The 2009 South African Championships will kick off in St Mikes

St Mikes, the power point break on the Southern KZN coast will host the 2009 South Coast Tourism South African Surfing Championships, which gets under way this Thursday (May 28) and ends on Sunday (May 31).
Over 100 surfers representing six provincial teams will be action in four different divisions for Men and Women and they will be competing in South Africa's longest running event.

All the participating surfers have been selected for their provincial teams after competing in rigorous trials and will not only be focused on achieving individual glory in one of the four divisions but will also be surfing for team honours and the winning of the 40 year old Presidents Cup.

This will be the seventh time that the Southern KZN Surfing Association will be hosting the premier championship on the Surfing South Africa calendar and the sixth time that St Mikes will play host to the event.

Southern KZN Surfing Association hosted its first ever SA Championships at Trafalgar in the mid 70's.
Although the talented Southern KZN surfers have never won the Presidents Cup they came a close second to neighbours KZN in 2003 when the event last took place on the shores of St Mikes.

Southern Natal has produced a couple of Men's and Women's champions in Mark Brodowicz, who won the National title in 1978 in East London, the year his brother Ant won the World Championship title at the same venue and Brian Jacobs, who took honours in 1983.
Southern KZN home grown products, Heather Clark, Kay Holt and Sarah Maritz have won a bunch of Women's titles between them but of the three only Clark, the defending champion will be competing. As usual she is in the Southern KZN team and her local knowledge, experience and determination must make her the favourite to successfully defend her crown.

In 2003 when the SA Championships was last held at St Mikes, Quintin Jones of Western Province won the Open Men's title but he is not competing this year.
2008 Men's champion Shaun Payne will be back surfing for provincial champions Eastern Province this year and the Cape St Francis local is out to make it two in a row.

The only surfer to win the Men's division two years in a row was Chris Knutsen of KZN, when he in fact achieved a hat trick in 1979, 1980 and 1981.
In 1987 Knutsen won a fourth title and remains the only surfer in history to be the South African Open Men\'s champion four times.

In 1996 local hero Gary van Wieringen was runner up in the SA Championships and he is surfing for Southern KZN while former WCT surfers Paul Canning and Dan Redman are included in a determined KZN lineup.

In the U20 Boys division 2007 champion Klee Strachan is surfing for Boland, recent Quiksilver Pro Junior winner Kyle Lane is in the strong KZN while 2009 SA Junior team member Mikey February is surfing for WP.

Surfers who will give Clark a tough time in the Women\'s division include 2006 SA Champion Penny Stemmet of Boland, 2008 runner up Stacey Guy of WP,Tasha Mentasti and Tammy Lee Smith of KZN, WQS ranked Nikita Robb of Border and Faye Zoetmulder of EP.

2008 Under 20 girls champion Bianca Buitendag is not competing this year which means that the smart money will be on Tarryn Chudleigh of WP who is currently competing on the WQS and is a former national champion in this division. She faces her biggest threats from arch rival and 2007 champion Chantelle Rautenbach of Boland, 2009 SA Junior team member Sarah Baum of KZN and Borders Alice Mc Gregor.

Victoria Bay is her local break but, glancing at her recent brilliant contest results, it doesn't seem to matter much where she surfs.

Teams will gather at the Backline in Margate at 6pm on Wednesday night (May 27) for the Opening Function and the event will run from Thursday May 28 to Sunday May 31.

The Team List is posted on http://www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za/ and updated heats and each day\'s results will be posted after 8pm from May 28 on http://www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za/ .


SOURCE: Surfing South Africa