The 2021 TyreLife Solutions South African Para Surfing Championships took place at New Pier in Durban on June 29th and 30th and 46 competitors from four provinces made their way to Durban’s Golden Mile to participate in the annual event. This was almost double the number of surfers who competed in the last SA Para Surfing Championships in 2019.
The event was hosted by Made for More, a local NPO that equips and empowers people with disabilities through sport and was sanctioned by Surfing South Africa, the National Governing body for the sport.
The weather played its part with a typical Durban winter day full of sunshine and warmth. The conditions and 3 – 4 waves on Saturday were perfect while Sunday offered 2-3 foot contestable conditions. The size of the waves took a lot of the surfers out of their comfort zone, but they continued to impress and break barriers with their will, determination, skill and bravery.
The event boasted multiple divisions and contestants were classified to make it a fair and level playing field for all competitors.
The Divisions were Stand, Kneel, Prone Unassist, Prone Assist, Blind and Visually Impaired,Waveski and All Ability.
Shining stars of the event were Jean Paul Veaudry of East London who dominated the Stand 2 (lower limb) division winning the gold, beating his friend and rival Antony Smyth of Hout Bay in the Western Cape in the Stand 1 (upper limb) division over all with the highest scoring ride of the event. Veaudry was awarded 9.5 out of a possible 10 points for one of his rides in the Final.
Nachman Balulu came all the way from Israel to secure a second spot in the Stand 2 (lower limb) division and a second overall in the stand. Caleb Swanepoel of Pinelands in the Western Cape took off on some of the biggest sets of the day securing a first in the Stand 3 (lower limb) division and a 4th overall.
The men’s kneel division was tightly contested between former SA Para Surfer Tyler Pike of Kommetjie in the Western Cape and newcomer David Williams of Glen Anil in KZN. In the end, it was David Williams who took the victory to win his first ever SA Para Surfing Championships after only surfing for a year. Deryck Sigwebela of Chatsworth in KZN came third and earned a bronze medal.
Tracy McKay of the Bluff in KZN, produced the ride of the day on Sunday, earning 9 points to win her division and beating close friend and fellow South African Para Surfing Team member Danie Nel of Cape Town. Both surfers will be representing South Africa at the ISA Para World Surfing Championships in the USA at the end of the year.
The highly contested Prone assist division attracted the highest number of competitors .
2020 ISA World Para Surfer silver medalist, Noluthando Makalima of Khayelitsha came into the event as the event favourite to win, however, in the fiercely competitive final, Alulutho Tshoba of Clare Estate, KZN, Natashia Siebert of Winkelspruit, KZN and Jodie Kroone of Hillcrest, KZN took first, second and third respectively while Noluthando had to settle for fourth spot.
Alulutho, who was the youngest competitor in her division at 14 years old, was definitely the most improved surfer of the event, pushing her limits and charging big waves. Her final heat score went into the excellent range with a 7.0 and an 8.0 giving her a heat total of 15 out of a possible 20.
Sunday May 30th was World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day, and it was fitting that Oliver Sinclair of Hillcrest, KZN who has MS won the Prone Assist division convincingly. Oliver won with an 8.5 and 8.0 for a heat total of 16.5 out of a possible 20. He beat James Sinclair of Morningside KZN who came second and Lwazi Matanga of Delft in the Western Cape who was third.
In the Blind and Visually Impaired unassist division, Erynn Geddie of Glenwood,KZN surfed exceptionally well throughout the event with all three of his heat scores in the excellent range. He beat current world number seven Sabelo Ngema of Eshowe, KZN and Danito Mondlane of Glenwood, KZN to become the 2021 South Africa Para Surfing Champion in this division.
Michele Macfarlane of Hout Bay in the Western Cape, who was competing in her first National event, won the Blind and Visually Impaired women’s division.
The Waveski division saw seasoned campaigner Doug Hendrikz of Kloof, KZN successfully defended his South African title, with newcomer and friend, Martin Ferreria of Pretoria, Tshwane, securing a second in his first National Championships.
The All Ability Division, which sees competitors with Down’s Syndrome, autism and any other physical, intellectual or social disability, was won by Sean Thompson of Ramsgate, KZN, who took the win convincingly with rides of an 8.5 and 7.8, resulting in a heat total of 16.3 out of 20.
Founder of Made for More and event organiser, Julia Van Zyl said, “This event would not have been possible without our sponsors, our monthly donors and of course the water-assists and volunteers who give of their time and skills so selflessly to help our contestants get waves and keep them safe in and out of the water. We feel so privileged and honoured to be a part of Para Surfing and the growth of sport for people with disabilities in South Africa.
“Spectators and the general community were screaming and cheering the surfers on, encouraging them on every single wave caught. This is not a usual occurrence at a surfing competition, but this past weekend was something special. The vibe on the beach was loud, full of joy, laughs, pride and tears.”
Results of the Tyre Life Solutions South African Para Surfing Championships are as follows:
Stand 1 (Upper Limb)
Antony Smyth (Hout Bay, WP)
Stand 2 (Below Knee)
Jean Paul Veaudry (East London, EC) Nachman Balulu (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Stand 3 (Above Knee)
Caleb Swanepoel (Pinelands, WP)
David Williams (Glen Anil, KZN) Tyler Pike (Kommetjie, WC) Derick Sigwebela (Chatsworth, KZN)
Prone 1 (Unassist) women
Tracy Mckay (Bluff, KZN)
Prone 1 (Unassist) men
Daniel Nel (Cape Town, WP)
Prone 2 (Assist) men
Oliver Sinclair (Hillcrest, KZN) James Sinclair (Morningside, KZN) Lwazi Matanga (Delft, WP)
Prone 2 (Assist) women
Alulutho Tshoba (Clare Estate, KZN) Natashia Siebert (Winkelspruit, KZN) Jodie Kroone (Hillcrest, KZN) Noluthando Makalima (Khayelitsha, WP) Zizipho Zukulu (Ntuzuma, KZN) Nelisiwe Sibiya (Pietermaritzburg, KZN) Zenande Mabanti (Durban, KZN) Zonke Nyandeni (Klaarwater, KZN)
Blind and VI (Unassisted) Men
Erynn Geddie (Glenwood, KZN) Sabelo Ngema (Eshowe, KZN) Danito Mondlane (Glenwood, KZN)
Blind and VI (Unassisted) Women
Michele Macfarlane (Hout Bay, WP)
Blind and VI (Assisted) expression session
Melwa Ngema (Eshowe, KZN) Asande Sibisi (Nqutu, KZN) Zolani Dube (KwaMashu, KZN) Storm Schwarts (Doonside, KZN)
Doug Hendrikz (Kloof, KZN) Martin Ferreria (Pretoria, GP)
Sean Thompson (Ramsgate, KZN) Nate Galbraith (Cape Town, WP) Amuri Mwanza (Palmiet, KZN) Krishiv Katuwaro (Howick, KZN) Alwande Mhlongo (Eshowe, KZN) Anthony Eastwood (Wentworth, KZN) Jarryd Smith (Salt Rock, KZN) Viwe Mthembu (Glen Anil, KZN) Nathaniel Naidoo (Merebank)
Beginner Expression Session
Phumelelisiwe Mbele (Umlazi, KZN)
Sanelisiwe Hlope (Umlazi, KZN)
Atang Moabi (Umbilo, KZN)
Andile Sibiya, (Umbilo, KZN)
Charles Philips (Westville, KZN)
Lerato Seroke (Newcastle, KZN)
Overall provincial results
2. Western Province
3. Eastern Cape