Mark Watts claims the 2009 Wedge Classic at Plettenberg Bay | Photo: Gareth White

For one week, each winter, Plettenberg Bay has opened its arms to and become home to the bodyboarding community as the Wedge Classic comes to town - a contest which has become one of the most anticipated events on the SABA Circuit calendar. The Wedge is a super-fun, contestable wave which at a few metres from shore makes it a great spectator event and with beach and evening activities always on the go, the event's drawcard is as much social as it is competitive.

This year, however, the contest was at risk of not happening; the previous organisers, Wave Crest Distribution, are sadly no longer in business and unlike other contests on the circuit, there is no local provincial association to run the event. So two months prior to the event, a rescue mission was hatched - to save the contest for 2009 - with an aim of bigger and better for 2010.

Credit must go to the local organising committee which was set-up hastily before the event - if you were going to get involved in running an event for the first time, you'd want more than a few weeks to prepare. However, I would like to pay special tribute to the contest director, Pat Harris, who for those of us who know what she does she has earned a lot of respect. secondly, to Ian Kruger and Bitou Tourism - without Ian stepping in to approach and broker the sponsorship deal with Bitou, this event would not have got off the ground in the first place.

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Adam Luehman 

After an agonising wait the first Round of ‘The 2009 Nomad Shark Island Challenge’ finally got underway in what some are claiming to be suicidal conditions. The anticipated Easterly swell delivered waves in the 2m range with its direction causing some major headaches for some of the riders.
 
The first two heats saw some incredible action and commitment with competitors copping the full fury of an angry Shark Island. With the swell hitting the reef straight on wave knowledge was the leading edge to success.

To open up proceedings Heat 1 saw a massive wipe out from Glen Thurston.  Arguably un-makeable, Thurston lined himself up for a date with the reef which resulted in two severely lacerated ankles and minor bruising to the side of his back.

Tamarama's Jose Marquina managed to find a few clean ones as did South Coast charger Jason Finlay who used all of his reef knowledge to acquire some solid tube time.

As the heat progressed the crowd went wild for 1999 SIC Champion Christian "Rissole" Riguccini. Rissole surfed his heat well finding the tube on most of his waves and coming close to  scoring the tube of the day only being denied on a pinching ‘Surge” section..

As Heat 2 got underway QLD's Nick Omerod seemed to fit in well, slotting into a copy of hectic barrels in the opening 15mins only to receive a perforated eardrum in the later stages of the heat.

Omerod sustained the injury on a smaller more robust wedge. As he was driving through the barrel the shock wave basically blasted straight into his left eardrum. Upon closer examination from the land based lifeguard Omerod was advised to seek further medical attention.

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Nazaré World Master 

The 4Lines Sport´s Concepts SA, the City hall of Nazaré and Nazaré Qualifica, E.M., want to communicate to the entire world bodyboard community, the cancellation of the Nazaré World Master, that would take place in Praia do Norte - Nazaré, during November 2009.

This postponement is due to  financial reasons mainly,  that affect directly, the realization of this event , that would promote our sport in an international level, regarding TV, video, general press and online media.

We believe that Praia Norte of Nazaré will be, in a short-term period, one of the best stages of the IBA World Tour.

From our side we will do everything to change mentalities in Portugal in order  to offer the best conditions to the all IBA riders.

Is our wish to innovate in terms of communication and promotion of our sport at a global level. For us, that is the only way that makes sense to start this event.

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