by Olivia Jones on 3rd October 2003
Craig Maree and his team (Central KZN) emerged victorious at the 2003 South African Bodyboarding Championships which were completed today (Friday, 03 October 2003) at Durban’s North Beach. The surf conditions were contestable but far from ideal with a light onshore wind and small 0.5-metre (2ft) waves. The 4A rated South African Bodyboarding Association (SABA) sanctioned tournament was co-sponsored by Vodacom 4U, Cockwell Brothers, Rossi Board Co and Lizzard Wetsuits. Other companies that contributed to the event include Bad Boy Clothing, Piranha, Digital Voice Processing, Hurricane Surf, Dibs, Oh Two Clothing, Wave House and Probe TV. The 2003 SA Bodyboarding Champs was the final contest for the Pro Men and Women riders to be selected for the trials to represent South Africa at the 2004 World Surfing Games.
The Pro division showdown was a nail biting affair with R10 000 prize money on offer to the country’s top riders. Local bodyboarder Maree already has three SA Drop Knee titles under his belt and notched up his first South African Pro victory in front of a supportive home crowd. Years of riding North Beach showed as Maree positioned himself perfectly for the best waves and executed stylish manoeuvres including an impressive Air Roll Spin (ARS). Runner up Sasha Specker (WP) provided the toughest competition claiming the event’s highest single wave score of 9 out of a possible 10 points for an ARS which he landed on the open face of the wave. Specker’s near flawless performance boosted him ahead of Vaughn Harris (SC) and altered the SABA ratings. The pair was engaged in a private war as both were in contention for the 2003 SABA Tour title. Henkus Loubser (WP) rode consistently well throughout the championships but was unable to find waves with high scoring potential and placed fourth.
A major upset occurred in the Women’s final when relative newcomer Pamela Bowren (EP) relegated event favourite and multiple national team rider Kamala Botha (CKZN) into second slot. Bowren who was dubbed ‘Eastern Province’s secret weapon’ enjoyed a dream final landing a series of clean rolls. Botha’s experience and tactics ensured that the fast improving Inge Pieters (SKZN) and seasoned competitor Robyn Sorenson (NKZN) placed third and fourth, respectively in the closely contested final.
Runner up in the Pro division Specker dominated the Drop Knee final cruising to first place streaks ahead of fellow team mate Simon Hagen (WP), Vaughn Harris (SC) and Darren Halse (SKZN). All of the Drop Knee finalist’s bodyboarded well pulling off long floaters and snappy turns in the deteriorating conditions and there was less than 2 points separating the last three slots.
Brad Keets (CKZN) was on fire in the Master’s decider racking up high scores to defeat Southern Natal’s Kevin Williams, Mike van Huyssteen’s (CKZN) and Riaan du Preez (WP). Third placed van Huyssteen was particularly disappointed as he was hoping to claim his seventh SA title to equal Alistair Taylor’s record; van Huyssteen has competed in every single South African Championships since the first one was held in Jeffrey’s Bay in 1987.
South Coast bodyboarding coach Martin Otto (SKZN) led the early part of the Men’s final until the halfway mark where positions were juggled around completely. Following a slow start Wayne Beekman (SKZN) came to life in the last three minutes completing an excellent ARS and backing it up with another strong ride to finish first with Ryan Pape (CKZN) in second and Marc Lightley (CKZN) third. In the end Otto was forced to settle with fourth place.
Former Boy’s division champion Grant Lee (SKZN) rose to the top in the Junior final. Marc Watts (NKZN) who has graduated through the development coaching programmes this year impressed by placing second. Eastern Province team riders Justin Lindsay and Wesley Potts collided as the latter was pushing under a wave, this resulted in an interference call penalising Potts who finished fourth.
Paddling strategy also backfired in the under 15 Boy’s division final when Boland’s Paul Morkel and Emile von Vollenhoven (SKZN) caught the same wave hindering each other’s scoring potential; both riders were penalised finishing third and fourth respectively. Jaryd Enslin’s (SKZN) decision to opt for the left breaking waves paid off handsomely when he landed a spectacular ARS and won the title. Joshua Kleeve (WP) was selective and patient waiting for decent sized waves which resulted in his second place.
Dane Beales (CKZN) and Ian Campbell (CKZN) were neck and neck for the majority of the U12 Boy’s final with Beales pipping Campbell to the winner’s post by only one point. Steven Minnie (EP) and Andries Starke (WP) placed third and fourth.
Kara Wickens (SKZN) took the under 16 Girl’s trophy ahead of Catey Mellish (WP).
SA bodyboarding’s headquarters, North Beach, was buzzing for the five day tournament which attracted over 169 entries. The prize giving will take place this evening at the Wave House in Gateway’s Theatre of Shopping at Umhlanga starting at 19h00. The individual SA Champions, winning team and 2003 SABA Champions will be crowned. Five lucky riders from each province will be nominated to get free rides on the infamous D-Rex courtesy of the Wave House.
|1||Emile van Vollenhoven||SN|
|3||Rheinhard du Toit||NN|
|3||Pieter Janse van Rensburg||Bol|
|Boys U12 Final|
|Girls U16 Final|
|3||Mike van Huysteen||CN|
|4||Riaan du Preez||WP|
|4||Emile van Vollenhoven||SN|
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