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Contestants battered by brutal Buffalo City conditions

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Surfers at the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SA Championships hosted by Buffalo City had to deal with 6-8 foot surf, strong winds and an energy-sapping paddle on day two of this six-day event, and according to predictions conditions are set to become even more testing over the next two days.

Despite the difficult conditions there were some outstanding performances, with defending SA Open Men’s Champion Greg Emslie really raising the bar.

The Buffalo City Surfriders team member was outstanding all day, and in one heat was rewarded with a massive 9.9 wave score out of a possible 10 points. Emslie has looked solid in every heat he has competed in so far, and must be a favourite for the title in this division.

Other surfers who impressed in the Open Mens rounds on ‘tough Wednesday’  and who are through to the quarter-finals, are Llewellyn Whittaker and Dillon Marshall (both Eden), Devin Lane, Chris Frolich and Avuyle Ndamase (all eThekweni), Justin Sykes (iLembe), Justin Maisch and Cody Coetsee (both Ugu), Tyrell Johnson ( Buffalo City), Brandon Benjamin (Cape Town) and Adin Masencamp (Cape Winelands).

In the women’s division, 14-year-old Zoe Steyn (Buffalo City), the youngest surfer in the contest, was a standout on day two and has qualified for the quarters, where she is joined by her Buffalo City teammates Danica Stockigt, Tayla de Coning and Dayni Loots.

Others to qualify for the quarters are eight-time SA Champion Heather Clark (Ugu), Maya Shefer Boswell and Cliodhna Keene O’Connell (Cape Town), Samelikiswe Cele, Lynn Mackey and Olivia Brand ( eThekweni), Danielle Johnson (Cape Winelands), Tasha Mentasti (Eden), as well as Britney Linder and Rebecca Anderson ( Nelson Mandela Bay).

The Over-35 Men’s Division got their first chance to surf at this year’s event on day two, and after two rounds of hard-fought competition, 16 of them will contest the quarter-finals. The top 16 are Ian Duff, Sean van Oettingen and Jonathan Trenor (All iLembe), Jaco Kapp, Roland Suttie and Rene Terblanche (all eThekweni), Etienne Potgieter, and Paul Allan (Nelson Mandela Bay), Tyrell and Orrin and Stuart Fowles ( Buffalo City), Neil Zietsman and Ryan Halkett (both Cape Town), Llewellyn Whittaker (Eden), Jon Caswell (Cape Winelands) and Calvin Moore (Ugu).

With a huge 15-foot swell predicted to hit Nahoon Reef on day three and four of the premier Surfing South Africa event, contest organisers might be forced to move to Nahoon Corner, which is more protected.

The Mercedes-Benz SA Surfing Championships is hosted by the Buffalo City metropolitan municipality and supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation and the National Lotteries Commission. Over 150 surfers, representing eight districts drawn from three provinces have made their way to East London for the 52nd SA Surfing Championships.

Photo of the touch conditions on Wednesday courtesy of Ian Thurtell


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