Jordy Smith: he rules South Africa | Photo: Zigzag Magazine

The 2010 South African Surfing Awards, presented by Zigzag and Surfing South Africa in association with Paarl Media and Carling Black Label, saw a number of South Africa’s top surfers and pioneers recognized for their achievement or contributions to South Africa’s surf landscape last night (Sunday 4th July).

Jordan Michael Smith, better known as Jordy to everyone in the water, was crowned SA surfer of the Year to a rapturous applause from the crowd at the annual event, solidifying his growing reputation as one of the world’s most exciting surfers, as well as South Africa’s reputation as one of the leaders in world surfing.

In a short space of time Jordy has a gone from dominating the junior ranks to being a world beater, leaping up to 11h place on the 2009 year end ASP ratings. The tall Durban natural footer is currently holding down the number two slot. With nine times world champion Kelly Slater (current number one) and Australian Taj Burrow (current number three), the trio hold a comfortable lead over the rest of the pack.

But it’s not only Jordy’s charge for the title that cracked him the prestigious nod. His groundbreaking freesurfing performances over the past year are testament to his freakish ability and he has been widely claimed as some of the most innovative surfing ever.

Recipients of other major awards on the evening were Cape Town big wave rider Chris Bertish, whose underdog performance in the Mavericks contest certainly helped sway the decision to give him the ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ title.

Bertish has risen to the top of the big wave pack over the last few years, and has become a key player in the SA big wave movement. At the Mavericks event, the modest South African walked away with gold in conditions called by many as ‘the biggest surf ever for a contest’.

Along with the likes of Grant Baker (Durban), Bertish has been instrumental in putting South Africa’s name on top. The ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ award is by no means limited to big wave accomplishments, but it was once again a big wave surfer who raised his hand for the award this year.

Three more South African legends were also inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame, namely Peers Pittard, Christine Petrucci (1942-2009) and Hugh Roe. Classic archive photos of Peers, Christine and Hugh accompanied the legends as they were honoured. Christine’s award was accepted on her behalf by her son and daughter.

The Surf Photographer of the Year award was deservedly won by Greg Ewing (Durban), whose continued hard work and dedication to the art has helped him emerge as the country’s leading surf photographer over the past 12 months. The award was decided by a public vote and a prestigious panel that included Surfer Magazine photo editor Grant Ellis, Surfing Magazine photo editor Peter Taras, and legendary SA lensman Chris van Lennep.

The Blowing Up Performer Award, awarded to the country’s most exciting up and coming junior surfer under the age of 20, was presented to Beyrick de Vries (Umhlanga) who has wreaked havoc on the local contest scene, stepped it up overseas with an impressive ASP WQS campaign beyond his years, captained the SA team, and set the benchmark with his freesurfing.

Cecil Solomon (Cape Town) was given the Agent of Change award. The award goes to an individual, group or body who embodies this spirit of transformation, spreading the stoke of surfing among all communities and at all levels.

Cecil has done exactly that for more than 20 years, as founder of the country’s first non-racial surf club, and growing through the ranks of the unified sporting body to become president of Surfing South Africa. His energy has remained focused on grass roots level surfing, and he has achieved it all with a humble approach and nothing but the love the surfing as his reward.

Thanks to a generous sponsorship by Carling Black Label, Brandon Jackson and Steven Price were able to walk away with 6 and 12 month supplies of the product for the best 80’s getout and most ridiculous 80’s kit respectively.

Both ASP Africa and Surfing South Africa were integral to the South African Surfing Awards again this year, and South Africa’s top surfers on the domestic circuits were honoured on the evening. The floating trophies for ASP Africa went to Royden Bryson from Cape Town (Men’s Division), Chad du Toit from Durban (Pro Junior Men) and Sarah Baum from Durban (Pro Junior Women).

The Surfing South Africa Pro Surf Tour winners were Bianca Buitendag from George (Pro Junior Girls), Chris Leppan from Umhlanga Rocks (Pro Junior Boys), Chantal Rautenbach from Melkbos Strand (Women) and Warner Beach powerhouse Gary van Wieringen in the Men’s. All the tour winners, along with the recipients of the various other awards, were presented with giant canvases of themselves surfing to commemorate the evening.

South African surfers who qualified for the World Tour include Nikita Robb (East London), Rosy Hodge (East London), Travis Logie (Durban) and Jordy Smith (Durban).

