Sunday August 25th, Nahoon Reef, East London – Jeffreys Bay local Joshe Faulkner became the 54th South African Open Men’s Champion and local girl Zoe Steyn repeated her 2018 victory to win the Open Women’s Division Championship in 4 – 5 foot Nahoon Reef surf at the 2018 Mercedes–Benz SA Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo City Municipality.

Steyn, who was representing Buffalo City Surfriders, was awarded the Dave Fish Trophy for being the most consistent surfer at the event.

Faulkner has represented South Africa at the 2015 ISA World Junior Championships in Ecuador where he came second in the U16 Division. In 2015, he won the Under 20 Division at the South African Championships in Richards Bay. His victory is the third in as many years by surfers who have strong backhand attacks on the powerful Nahoon Reef surf. In 2017 Brandon Benjamin took the title and last year year it went to another Cape Town surfer with a competitive backand, Jordy Maree. Steyn is also backhand at Nahoon Reef

Runner up in the Open Men’s Final, Tyrell Johnson of Buffalo City Surfriders, made a massive impression throughout the contest and although he did not win the Men’s title he was awarded the Surfer of the Contest Trophy for his efforts in this and the Over 35 division from Day One. Buffalo City teammate, Bryce du Preez came third.

For Zoe Steyn, this victory underlines the reason why she was included in the Mercedes-Benz Buffalo City SA team that will travel to Japan in 10 days to compete in the ISA World Surfing Games, an Olympic Qualifying event.

The legendary Heather Clark of Ugu Surfriders came second in the Open Women’s division for the third year in a row. Clark is a former WSL Championship tour surfer, a former World Masters Champion and an eight time South African Open Women’s Champion. She won her first South African Championship title at Nahoon Reef in 1989.

Sophie Bell of eThekweni Surfriders came third while Buffalo City surfer Adriel Wolmarans was fourth.

In the Over 35 Men’s Division, Tyrell Johnson made up for a technical error that cost him this title last year, when he beat Buffalo City teammate Devyn Mattheys into second place. Jacques Antoine of Cape Town Surfriders was third and Orrin Johnson of Buffalo City came fourth.

The Over 30 SA Women’s title was won for the third year in a row by Heather Clark with Tasha Mentasti of Cape Town Surfriders repeated her 2018 runner up spot. Michelle Van Kempen of Nelson Mandela Bay was third again and Cindy Anderson of Buffalo City came fourth.

Greg Emslie added a fourth Over 40 title to his list of achievements with a dominating performance in this final. Warwick Heny of Nelson Mandela Bay was second, and Emslie’s Buffalo City team mates, Tristan Johnson and Graeme Field were third and fourth respectively.

An elated Gary Van Wieringen of Ugu Surfriders won the Over 45 Division when he narrowly beat the defending champion Wayne Monk of Buffalo City into second place. Pieter Ben Van Rhijn of Nelson Mandela Bay was third and Kevin O Brien of Buffalo City came fourth.

Adding to Buffalo City’s list of successes at the 2019 Mercedes–Benz SA Championships hosted by Buffalo City, was a victory for David Malherbe in the Over 50 Division where he beat the 2018 winner and Buffalo City teammate Gareth Sepp into second place. David’s brother, Andre, came third and Sean Jerram of Cape Town Surfriders was fourth.

Nahoon Reef local Nick Pike added another gold medal to the Buffalo City haul when he won the Over 55 title for the second time. Pike beat Buffalo City stalwart Mike Brent into second place with Reg Horne of eThekweni taking third ahead of Andre Venter of Nelson Mandela Bay.

In the Over 60 Final, Gordon Harmer of Buffalo City pulled out all the stops to beat Warren Wareing of Ugu Surfiders, Bruce Anderson of Cape Town Surfriders and David Lipschitz of Nelson Mandela Bay in the final.

All the winners took home the coveted Surfing South Africa floating trophies, gold medals and earned R750 in cash.

The Buffalo City Surfriders team retained the 47 year old Presidents Cup for the highest scores in the Open Divisions. Nelson Mandela Bay came second, followed by iLembe Surfriders, Ugu Surfriders, Cape Town Surfriders, the Rising Stars and eThekweni Surfriders.

Buffalo City won the Masters Cup for the 14th year in a row, beating Nelson Mandela Bay, Ugu, iLembe, Cape Town and eThekweni.

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

All the heat results days are posted on Photos and videos are available on Surfing South Africa’s facebook page @ Surfing SA and online at Zigzag.

The 54th edition of the South African Surfing Championships began was held at Nahoon Reef and Nahoon Corner. Four of the five days of competition were held at Nahoon Reef and one day was held at Nahoon Corner courtesy of some huge surf that hit East London midweek.

Over 120 surfers representing seven teams competed in the 2019 Mercedes-Benz SA Championships hosted by Buffalo City and supported by Sport and Recreation SA.

At the Award Ceremony Mercedes-Benz South Africa was represented Mr. Abey Kgotle and Ms Thembeka Sigabi and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality was represented by Mr. Manelisi Lwana. Surfing South Africa President Johnny Bakker, Vice President Bongani Xulu, Deputy President Bruce Anderson and Board Members Alvin Mtatshi, Ann Wright and Shirley Fairall were also present.

Zoe Steyn. Photo Pierre de Villiers

Joshe Faulkner. Photo Pierre de Villiers