by Gareth White on 23rd March 2008
The final day of the Sport Unlimited Cape Classic for 2008, ends in style with Sacha Specker claiming victory in both the Pro and Drop Knee Divisions.
The event marks the beginning of the South African Bodyboarding Association Tour for 2008 and has set the benchmark for future contests, with first quality waves being ridden on each day as a result of the roaming venue, according to Western Province Bodyboarding Association (WPBA), Chairman, Deon Meyer.
It was the day organisers, the WPBA, had dreamed of. Super clean, glassy seas and waves in the region of 2 to 3 foot, with solid 4 foot sets that rolled in regularly, at Caves in Koel Baai, as competitors battled it out in the action packed heats.
Specker dominated the Pro Division final when he quickly caught the highest scoring ride of the heat within the opening minute. Specker opened his scoring with a clean ARS, roll and reverse spin combo and went on to perform a number of high scoring rides there after. It was said that after a while he was just free-surfing because he knew that he had already done the job by getting his two high scoring rides. That is not to say that he didn’t face tough competition from his fellow finalists, Mark Watts, Alistair Taylor and Derek Footit - who all combine high scoring manoeuvres of their own. Directly after Specker’s opening ride, Taylor opened his account with an impressive barrel, roll out to roll combo. Yet despite their efforts none could match Specker on the day and he walks away a deserving winner. Taylor finished in second place, with Footit and Watts in third and fourth respectively.
Specker claimed a remarkable victory in a hard fought Drop Knee Division final, where he went head to head with the likes of Vaughn Harris, Robert Starke and Aden Kleeve. Specker was a force to be reckoned with throughout the day, landing manoeuvre after manoeuvre in almost effortless fashion. During the final however he was within fractions of loosing out on top honours to Starke, who had also been in top form during his previous heats. Starke finished second overall with Kleeve coming in third and Harris in fourth.
“I am incredibly stoked with my result! It has been a long time since I claimed a double win. Hard work pays off. I have put in the effort and am overjoyed with the results. I would like to thank my sponsors – Custom X, especially my shaper PMA, Digicape for their ongoing support, Viper, Sport & Surf for all they have done for me and of course my girlfriend, Rosy”, commented a stunned Specker.
The Juniors Division final was an all out war, with riders performing some radical manoeuvres and racking up the points. Jannek Ferrandi, Chris Elliott, Dane Beales and Aden Kleeve went at it blow for blow. Kleeve was just fractions away from landing one of the best ARS’es seen during the contest and Chris Elliot stuck a tweaked invert to boost his points. It was no surprise that the final came down to the wire with local, Chris Elliot, being declared the overall winner with Dane Beales coming in second, Aden Kleeve in third and Jannek Ferrandi in fourth.
“This is my first win at a SABA event, so I am chuffed with my win. I have worked hard at contests over the years and never gotten the results. I feel that I owe a lot of this to my mentor and sponsor, Derek Footit, from Nomad and Factory 7. He has been coaching me for a while now and what he has taught me has helped me achieve this. I also feel that living in Cape Town has helped me up my game. The guys down here like Jared Housten, Aden Kleeve and all the rest are so good, which has pushed me to do better. I can’t wait for the rest of the SABA calendar!” said a spirited Elliot.
The Ladies Division didn’t receive too many entrants at this years event and was forced into a straight final between Janneke de Kok, Kym Richardson and current SA Ladies Division Champ, Pamela Bowren. Continuing on her campaign, Bowren dominated the final and walked away as the winner, with de Kok in second and Richardson in third.
The Mens Division final was not unlike the rest of the finals in that it was a dog-eat-dog affair, with wave after wave being assaulted by the contenders - Michael Meyer, Ian Thurtell, Wesley Potts and Darryn Campbell. It came as no surprise that Ian Thurtell claimed victory in the division as his surfing of late has drastically improved and he was on top form throughout the event, landing many solid inverts and a couple of tidy ARS’es along the way. Wesley Potts finished in second place with Michael Meyer and Darryn Campbell finishing third and fourth respectively.
The Boys Division final was as always interesting to watch as it is in our youth that the future of our sport rests. Storm Prestwich was unfortunately injured before the final and was unable to compete, which is a pity because he had surfed incredibly well during all of his heats. Andre Blignaut was awarded the wave of the contest for his solid “Pro-like” barrel roll at The Hoek on Day 1 and he fought valiantly against his two terrors, the Koopmans brothers, Ethan and Bas. In my opinion the manoeuvre that won Bas Koopmans the final was his slick invert, which he claimed with much delight and although his rivals landed some solid rolls and spins, but nothing could match his invert. Blignaut placed second with Ethan Kopmans in third and Prestwich coming in fourth.
The Masters Division final was a hard fought battle between Len Bradford, Steven Polinski, Mike van Huyssteen, Riaan du Preez and Marcel Habets, who all found it quite tough during the long lulls encountered during the heat. Mike van Huyssteen was declared the winner, with du Preez, Polinski, Habets and Bradford finishing in second, third, fourth and fifth respectively.
“The whole event has been a huge success, we had good waves throughout the contest and I am very please with the level of commitment from both the riders and my WPBA team. I would like to thank all involved in making this happen, especially our sponsors -Sport Unlimited, Spur Steak Ranches, Science Bodyboards, Reef Wetsuits, BondiBlu, Sanuk and Aloe Up for their support.”, concluded WPBA Chairman, Deon Meyer on the event.
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25th March 2008 10:33
|Ya i second that, very professional contest, even though the media needed a degree in rock climbing and absailing. Also big up to the big man upstairs (that will be Jesus) for sending the waves. Day one at the Hoek was mind blowing. Also all the behind the scenes people who worked their asses off for this. Sally and crew, Rossi and his judges, Gareth for the fast web updates and toit reporting and finally to my fellow photogs: Simon, Marcel and DC for sweating it out on the rocks to get the pics. Respect amigos. Congrats spex, you were the man this weekend. Big up G!|
25th March 2008 10:11
|well done to all the winners of this event, thanks to Deon and his team for an event with awesome waves. To all the riders from out of Cape Town, thanks for your effort. Congrates to all the science and reef riders, we had science riders in all the finals, except the pros(where we had two riders in the simi- finals). well done to all. thanks to Ross and Mark from Sport Unlimeted for a very profesional sponsorship.|