Alan Stokes: he's stoked, of course

The weeks Sri Lanka Champion of Champions Surf Contest saw two new champions, some great weather and perfect conditions. UK Pro Surf Tour Champion Alan Stokes from Newquay and Welsh Champion Beth Mason showed stunning form in 3 to 4 ft conditions to take the top spots on the podium at one of the year’s most prestigious contests.

Organised by the UK Pro Surf Association (UKPSA), the event saw one of the largest ever entries with over 50 contestants travelling from all over the world to bid for this major title at Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka.

The swell decreased over the week, offering up some challenging surf for competitors to test their skills and demonstrate to the judges what they can do in the clean conditions. The variety of moves and action on display was described by Head Judge Esther Spears as, “Definitely impressive – the best seen in many years. This shows a promising time for British surfing.”

The highest scoring wave of the day was from last years champion Alan Stokes, from Newquay. Who got a 9.50 point wave in the semi’s which then lead him into the man on man final against Reubin Pearce. Alan went onto to win this years Open, 2nd place going to Reubin Pearce (South Africa), 3rd to nineteen year old Stuart Campbell (Woolocombe) and 4th to Reubyn Ash (Bude).

The all Welsh Women on Women final, was a fight to the end. With Beth Mason winning the Sri Lankan Champion of Champions Women’s division by only a 0.77 lead, leaving Gwen Spurlock to pick up a very close 2nd place. The local division also saw some great surfing and all the equipment that was used for the competition was kindly donated to them by the sponsors. Throughout the contest training had been given to the locals in judging and other aspects of contest management, and they hope this gift will allow them to run their own contests raising what is already a high standard of surfing in the area.

This years Champion Alan Stokes, commented, “I am ecstatic to have won this event, after coming 2nd last year and in previous years, it feels likes it has been a long time coming. It has been really nice to have an event with great waves and a really cool atmosphere. Reubin and I came here three weeks before the event and we both finished in 1st and 2nd so it feels like the training has paid off.”

The results were as follows:


1.Alan Stokes (Newquay)
2.Reubin Pearce (South Africa)
3.Stuart Campbell (Woolocombe)
4.Reubyn Ash (Bude).


1.Beth Mason (Swansea)
2.Gwen Spurlock (Swansea)
3.Jo Dennison (Freshwater)
3. Raine Jackson (Whale Beach,Australia)


1.Asanka (Arugam Bay)
2.Santharuwan (Arugam Bay)
3.Milan (Arugam Bay)
4.Kavinthiran (Arugam Bay)

Caetano Vargas: newcomer gets the dollars

Once again the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 4-Star SuperSurf International was taken by a newcomer, this time two new faces made the Final. Caetano Vargas, 22, from Parana took his first ASP event at the SuperSurf International over Magno Pacheco, 21, from Sao Paulo.

In the Semifinals, both surfers defeated the favorites Renato Galvao and David do Carmo early in the morning of this Sunday. The competition started today with three surfers from Sao Paulo and one surfer from Parana, with the last wining the contest. On the semifinal Caetano defeated the two times Brazilian champion Renato Galvao.

"I'm so happy. Everything went perfect today, the waves came to me and all I had to do was to show my surfing. I had a very good start on the final, and after getting a very good lefthander the sets became inconsistent all I had to do after this was to control the heat," said Caetano Vargas.

"We all come to a contest like this, with lots of hope, but it's hard to really believe you can win," admitted Caetano Vargas. "But today was my day, now I'm leading the SuperSurf Internacional ranking, and I credit this win to all the training I've been doing this year."

Runner up Magno Pacheco took US$ 6,000 and jumped from the 73rd to the 8th position at the SuperSurf Internacional Circuit. Magno reached the grand final after defeating another surfer from Sao Paulo, David do Carmo.

When the surfers reach the water for the Grand Final, the sets were taking a long time to come. Caetano started the heat with a 7.83 followed by a 6.07 minutes later, as the sets became more and more scarce towards the end of the heat Magno Pacheco was left getting all the leftovers that went through, his best score was an 5.67.

"I tried everything, I risked every turn, but Caetano got the only two good waves that came through on the final," said Magno Pacheco. "I'm not unhappy for the second place, actually I'm stoked, and that's my first podium as a pro. Caetano was surfing great all week, congratulations to him."