The final step in the journey to the Olympic Games in Japan has begun for Bianca Buitendag and Greg Emslie. They have arrived at OR Tambo airport where they will join fellow members of Team South Africa as they prepare for the experience of a lifetime.

Bianca Buitendag (28) left her home town of Victoria Bay near George early this morning supported by a guard of honour who lined the road above Victoria Bay and sent her off with cheers and the waving of South African flags while Coach Greg Emslie (43), a former World Championship Tour surfer and five time SA Men’s Champion, left his home town of East London with the wishes of his fellow Buffalo City surfers and his family ringing in his ears.

This journey began for both Buitendag and Emslie at the ISA World Surfing Games in Japan in 2019 when Buitendag qualified for an Olympic Games that should have taken place in 2020. It has been a long wait but now the wait is over as they prepare to leave for Tokyo in a couple of hours.

Spare a thought for Jordy Smith, who had to withdraw just a week or so ago due to a knee injury, and Isaac February who would have travelled to the greatest show on earth if Jordy had been in the team.

The surfing programme gets under way on Sunday July 25th and runs from 7am to 4.40pm when both Men’s and Women’s Rounds One and Two will take place.

Round Three of Men and Women will take place from 7am to 2.20pm on Monday July 26th and on Tuesday July 27th the Men’ and Women’s Quarter Finals and Semi Finals will take place between 7am and 2.20pm.

The Final Day of surfing will take place between 8am and 11.35 am on Wednesday July 28th when the Women’s and Men’s Bronze Medal matches will be followed by the Women’s and Men’s Gold Medal Matches and Victory Ceremonies.

The Surfing Schedule is subject to change depending on wave size and conditions. If conditions allow, the competition will be completed in four days as indicated above. However if more time is required the Surfing tournament might run to August 1st.

Locals send Bianca on her way

Greg Emslie & Bianca Buitendag