Day 3 and it's the business end of the grom comp underway. Lekker day dawned for the lighties, with some contestable waves. The buzz on the beach was palpable as the teams whooped and hollered their mates on. Popped down mid-morning to see how the groms were doing, and such a kiff vibe on the beach. The Billabong Grom Games are a really cool way to introduce the lighties to competitive surfing in a mellow vibe.
The EP team is doing well - with most of our surfers making it through to the semi's and finals on the last day, Sunday. One person who might have mixed feeling about it is coach Dave McGregor....he's set to get his long locks lopped off if the kids take the win! Never bet a lightie, they never forget!
Yesterday saw the paddle battles and flag races take place. Kelly Fenton got a 3rd in the u10/12 girls flags. Elchristie Marais & Jade Vaughan got 2nd & 3rd respectively in the girls u14/16 event. Cameron Rheeder took 2nd in the Boys Paddle Battle.
Froth levels are still off the charts despite the onshore conditions. That's what surf stoke is all about, being amped no matter what the surf is like. Another good day for the EP team, who still had most of their groms in the comp by the end of the day.
See that dude with the long hair photo-bombing the shot above - he's Dave McGregor, one of the EP Groms coaches. Seeking to inspire his troops to new heights, he's made a bet with them that if they win the Grom Games he'll shave his hair off!! Go kids, go!
All images Sandy Coffey
Day 2 Results
Nothing beats a beach of frothing kids! Plenty of amped lighties buzzing about like Energizer bunnies at the start of the Billabong SA Grom Games. Conditions were pretty darn teeny, but the groms were all over it. Bit of rain midday didn't dampen the spirits, and thankfully the sun popped out again in the arvo.
The EP groms had a great start to the comp. Some of the lighties won their heats and got straight through to the 3rd round, others had to scrap through Rd 2 to get there. Conditions are looking a bit tough for Friday - with the small swell continuing and a light easterly breeze ruffling things up. The weekend looks better though, with the offshore and a small bump in the swell.
The whole comp is about getting groms amped on surfing, and Josh Enslin definitely added to this vibe. His Gypsy Diary initiative is all about travelling the coast and bringing surf stoke to communities, with a particular focus on lighties that don't have ready access to surfing kit. Through donations from himself and other PE surfers he was able to gift 7 boards, 11 Billabong/Xcel wetsuits and 10 leashes to groms at the comp. Beneficiaries included the EP groms from the Kitchen Windows/JBay crew, as well as lighties from WP and Boland. Spreading the stoke. Lekker.
WQS surfer and all round good ou, Dale Staple, will be donating one of his board to the grom who gets the highest wave score of the event. Such a cool prize for a frothing grom!!
2014 Billabong SA Grommet Games gets under way at Pollock Beach in Port Elizabeth on Thursday
Over 120 surfers representing six provinces will compete in the 22nd edition of the Billabong South African Grommet Games which gets under way at Pollock Beach in Port Elizabeth this Thursday. Officials and families from all parts of the South African coastline will join the surfers as they celebrate this unique surfing tournament.
The tournament, which is supported by Sport and Recreation SA, will officially get under way with the opening function on Wednesday evening at 6.30pm in the Victoria Park Grey Primary School Hall in Walmer.
The SA Grommet Games is proudly hosted by the Eastern Province Surfing Council which has hosted all but one of the tournaments since the first one was held over Easter in 1991.
From humble beginnings the annual SA Grommet Games is now a blue ribbon event on the Surfing South Africa calendar. Introduced into South African surfing culture after unification, the Grommet Games is a transformation and development tournament that gives young surfers from around the country the opportunity to compete for their respective provinces in a major surfing contest for the first time.
Many South African surfers who began their competitive surfing careers in the Grommet Games have gone on to compete in National Championships and elite tournaments and a number have represented South Africa in International competitions.
Port Elizabeth has remained the venue for this important and significant championship for all but one of its 22 years due to the fact that it is situated midway between Durban and Cape Town. This means that most teams have to travel the same distance to participate.
In addition, the Pipe at Pollock Beach produces consistent, contestable conditions for surfers who are representing their provincial teams in their first ever national contest.
The Billabong SA Grommet Games is regarded by Surfing South Africa as a vital and important tournament and certainly takes its place with distinction alongside other major National events. As it celebrates 21 years it can now claim to be one of the defining tournaments on the Surfing South Africa calendar.
Girls and boys from a variety of different cultures and communities are represented across the eight divisions and come from all parts of the South African coast.
The youngest surfers in the contest will compete in the Under 8 Division with the oldest participants taking part in the competitive Under 16 boys and girls group.
The Grommet Games highlights the transformation process within Surfing South Africa and provinces are set strict criteria when it comes to selecting their teams.
While much of the focus is on surfing itself, events such as a paddle battle, beach flags and a tag team surfing competition are included in the activities that make this event so special each year.
Sponsors Billabong have added even more to this year’s event in the form of “goodie bags” for each contestant which will include a variety of items.
The team that displays the most spirit and support during the contest will win the Best Team Trophy and the Team with the highest points total will take home the Mandela Bay Trophy, which was won by Western Province in 2013.
