Gavin Roberts

Competitors in the first round of the Men's and Under 20 Boys Divisions of the 2009 South Coast Tourism South African Surfing Championships were treated to typical six foot St Mikes surf on Day One of this premier Surfing South Africa event and made the best of the conditions.

In the Men\'s division Southern KZN surfers used their local knowledge to produce four heat winners in Gary Van Wieringen, Dereck Footit, Ryan Balfour and Gavin Roberts who all advanced to Round Four. Another SKZN surfer, Wynand Louw, came second and advances to Round Three.

Border secured three wins with former two time SA Champion Wayne Monk, Philip Malherbe and 2007 SA Champion Devyn Mattheys advancing to Round Four while teammate Tyrell Johnson's second place sees him in Round Three.

Josh Salie and Brandon Roberts were Round One winners for Western Province and David Richards posted a second place while Llewellyn Whittaker was the only Boland Round One winner. Teammates Peder Christensen, Johan Kriek and Mikhail Thompson secured second place finishes and will advance to Round Three alongside Paul Canning, Wes O'Driscoll, Michael Vawda and Manfred Adrio of KZN and defending champion Shaun Payne of Eastern Province.

Dylan Stone of Eastern Province won his heat and advances to Round Four as does Dylan Stewart of KZN.

First round upsets included that of WQS surfer Dan Redman of KZN who is in the repercharge round along with 2008 finalist and SA Team captain Ryan Payne of EP.

In the Under 20 Boys Division Western Province and KZN posted two wins each in Mikey February and Jaco Steyn and Chris Leppan and Haydn Mc Nicol respectively while 2007 U20 champion Klee Strachan of Boland secured a win as did Remi Petersen of Eastern Province.

Mbongeni Hlengwa, a SSA Lotto Scholarship recipient, and Southern KZN teammate David Defillipi as well as Donovan Zoetmulder of Eastern Province, Bolanders Jacob Mellish and Tommie Kruger and KZN surfer Shawn Dennis all secured second spots in their respective Round One heats and advanced to Round Three.

The major upsets in this division was the third place finish by former SA Under 20 Champion Kyle Lane of KZN who will now have to fight his way out of the repercharge round.

This is the seventh time that the Southern KZN Surfing is hosting the South African Championships and the sixth time that St Mikes is the venue for the event. Support by South Coast Tourism is unique for the tournament as it is the first time that a tourism body has ever sponsored the South African Surfing Championships.

The opening function was held at Backline in Margate at 6pm on Wednesday night (May 27) and the event will conclude with the finals in the Men's, Women's, Under 20 Boys and Under 20 Girls Divisions on Sunday May 31.

Teams and the results of Day One's first round heats are posted on http://www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za/ and the venue can be viewed on webcam each day by going to http://www.margate.co.za/.

The contest is presented by Surfing South Africa (SSA) who are recognised by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA) as the governing body for the sport in South Africa. The host province is Southern KZN which affiliated to the national body back in 1971.

SSA is made up of six provinces: Boland, Border, Eastern Province, KwaZulu Natal, Southern KZN and Western Province. The South African Bodyboarding Association, the South African Longboarding Association and the South African Students Surfing Union are also affiliated to Surfing South Africa.

SSA sanctions the annual Pro Surf Tour (PST), coordinates and runs National Surfing Championships, selects National teams and is responsible for the administration of the sport. See http://www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za/ for more information.

The 2009 South African Surfing Championships is presented by Surfing South Africa, hosted by Southern KZN Surfing and supported by South Coast Tourism


SOURCE: Surfing South Africa