Success for para surfing champs

In May, Made for More hosted the Tyre Life Solutions South Africa Para Surfing Championships so that South African para surfers can showcase their talent

Para surfers gathered at the Durban New Pier for the South African Para Surfing Championships on Saturday, 29 May, and Sunday, 30 May. The event was hosted by Made for More – a local NPO that equips and empowers people with disabilities through sport. There were 46 contestants – almost double the number of surfers at the 2019 Championship.

The conditions on Saturday were perfect with three to four-foot (1,2 m) surf while Sunday offered two to three-foot (0,9 m) contestable conditions. The size of the waves caught some surfers by surprise; however, they continue to impress with their sheer will, determination, skill and bravery.

The divisions included Stand, Kneel, Prone, Unassist, Prone Assist, Blind and Visually Impaired, Waveski and All Ability. The Champonship also serves to select the surfers to represent South Africa at the ISA World Para Surfing Championships in the United States.

Para surfers used these awesome beach wheelchairs to access the water. Daniel Nel, who participated in the Prone Unassist division, is all smiles with Made for More water assistants providing some support. (Photographer Dave Linderman)

Jean Paul Veaudry dominated the Stand 2 (lower limb) division. He beat his friend and rival Antony Smyth in the Stand 1 (upper limb) division and finished with the overall highest scoring ride of the event.

Nachman Balulu came all the way from Israel to secure a second spot in the Stand 2 (lower limb) division and a second overall in the stand. Caleb Swanepoel took off on some of the biggest sets of the day securing a first in the Stand 3 (lower limb) division and a fourth overall.

The men’s kneel division was tightly contested. In the end, David Williams took the victory to win his first Championships after surfing for only a year.

Other notable mention is Tracy Mckay, who got the ride of the day on Sunday to earn nine points and win her division while beating team member Daniel Nel. Both will be representing South Africa at the ISA World Para Surfing Championships.

The hotly contested Prone Assist division was a spectacle. Former ISA World Para Surfer silver medalist, Noluthando Makalima lead the charge and was the event favourite. However, local Durban girls, Alulutho Tshoba, Natashia Siebert and Jodie Kroone managed to take first, second and third respectively, with Noluthando securing fourth.

Team Kwazulu-Natal (Ethekweni Surfriders Association) won the Championships. (Photographer Dave Linderman)

On Sunday, World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day, Oliver Sinclair, who has MS, won the Prone Assist division. Erynn Geddie won the Blind and Visually Impaired Unassist division. Doug Hendrikz dominated the Waveski division and regained his South African title. The All Ability division, dedicated to surfers with disabilities not included in the other divisions, was won by Sean Thompson.

Founder of Made for More and event organiser, Julia Van Zyl, said: “The event wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors, monthly donors and the water-assistants and volunteers who gave their time and skills so selflessly.”

Congratulations to the winners and good luck to the national team in their preparation for the World Championships.

Main photo: Made for More’s Coach Theo York and surfer Alulutho Tshoba during the Women’s Prone Assist Division. (Photographer Dave Linderman)