Young EL surfers make a splash
Team now hopes to improve on effort next year and take top spot
Buffalo City junior surfriders were in top form when they took part in the 2018 Sea Harvest SA Junior Surfing Championships in Jeffrey's Bay recently.
In a great overall showing, the juniors put in their best performance at the champs since they finished as runners-up in 2003, this time ending third behind champions Cape Town Surfriders and second-placed eThekweni Surfriders. The top two were extremely close, with CT Surfriders ending on 45375 points and eThekweni on 45140, while Buffalo City came in on 42965 in third, well ahead of the fourth-placed hosts Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders who finished on 38066 points.
“It was a very good performance. Just a few things that didn't go our way, some tight calls which made quite a difference in where we finished,” said Buffalo City Surfriders team manager Kevin O' Brien.
“It was a great performance and it is a young team with many of the surfers still in the same age groups for next year.”
On the individual front, the Buffalo team emerged with two SA champions.
The ever impressing Zoe Steyn went in as favourite and duly claimed the U16 title, adding another piece of silverware to her ever-growing trophy case.
She had already become the youngest ever women's winner of the SA surfing championships in August and followed that up by becoming the youngest ever women to represent a South African senior sports team when she took part in the UR ISA World Surfing Games in Tahara, Japan, in September and more will be expected of this constantly rising talent.
The other Buffalo City SA champ came from another young rising talent, Aimee du Preez, who enjoyed a fantastic contest and sealed it with a win in the U14 girls’ division.
“Zoe and Aimee are both stand-outs in their age division. Zoe will be in the U16 division again next year while Aimee is one of the few who will be moving up,” said O'Brien.
A number of other Buffalo City surfers City enjoyed top placings as well to finish on the podium.
Adriel Wolmarans finished second to Du Preez in the U14 division that was dominated by the Buffalo City Surfers.
In the U16 boys division, Mitch du Preez was in top form but just missed out on first place which went to Tide Lee Ireland from eThekweni. Du Preez had to settle for second.
Another up-and-coming Buffalo City talent is young Daniel Emslie, who impressed in the SA Champs in August. He took that momentum into the junior champs and although unable to take the win in the U14 division, he did finish runner-up and was named male Surfer of the contest.
In the U18 girls’ division Buffalo City's Tayla de Coning managed a third place finish, while Josh Malherbe took third in the U12 boys’ division and Joel Fowles just missed out on the podium by finishing fourth in the same division.
After such an impressive showing the team will now hope to improve on that effort next year and take top spot.
“We are already starting to put training in place for next year’s champs and we are hoping to give it a big push to finish [on] top,” said O'Brien.
“Dave Malherbe is the team’s coach and plays a very important role. He gives a lot of advice to the surfers before they go out and that has a big impact.
“Having a good coach is important and we are lucky here in East London to have some of the best coaches in the country.”
AWESOME FOURSOME: Buffalo City junior surfriders Zoe Steyn, Tayla de Coning, Mitch du Preez and Bryce du Preez received SA national surfing colours at the opening of the 2018 SA Junior Champs in Jeffery’s Bay.