The Triggerfish Animation South African Adaptive Surfing Championships were held at New Pier, Durban, on August 5. The event was hosted and organised by non-profit organisations Made for More and Surfing South Africa. There were a total of 27 competitors, of whom 22 were South Africans and five were international adaptive surfers.
The contestants showcased their skills in two- to three-foot wave sets. The atmosphere was fun and the water contestable, while on the beach there was a great vibe. The wheelchair-accessible mats were laid with accessible water chairs ready to help make the day fully inclusive for all the surfers and spectators. The event was described as “truly something special” and enthusiastic spectators were in awe of the surfing prowess on display.
Afterwards, Julia van Zyl, director of Made for More and the event organiser, said: “We would like to thank Anne Wright (contest director), Bongani Xulu (head judge) and his panel, as well as Mike Frew (commentator) for the outstanding running of the contest.”
She also thanked Surfing South Africa, Hurricane Surf, ZigZag (a surfing magazine) and sportswear brand Hurley (among others) for their donations, medals and prizes for the winners. The volunteers at the event were also recognised for the important role they played in the success of the competition.
“We were absolutely blown away by the volunteers and the way in which they served with such joy and grace. We couldn’t have done the event without you, and we are super-grateful for your support,” Van Zyl said.
“Contestants, you guys are the real heroes! Watching you shred and experience the stoke and the freedom of the ocean is why we do what we do. Well done to everyone and especially to all our newly crowned South African Adaptive Surfing Champions,” she added.
Following the competition, the South African Adaptive Surfing Team will be chosen to compete in the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Adaptive Surfing Championships in La Jolla, San Diego, California, from December 12 to 16, 2018. The 2017 Championships winner was Brazil.
Adaptive surfing is divided into numerous categories and the results were as follows:
AS-1 men (surfers who ride waves in a standing or kneeling position and/or have upper-limb or below-the-knee amputation)
- JP Veandry (East London)
- Adi Klang (Israel)
- Antony Smyth (Cape Town)
- David Feldman (Israel)
AS-1 women (surfers who ride waves in a standing or kneeling position and/or have upper-limb or below-the-knee amputation)
- Grace Anderson (Cape Town)
- Darian Bailey Haynes (Hawaii)
AS-2 men (surfers who ride waves in a standing or kneeling position and have above-the-knee amputations)
- Caleb Swanepoel (Cape Town)
- Llywelyn Williams (Wales)
- Tyler Pike (Cape Town)
- Donovan Kanes (Cape Town)
AS-4 Men (surfers who ride waves in a prone position)
- Bruno Hansen (Denmark)
- Daniel Nel (Cape Town)
- Dries Millard (Cape Town)
AS-5 Men (surfers who ride waves in any non-standing position, need assistance catching waves but must be independent on the wave)
- Albert Rust (Cape Town)
- Ashtan Davids (Cape Town)
AS-VI (surfers who have a visual impairment or are blind)
- Danito Mondlane (Durban)
- Erynn Geddie (Durban)
For new surfers, or surfers not yet quite ready to surf in competition, there was a fun expression session. The results were as follows:
Longest ride: Derrick Mboyisa (Cape Town)
Best wave: Grant Oosthuyzen (Durban)
Most stoked: Amuri Mwanza (Durban)
Happiest surfer: Lulu Tshoba (Durban)
Most dedicated surfer: Nelisiwe Sibiya (Pietermaritzburg)
Biggest wipeout: Peter Glass (Amamzimtoti)
Bravest surfer: Zonke Nyandeni (Durban)
Most committed surfer: Deryck Du Einbein (Harding)
Blow-up award: Dean Hart (Durban)
The AS-1 men’s final was heavily stacked with one past and one current world champion competing as well as a national champion. In the dying minutes of the heat, JP Veandry (from East London) managed to get the wave of the heat with an 8,5 score, to beat current World Champion Adi Klang (Israel), who managed to get second. Antony Smyth, although surfing the best throughout the early rounds, got third and David Feldman (Israel) got fourth.