After gathering at an enthusiastic Opening Function on Tuesday August 20th surfers in the 2019 Mercedes–Benz South African Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality got down to business on Day One of the event at Nahoon Reef today (Wednesday August 21st).

Early morning conditions were excellent but by midday the wind had turned onshore and the surf had deteriorated.

Despite the onshore surf, a handful of surfers posted some excellent scores with Tyrell Johnson (Buffalo City Surfriders), the standout. His heat total of 17 points out of a possible 20 in the Over 35 Division was the highest on the day and he became the first recipient of a set of Mach fins. The surfer with the highest heat score on each day of competition wins a set of these performance surfboard fins.

The next highest score was 16 out of 20 which was posted by defending South African Women’s Champion and National Team member Zoe Steyn (Buffalo City Surfriders) while Jake Elkington (Cape Town Surfriders) 15 out of 20 was the third highest score on the day.

Also showing his mettle in the tricky surf was Joshe Faulkner (Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders) whose 8 point ride and 12,67 was the fourth highest heat score on Day One of the 54th South African Surfing Championships.

Other surfers to win their Open Division heats were Liam de Villiers ( iLembe Surfriders), Bryce du Preez, Tyrell Johnson and Devyn Mattheys (all Buffalo City Surfriders), Simo Mkhize (Ugu Surfriders), as well as Paul Sampson and Ethan Fletcher (both Cape Town Surfriders).

Joining Zoe Steyn in the Open Women’s Division winners enclosure were eight time South African Champion Heather Clark (Ugu Surfriders), Aimee du Preez ( Buffalo City Surfriders) and National Junior Team member Kayla Nogueira (eThekweni Surfriders).

Tyrell Johnson, his brother Orrin, Buffalo City Surfrider’s teammate Devyn Mattheys and Ryan Halkett (Cape Town Surfriders) all won their first round heats in the Over 35 Division.

Conditions are expected to improve dramatically on Day Two of the Championship which will end with the presentation of all nine division Finals on Sunday August 25th.

The Mercedes–Benz SA Championships hosted by Buffalo City is the premier event on the Surfing South Africa calendar and features surfers in the Open Men’s and Women’s Divisions as well seven other age groups ranging from Over 30 to Over 60.

Over the 54 years that organised surf contests have taken place in South Africa, the powerful right handed Nahoon Reef waves  have been the venue for numerous iconic South African Surfing Championships as well as the 1978 ISA World Surfing Championships and two Gunston 500’s.

The annual South African Championships is one of the longest running surfing tournaments in the World and Buffalo City has hosted more National Championships than any other in South Africa.

This is the third year in a row that Mercedes–Benz and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality have partnered with Surfing South Africa to showcase South Africa’s surfing talent, crown nine new South African Champions and determine which team will win the coveted Presidents Cup, the Masters Cup and the Champions Trophy.

The support of these two iconic brands extends to the National Surfing Team which travels to the ISA World Surfing Games in Japan on September 2 in an attempt to qualify South African surfers for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

All of Day one’s heat results and the rest of the week’s rounds are posted on

Once logged into anyone with a smart phone, laptop or PC will be able to view real time scores in every heat through each round.

Daily results and photos are posted on Surfing South Africa’s Facebook page, Surfing SA.

The 2018 Mercedes–Benz South African Surfing Championships are hosted by Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and supported by Sport and Recreation SA.

The event is presented by Surfing South Africa in association with the Buffalo City Surfriders and produced by Accelerate Marketing.

Tyrell Johnson photo Pierre de Villiers

Zoe Steyn photo by Pierre de Villiers