape Town and also a very competent big wave surfer
17. Darren Halse - currently living in the UK, one of SA's top bodyboarders in years past, from Amanzimtoti
18. Rob Gray - underground big wave rider from north beach and regular when cave rock is happening
19. Karl Liebenberg - old school North Beach local and one of the best men's competitors on SABA
20. Jared Houston - one of the best junior riders in SA and quite capable of taking out the established pros
21. Jonathan Oliff - big wave addict from north beach Durban
22. Inacio Serrao – Warner Beach bodyboarder who has made numerous finals and semi-finals over the past three years in the boys, junior and drop knee divisions
23. Sacha Specker - one of the best pro riders in SA, recently qualified for the SA Bodyboarding Team to compete in the ISA Games in the US later this year- hails from Camps Bay, CT
24. Sean Oberholzer - Doctor from Cape Town, underground big wave guy
25. Jason Devanaugh - emerging talent from the junior division from North Beach in Durban
26. Matthew Botha – 17 year old Mossel Bay bodyboarder
27. Derek Footit - top pro bodyboarder from the south coast of KZN, not afraid of big barrelling right hand waves like Cave Rock
28. and 29. Twins Wayne and Neil Smith - top pro bodyboarder from the south coast of KZN
30. Wayne Beekman – from Margate, SABA men's division champ and competent big wave rider
31. Stuart Bradford - one of the best drop knee riders and north beach local
32. Doug Lindsay (Durban North), an old-school bodyboarder from the previous generation of top competitors; thrives in big, heavy surf conditions.
33. Wildcard - 17 year old Jake Rosenberg (Bluff), a young north beach local who recently placed first in the U20 division of the KZN bodyboarding event held at Umhlanga.


Heat 1:

Jonathan Oliff
Dave Collicott
Sean Oberholzer
Doug Lindsay
Rylin Richardson
Karla Taylor

Heat 2:

Stephan Coetzee
Wayne Beekman
Ian Kruger
Wesley Fischer
Wayne du Preez
Neil Smith

Heat 3:

Michael Ostler
Wesley Tucker
Inacio Serrao
Mark Watts
Derek Footit
Al Taylor

Heat 4:

Matthew Wainwright
Darren Halse
Philip Rodrigues
David Lee
Adam Morley
Stuart Bradford

Heat 5:

Wayne Smith
Matthew Botha
Jared Houston
Sacha Specker
Jake Rosenberg
Jason Duvenage

For any more updates please check:

Issued on behalf of:

Alistair Taylor
ATD South Africa
Mobile: + 27 (0) 82 863 6665

Issued by:

Olivia Jones Communications
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 537 8840
Email: [email protected]



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