Although the third day of competition in the 2015 Citroen SA Surfing Championships at Alkantstrand in Richards Bay produced small 2 – 3 foot surf, the wind was offshore for the first time and competitors made the most of the conditions.
The quarter Finals in the Open women’s division got the day underway and produced an upset when four time and defending SA Champion Nikita Robb (Buffalo City) was eliminated. It was a major disappointment for the East London surfer who would have become the first surfer in 50 years to win five national titles in a row if she had gone on to win this event.
As it is she will have to watch from the beach as semi finalists Tamarys de Maroussem (uThungulu), Emma Smith and Faye Zoetmulder (both Nelson Mandela Bay), Tasha Mentasti (Presidents Team),Heather Clark (Ugu) and Kat Steffen (eThekweni) compete for places in the Final.
In the Open Men’s Quarter Final Round 18 year old Luke Malherbe (Buffalo City) continued to impress and will fight it out for a place in the final against team mate and defending champion Greg Emslie, fellow Buffalo City surfer Simon Fish,Craig Johnson (Cape Town), Chris Frolich and Davey Van Zyl (both eThekweni).
The U20 Boys Quarter Finalists and Semi finalists had the crowd on their feet as the young surfers produced some power surfing in the small conditions in their attempts to reach the final four. In the end it was birthday boy Ntando Msibi (Presidents Team), Brandon Benjamin (Cape Town),Joshe Faulkner (Nelson Mandela Bay) and Devin Whitehead (eThekweni) who will contest the Final on Sunday.
Nicole Pallet (eThekweni) posted an 8.3 ride, one of the highest scores of the event so far and won the Freedom Surf Trophy for Day Three. She will be joined in the Final by Jade Story (uThungulu), Chanelle Botha (Ugu) and Gina Smith (Nelson Mandela Bay).
The Over 35 Mens Division got their first chance to sample the Alkantstrand waves on Day Three as did the Over 30 Womens Division. Heat winners in the Over 35 Mens group were defending champion Greg Emslie,Buffalo City teammate Tristan Johnson,Brad Sorour (Nelson Mandela Bay),Jaco Kapp (eThekweni) Sean Van Oettingen (uThungulu) and Lu Whittaker (Presidents Team).
In the Over 30 Womens Division Heather Clark, Tasha Mentasti, Tamarys de Maroussem and Bianca Bosman (Buffalo City) advanced to the semi finals.
The focus over the next two days will be on the “masters” age divisions which range from Over 35 to Over 60.
The 50th South African Surfing Championships are supported by Sport and Recreation SA, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Reef Wetsuits, Zigzag, the Zululand Observer, the uMhlatuze Community Tourism Organisation, the City of uMhlatuze and Monster Energy.
Heats,contest schedule and photos for the 2016 Citroën SA National Championships are updated each day on www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za
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Updated results are posted on facebook.co/zulusurfriders and twitter.com/zulusurfriders.
The event partner websites are www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za www.zulusurfriders.co.za and www.zululandobserver.co.za
Surfing South Africa is the governing body for the sport in South Africa and is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).