In order to select the appropriate team for this event, provinces have held a series of trials and the result of this process is five wonderful days of social and competitive interaction. An added advantage of holding an event such as this is that Surfing South Africa is able to identify potential national and perhaps even future world champions.
The Billabong SA Grommet Games is supported by Sport and Recreation South Africa, presented by Surfing South Africa and hosted by the Eastern Province Surfing Council.
Surfing South Africa is the recognized governing body for the sport in South Africa and a member of the South African Confederation of Sport and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).
By Robin de Kock
Pipe was like a sheet of glass on Sunday morning so the guys decided to go to Cape Receife which had fun 2-3 ft waves breaking left and right near Boilers.
Results were as follows:
1. Clinton Fraser
2. Jason Erlank
3. Martin Hartslief
4. William Henry
1. Munro Munnik
2. Mervin Goddard
1. Andre’ Venter
2. Kurt Buchner
1. Herbie Haupfleisch
2. Dave Lipshitz
Next trial will be in J-Bay at Magna’s on 6 April 2014
3rd trial will be at Port Alfred on 13 April 2014
Quarter final day dawned with some decent sets pouring down the bank at Snapper. CJ's Goldie curse continues and Taj took the win and will meet Gabe Medina in the semi's. Taj's looking strong and might be the guy to watch for the title.
Medina gets his semi's slot by taking out one of of the title favourites in Mick Fanning. Medina's 9.4 was the decider. Slater musta fancied his chances against Adriano de Souza. But by his own admission he didn't really pitch up on the day and couldn't get his head-space right. Not often Kelly gets a 12pt heat score.
Parko came out firing and sat way up the point, snagging all the deep barrels behind the rock. Pupo's tactic of sitting further down the line didn't seem to work out for him, so Parko took the win. He gets to surf against De Souza in the semi's. Options are for 2 Aussies in the final - or 2 Brazzo's.
Bianca Buitendacht got into her first ASP final, and surfed off against Steph Gilmore. Steph used all her experience and put together a bunch of good waves, whereas Bianca looked really nervous. Caught a few rails, blew some turns, but hey - amazing effort to get to the final to start with. She'll gain valuable experience from that final. Onwards and upwards!!
She went up even more in my estimations when in her post-final interview she mentioned she was donating all her prize money to a few local charities in George and JBay. Nice one young lady. A pay forward attitude will get you far.
Straight into the men's semi's. Taj vs Medina. Both look as hungry as stray dogs in a township. Taj is looking soooo sharp this year - like he really really wants it. Full commitment on all his turns and blowing them as big as he can. Medina snagged a wave under Taj's priority right before the final horn and ripped the hell out of it. A little repetitive in what he did on the wave, he needed a 7.21 to take the win from Taj....
Full on reality TV episode experience watching the 2 guys wait it out on the beach whilst the judges deliberated over the score. Finally the scores dropped, and Medina screamed. He snuck it...by a skinny 0.02. So one Brazzo in the final.
Semi 2 saw Parko take on Adriano. Parko was in full on barrel hunting mode, finding slots all over the place. Commentators had a lil dig about the contrasting styles of the 2 surfers...reckoned Adriano was like a rottweiller whilst Joel was as smooth as butter. Butter beat bark.
So, the final saw Parko take on Medina. Parko was on fire - more deep crazy barrels. One of which bust his board. He was looking like the man right up until 5 minutes from the end, but then everything changed. Medina got a high scoring wave to put him back in the hunt. And then picked up one way down the line which I reckon he was way overscored on - and it was enough for him to grab the lead from Parko. A lead change that Medina held onto until the final buzzer.
So the Brazzo takes Snapper.
Finally some surfing again after a series of lay days. Round 3 gets in the water with some solid match up's. Unfortunately the Saffa flag got lowered off the mast for the first event of the year - with Travis getting knocked out by Taj.
Two Queensland locals biffed it out in Heat 3 with rookie Mitch Crews getting some karma back from Julian Wilson. Wilson had been seen burning Crews mercilessly in the free-surf the day before, so the karma-wheel spun quickly with Mitch taking the win. Julian went big - but it was only 1 big per wave - no combo's, which is what he needed.
Everyone's fave dark horse Ace Buchan just didn't get his game face on and managed a measly 4.77 heat score to get taken out by Medina. Another dark horse in Owen Wright also fell out the comp, victim to brazzo Pupo.
The super heat between Mick and Dane saw Mick through to the next round, although Dane did mount a last minute charge but just fell short with his score.
Slater won as usual. Parko squeaked in by 0.04. Does being mates with the head judge help you get the scores...or make sure your opponents don't get theirs?
Round 4 match-up see Heat 2 as being the the tough one- Medina, Mick and CJ.
Pick your winner for the Quik Pro & get your entry in for the ML Fantasy Surfer comp and stand a chance at scoring a kiff Billabong hamper worth R1600 - boardies, cap, T, leash and deck grip. Lekker!
