Surfing South Africa announces the South African Surfing Team for the International Surfing Association World Surfing Games in El Salvador in 2023.
The South African Surfing Team, which will compete in the 2023 International Surfing Association World Surfing Games in El Salvador from May 30th to June 7th has been announced by the Board of Directors of Surfing South Africa.
The 2023 ISA World Games is of great significance as it is the first opportunity that surfers from around the world will get to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games.
The South African Team of three Men and three Women, a Coach and a Manager is made up of WSL Championship Tour Surfers Jordan Smith (Durban),Matthew McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay), former South Africa Champion Joshe Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay), top ranked WSL Challenger surfer Sarah Baum (Durban), fellow WSL Challenger campaigner and former South Africa Champion Zoe Steyn (East London) and 2022 SA Team member Danielle Powis ( Cape Town).
In 2019 Smith qualified for the 2020 Olympics but had to withdraw after suffering a severe knee injury while training in Durban just weeks before leaving for Tokyo. With the magnificent reef break called Teahupoo in Tahiti chosen as the venue for the Olympic surfing in 2024, Smith will be determined to qualify.
Matt McGillivray is another surfer who does particularly well when competing in Tahiti. Earlier this year the J Bay local was the only surfer to score a perfect 10 point ride while competing in a professional surfing contest at Teahupoo.
Former SA Champion Joshe Faulkner not only competed in the WSL Championship Tour contest at his home break in Jeffreys Bay in July this year but he also represented South Africa at the 2022 ISA World Surfing Games which were held at Huntington Beach in California in September. El Salvador produces waves that are similar to Jeffreys Bay and this should suit Faulkner as he attempts to qualify for the 2024 Olympics.
Durban born but Australian based Sarah Baum finished 10th in the WSL Challenger Series this year and is South Africa’s top competitor for 2022. Zoey Steyn has also been competing on the WSL Challenger series and has just returned from Hawaii to the news that she will get her chance to qualify for the 2024 Olympics as a member of the 2023 World Surfing Games Team.
The third member of the women’s team is Danielle Powis, who represented South Africa at the 2022 ISA World Surfing Games in the USA in September. Powis has had a good year to date, winning the annual Victoria Bay Quadrangular Surf contest in May and then competing in the 2022 Ballito Pro, before being selected to surf at the World Games in September.
Former SA Junior Team Coach, Christopher Bond (Cape Town) and 2022 SA Junior Team Manager Rezar de Nicker (Cape Town) will be in charge of the team’s preparations and plans prior to and while they are in El Salvador next year.
“We are super excited with the caliber of this team” said Surfing South Africa President, Isaac February. “Each individual brings so much maturity and a complete understanding of what it takes to win at this level. This makes it very easy to expect success at the 2023 ISA World Games, a 2024 Olympic Qualifying event. I have no doubt the team will make South Africa proud”
Due to the importance of the early qualification opportunity for the 2024 Olympics, the International Surfing Association is confident that well over 40 nations will compete in the showcase event in May and June 2023. In addition to Olympic Qualification, the ISA World Surfing Games determines the World Men’s and Women’s individual Champions and the overall Team Champions.
Surfing South Africa is the recognized governing body for the sport and is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). SSA is also a member of the International Surfing Association (ISA). All South African surfing teams that participate in international events are chosen by the Surfing South Africa’s National Selectors and in terms of the SSA Constitution these selections are ratified by the Board of Directors.
Rezar De Nicker