The final day of Champs saw the best of the best fight it out at Alkanstrand in Richards bay, on Friday the 3rd of October.
In the Pro Semi finals Jared Houston, Alistair Taylor, Ian Campbell andMark Watts all fell to the wayside with Mark McCarthy, Derek Footit, Charles Pass and Michael "Rat" Ostler then fighting it out in the final.
Despite exceptionally challenging and inconsistent 2-3 feet waves and onshore winds, Mark McCarthy (NKZN), dug deep and used his local knowledge to his advantage, managing to keep Charles Pass (CKZN), at bay to become the 2008 SA Pro Division Champion. As soon as McCarthy left the water, after the buzzer had signalled the end of the heat, he was carried up the beach, smiling atop the shoulders of his friends. His performance was so convincing that everyone knew he had won even before the results were announced. Pass claimed 2nd with Ostler and Footit placing 3rd and 4th respectively.
From the outset the Drop Knee final looked like anyone's game with light riders having less difficulty negotiating the small conditions. The occasional big section meant that any rider who could successfully land a solid move off the end section had a very good chance of sneaking ahead. No one held back. Current SABA Circuit DK Champ, Sacha Specker (WP), started with a nice backhand floater followed by a well controlled snap - Game On! Sean Tickner (CKZN) took off on a bigger one and pulled into a messy barrel, which he somehow managing to hold onto. Warren Canepa (EP) tried a layback shack, quickly paddled back out and caught another nice set wave. Canepa put all on the line with a massive grab rail floater turn off the end section...Could he hold onto the biggest move of the heat so far and take the lead? Unfortunately not.
The valley between the whitewater and curtain denied him, Warren was now in trouble. Specker racked up a second good wave with a well controlled, but safe backhand floater that had his WP team mates cheering. Tickner found another set, with no big section out back he popped a quick reverse 360 on the face and did a small floater off the end section. Aden Kleve now, nice big floater, and then feeling the urgency, another smaller wave with a good backhand snap. In the end, Canepa's, failure to land any of his massive moves saw him getting 4th, Kleve took 3rd, Tickner slotted in 2nd and Sacha Specker convincingly claimed his second SA Champs DK title in a row!
In the Ladies final former Ladies World Champion, Karla Costa Taylor (SKZN), dominating throughout and showed no signs of fatigue following her 2 year absence from competition. A big surprise was Janneke De Kok (WP), who some thought was just lucky to even be in the final, amazed everyone by coming in 2nd ahead of Lizel van Vollenhoven (SKZN), who placed 3rd and Monique Gresse (NKZN) in 4th.
Masters saw 2 Boland Riders in the final, namely Paul Basson and Gustav Botha, as well as long term competitor Kevin Williams (SKZN), and Alkandstrand Local / contest organizer John Cawood (NKZN). In the end Basson won convincingly with Cawood doing well to steal second from Botha in 3rd and Williams in 4th.
Wayne Du Preez (CKZN), won the Men's Division ahead of an on form Rayner Venter (SKZN), who got a well deserved second. Placing third was Murray Jones (EP) followed by Jeff Davies (CKZN).
In a tightly contested Juniors final, David Lilianfeld (WP) surprised everyone when he busted the only flip of the heat, on a borrowed board, right in front of cheering spectators in the dying minutes. As surprising was Iain Campbell (CKZN), who surfed all the way to the final having used only one fin for the entire comp, due to an injury. Lilienfeld didn't even have and decent board for the comp and was super stoked to receive a new Science board as part of his prize for winning the divsion. Grant van der Wagen (SKZN), placed 2nd, followed by Ian Campbell (CKZN) in 3rd and Dane Klusner (SKZN) in 4th.
Prize giving took place at the Richards bay Country Club, a closing thanks to all the sponsors and those involved in the running of the event by the host chair, John Cawood and a short message by newly elected South African Bodyboarding Association Chairman, Derek Footit, before the prize giving got underway.
The first award of the evening was the Chris Elliott "Mothers Pride" Trophy for the year's best "Sly Guy", the best invert caught on camera. This award was presented by Noleen Kleve who read a touching message from Chris' mother Jackie Jorgenson. The winners of this inaugural trophy were, Ian Thurtell, for the best invert and Michel Dei-Cont for snapping the picture.
Next up was the Ivan Friedman Sportsmanship Trophy. The trophy was awarded to SKZN Boys rider, Michael Mynhardt, who was always around helping out and getting involved during the event. He picked up the trophy as well as a weekend for 4 people at the Richards Bay Caravan Park.
Products from Science Bodyboards, Reef Wetsuits, Ocean & Earth and Ocean Eyewear were awarded to the winners and finalists in the Boys, Juniors, Men's, Masters, Ladies and Drop Knee divisions as well as to the events top judges. The Pro Division finalists and semi-finalists were awarded cash prizes sponsored by B-Smart Communications. The final award of the evening was the coveted Fishman Trophy, awarded annually to the top provincial team. Once again it was the team from Central KwaZulu-Natal who lifted the trophy. This was the 20th time the CKZN team have won the award in the 22 years of competition.
Provincial placings are as follows:
1. Central Kwa-Zulu Natal
2. Southern Kwa-Zulu Natal
3. Western Province
4. Eastern Province
5. Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal
7. Southern Cape
A huge thank you everyone who contributed towards the success of the 22nd Annual Science/Reef South African Bodyboarding Champs, which was presented by Zululand Fever and proudly sponsored by Science Bodyboards and Reef Wetsuits in association with Ocean and Earth, Ocean Eyeware, B Smart Communications, Steers, Upperdeck Restaurant, Form-Scaff, Lockt_In and Alliance Graphics.
Next year sees the Boland Bodyboarding Association hosting the 23rd Annual South African Bodyboarding Championships and it is sure to be another epic and fun filled affair.