Enter here: http://www.millerslocal.co.za/ml-fantasy-surfer.html
Remember the furore around Lewis Samuel's power rankings that the ASP put up then yanked down a day later cos of mommy-boy surfers not being able to deal with a bit of wit & criticism. Well, props to CJ Hobgood who approached Samuels and asked him to write a review for him, here goes:
"Few venues have been as selectively cruel to a world champ as the Gold Coast has been to CJ Hobgood. Sure, Sunset Beach hates Kelly Slater as much as Kelly hates Sunset. But the tour doesn't kick off at Sunset. Instead, each season dawns on the sticky sheets of the Snapper, at an event seemingly engineered by a higher power to kick CJ Hobgood squarely in his aging Southern nuts. Over the last decade, CJ has gotten axed in Round 2 or 3 with Job-like consistency, minus a couple Quarters finishes, in '05 and '09, which served primarily as a tease. Some dismiss it as another bowl-splattering case of Regularfoot's Revenge, but CJ's routine ejections in the draw's irritable bowels go beyond anti-goofy bias. Wright, Logie, Buchan and other screwfoots shine at Snapper, while CJ rarely finds rhythm. Some years it looks like equipment problems, other years it looks like he's forcing turns or missing combos, his Kirra Curse clouding his lines. Hell, maybe the sinner's feast of bare, young flesh writhing on the beach short-circuits something in his brain. If the tour kicked off in God's Country - Fiji or Tahiti - CJ wouldn't start each season from down in the hole. But the tour starts down under, leaving Hobgood ever-grasping towards another unlikely dream: Gold Coast redemption."
The start of the 2014 CYOH SURF OFF series was blessed with another awesome day of swell, sunshine, good times & amazing surfing by all. The best contestable conditions for the day were on offer at MAIN RIGHTS LEFT & LOCH NESS. A nice solid swell was running throughout the entire day & was offering multiple sections for anything our surfers could throw at it.
With all the divisions having breath-taking finals, it was the men’s open final that was the tightest of them all, with a massive set coming through in the dying minutes of the heat to finalize & lock in the overall winner.
Thanks to our amazing sponsors & to everyone who joined us to make the day possible & see you all soon for our next CYOH event & SURF OFF soon.
1. Robert Jacobs ( Jakes ) 2. Justin Grey 3. Grant Beck 4. Bruce Campbell
1. Alex v Rijswijck 2. Peter Coffey 3. Jono Coffey 4. Tristan Torr
1. Hannah Bing 2. Margot Riley 3. Azraa Abrahams 4. Tracey Admirall 5. Kia Fenton
MASTERS / VETS :
1. Dave McGregor 2. Dennis Ellis 3. Johnny Bakker
Surfing images by: Peter Coffey
Lifestyle images by: Tertio Esterhuysen
Shot to all those who made the EP Longboard team for SA's this year. Well surfed everyone. Now just go out there and win the title. Home ground advantage means we should be in with a shout!
(names are listed by seeding)
By Gregg Clarke
After a long run of longboard trials it all came down to the wire for a number of surfers who needed results in the final trial at Hullets this weekend. We once again scored amazing longboard waves, allowing great all round surfing. The sun was shining and there was hardly a breath of wind blowing- the perfect spectacle for such an important contest.
Firstly, it was great to see former SA champ Dylan Macleod back in the water- he was all smiles after a year and a half out of the water. The only thing blind about his surfing was watching his brother tow him out for his heat! Other than that, he was all style and flow that has seen him dominate EP longboarding for the past 10 years. Im sure if he could have got more waves, he could have knocked a few o’s!
Greg Smith has to be one of SA’s premier longboarders of all time, watching him smash his heat I kept on thinking how lucky the open division was that he wasn’t surfing in that division. The same goes for Ryan Anderson and Craig Cuff. These okes tear a longboard.
Mike Beck secured his spot in the EP team with a solid first place in his division. The legends division was once again won by John Macleod who has dominated this division this year. Both Drew Macdonald and Dave Macgregor had solid results with great surfing seeing them finish top of their division.
Cobbles Classic winner, Shannon Bolotin, rocked up on her single fin to win the ladies division with classic surfing. Hannah Bing had a couple of small insiders to give her second place. Magriet Wibblelink of Jbay, finished the trials off strong with a solid third. Michelle Hill (sooo pregnant right now!) had to sit and watch from the beach, knowing that the results could affect her spot in the team- with a sigh of relief, Michelle’s spot was still secure on the sound of the buzzer…
Dean Simpson won again….Matt Macleod came second again….Come on oke’s its getting old! Jono Hill got a much needed third to secure himself a spot in the team as well as Galad Smith who got a fourth (had to bail on the final to catch a lift back to Grahamstown). Galad was looking really tough to beat in his earlier rounds.
So ja, after a really competitive season of longboard surfing trials, it is all done and dusted with the EP longboard team 95% finalised. I must once again comment on how tough certain divisions were, with literally some of the countries top surfers missing out on a spot in the EP team. Im pretty sure EP are the favourites to win the SA champs this year, as we have the strongest team in years! For the guys and gals who just missed out, I am trying to find additional spots in the SC and KZN teams, so please keep and eye on Facebook. Also the EP Longboard Champs will be held later on in the year to launch your comebacks!
By Gregg Clarke
DNS = Did not surf