Heather Clark

South African Surfing Champion, 2008 ISA World Masters Women’s Champion and former World Championship Tour surfer, Heather Clark, is in hospital today after being seriously injured in a car accident near her home in Port Shepstone Thursday (October 22).

According to reports an alleged drunk driver lost control of his vehicle and smashed into the Ford Escort that Heather was driving splitting it in two.

She suffered a serious head injury that required 22 stitches and is being assessed for other injuries at the Hibiscus Coast Hospital today.

The alleged drunk driver, who was uninjured, was arrested after the accident and spent the night in jail.

Heather has no medical aid and apart from a small surf and swimming school, is not employed. Her injuries will not only cost her a fortune in medical expenses but will prevent her from earning an income while she recovers.

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Rip Curl Pro Search

As of 11am, the Rip Curl Pro Search has gone ON HOLD until 2pm. This morning saw Heats 9 through 12 of Round 1 completed at Lagido before the tide ped too low. Event organizers have opted to go ON HOLD until 2pm where they will reconvene at Lagido to assess a possible restart. Highlights from this morning’s action can be found at http://live.ripcurl.com

This morning’s press release:

The Rip Curl Pro Search is called on this morning, with the back half of Round 1 taking on the clean four-to-five (1 – 1.5 metre) lefthanders of the backup site of Lagido, ning at 9am.

Stop No. 9 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search ran the opening eight heats of Round 1 yesterday at the third backup venue of Molhe Leste, but with more favorable winds for the other side of the peninsula projected for the day, event organizers have opted for the reeling lefthanders of Lagido in hopes of running as many heats as possible.

“We have much more favorable conditions on offer today but the winds were looking a bit onshore at Supertubes and much cleaner at the backup venue of Lagido,” Damien Hardman, Rip Curl Pro Search Contest Director, said. “It’s high tide right now and we’re still seeing some good waves come through and we expect it to improve as the tide' s out.”

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Marlon Lipke

The Rip Curl Pro Search got underway today in clean two-to-three foot (1 metre) wedging righthanders at Molhe Leste, where the world’s best surfers carved, snapped and aired their way through the opening eight heats of Round 1.

Event No. 9 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search operated at its third backup site today – the primary venue of Supertubes being destroyed by large surf and surging tides two nights ago and the backup sites of Lagido and Belgas buffeted by onshore winds today. Opting to run the new competition format, featuring man-on-man elimination heats from the outset, today’s Round 1 action saw no shortage of upsets, with five of the eight higher-seeded surfers eliminated from competition.

Marlon Lipke (DEU), 25, 2009 ASP World Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 44, scored a major victory today, defeating fellow rookie Michel Bourez (PYF), 23, utilizing an aggressive backhand approach to post the day’s highest heat total of a 14.66 out of a possible 20, and advance through to Round 2.

“I saw Michel (Bourez) free-surfing this morning and he surfed amazing,” Lipke said. “I thought to myself, ‘I just have to get the better waves’. Lucky, I did manage to get them. It feels so good, I forgot how good it feels to get through a heat as I haven’t got through one all year!”

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