What a fin­ish

Ben­jamin pips lo­cal star, Em­slie, to SA surf­ing ti­tle

Go! & Express - - Sport -

AN over­whelmed Bran­don Ben­jamin of Cape Town Surfrid­ers be­came the 52nd South African Men’s Cham­pion at Na­hoon Reef on Sun­day, beat­ing de­fend­ing cham­pion and five­time SA Cham­pion, Greg Em­slie, from East Lon­don on his home turf. Ben­jamin and Em­slie, of Buf­falo City Surfrid­ers, were very close surf­ing the 4- to 5-foot (1.2 to 1.5m) surf at the 2017 Mercedes -Benz SA Surf­ing Cham­pi­onships hosted by Buf­falo City Municipality.

Ear­lier this year the 20-year-old from Steen­berg rep­re­sented South Africa at the ISA World Surf­ing Games in France where Em­slie was the team coach.

His in­cred­i­ble vic­tory by a mere one point was greeted with joy by the mem­bers of the SWOT Surf Club, his Cape Town Surfrid­ers team­mates and by the crowd at the awards cer­e­mony.

Ben­jamin, who has come through Surf­ing South Africa’s pro­grammes, is one of the youngest surfers to win the cov­eted South African Open Men’s ti­tle. Cody Coet­see, 19, of Ugu Surfrid­ers was third and Chris Frolich of eThek­weni Surfrid­ers came fourth in the fi­nal.

Newly-crowned SA women’s cham­pion, Olivia Brand of eThek­weni Surfrid­ers, was another young surfer to up­set the odds when she beat eight­time SA cham­pion Heather Clark of Ugu Surfrid­ers. Brand has not been com­pet­ing reg­u­larly of late and her come­back at this sig­nif­i­cant event should help her change her mind. She dom­i­nated the fi­nal, beat­ing Clark by over five points. Dan­ica Stock­igt of Buf­falo City Surfrid­ers was third and Maya She­fer-Boswell of Cape Town Surfrid­ers took fourth place.

In the over 35 men’s divi­sion Tyrell John­son of Buf­falo City Surfrid­ers cel­e­brated his birth­day in style with a good win over de­fend­ing cham­pion Llewellyn Whit­taker of Eden. Tyrell’s brother, Or­rin, was third.

The over-30 women’s ti­tle was won by Heather Clark with Michelle van Kem­pen of Nel­son Man­dela Bay sec­ond and 2016 cham­pion Lynne Mackey of eThek­weni Surfrid­ers third. Tasha Men­tasti of Eden came fourth. Clark’s over­all per­for­mance dur­ing the six-day event earned her the Surfer of the Con­test Award.

Em­slie won the over-40 ti­tle beat­ing Buf­falo City team­mate Tris­tan John­son into sec­ond spot. Justin Maisch of Ugu Surfrid­ers was third. Em­slie’s con­sis­tent surf­ing through­out the cham­pi­onships saw him be­come the in­au­gu­ral re­cip­i­ent of the Dave Fish Tro­phy.

This tro­phy was in­tro­duced at this year’s SA Champs in me­mory of for­mer SSA board mem­ber and Buf­falo City Surfrid­ers pres­i­dent, Dave Fish, who passed away last year.

In a show of bril­liant surf­ing which re­sulted in the first 10-point ride of the event, Wayne Monk of Buf­falo City added the over-45 divi­sion SA ti­tle to the many na­tional ti­tles he

has won since win­ning the SA Cham­pi­onships at Na­hoon Reef for the first time in 1989. Monk beat de­fend­ing cham­pion Carl Roux of Ugu Surfrid­ers into sec­ond spot. BC Surfrid­ers stal­wart Gareth Sepp came third.

Adding to Buf­falo City’s list of suc­cess at the cham­pi­onships, was vic­tory for David Mal­herbe in the over 50 fi­nal. Dar­ryl Adam­son of Ugu Surfrid­ers was the run­ner-up and Richard Heath of Cape Winelands won bronze.

Mul­ti­ple world and South African cham­pion Chris Knut­sen of eThek­weni added another vic­tory notch to his belt when he beat Trevor Hansen of Nel­son Man­dela Bay Surfrid­ers into sec­ond place in the over-55 fi­nal. Nel­son Man­dela Bay chair­man An­dre Venter came third and Surf­ing SA deputy pres­i­dent Bruce An­der­son of Cape Town Surfrid­ers, took fourth place.

The old­est divi­sion was the over-60s who are known as the Su­per­vets and here Buf­falo City’s Gor­don Harmer beat Jeremy Zinn of Cape Town Surfrid­ers to win the ti­tle. David Lip­s­chitz of Nel­son Man­dela Bay was third.

Buf­falo City Surfrid­ers won the Pres­i­dents Cup for the high­est scores in the open di­vi­sions, with eThek­weni sec­ond fol­lowed by Cape Town, Ugu, Nel­son Man­dela Bay, Ilembe, Eden and Cape Winelands. Buf­falo City won the Mas­ters Cup for the 12th year in a row beat­ing Nel­son Man­dela Bay into sec­ond spot.

The in­au­gu­ral Cham­pi­ons Cup which is pre­sented to the Team that scores the high­est com­bined points to­tal went to the dom­i­nant Buf­falo City Team. eThek­weni came sec­ond, Nel­son Man­dela Bay were third fol­lowed by Cape Town.

All the heat re­sults, team re­sults and pho­tos from the six days of com­pe­ti­tion are posted on www.surf­in­g­southafrica.co.za

The 52nd edition of the South African Surf­ing Cham­pi­onships be­gan and ended at Na­hoon Reef with three of the five days tak­ing place at Na­hoon Cor­ner, courtesy of some huge storm surf that hit East Lon­don mid­week.

De­spite these chal­lenges the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SA Surf­ing Cham­pi­onships hosted by Buf­falo City and sup­ported by Sport and Re­cre­ation SA and the Na­tional Lot­ter­ies Com­mis­sion was a huge suc­cess. Over 150 surfers from eight dis­tricts com­peted in the cham­pi­onships which were held in great surf over six days.

Pic­ture: IAN THURTELL

MAK­ING WAVES: Bran­don Ben­jamin beat East Lon­don’s Greg Em­slie on his home turf to take the 2017 Mercedes -Benz SA Surf­ing Cham­pi­onships on Sun­day at Na­hoon Reef

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