Iconic Sarah Baum Wins the SA Open of Surfing in Gqeberha

South Africa’s Sarah Baum on her way to winning the SA Open of Surfing QS 1,000 at Pollok Beach in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, South Africa, on Sunday, 24 March, 2024. Photo: (C) WSL / McGregor

Sarah Baum has won the World Surf League (WSL) SA Open of Surfing Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, with Jessie van Niekerk finishing runner-up in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, South Africa, on Sunday, 24 March 2024.

A professional surfer residing in Australia, South Africa’s Baum is provisionally qualified for Paris 2024 and will represent Team SA in surfing.

Pollok Beach offered some unruly conditions in the morning, making for tricky surf and a tiring paddle out that prompted organisers to call on 40-minute heats for the Final, and the Women’s Final had a delayed start due to a strong glare that prevented the judges from spotting the competitors. 

Once the heat finally got underway, it was Jessie van Niekerk who locked in the first good score with a 6.50 (out of a possible 10). 

Sarah Baum (RSA) started building her score, staying busy to look for better scoring opportunities in the shifty lineup, and when she found what she was looking for, and the judges rewarded her work with an excellent 8.50. 

Baum then got her best backup score near the end, a 5.93 for a total of 14.43 (out of a possible 20) to take the win over Van Niekerk.

Anastasia Venter and Sarah Scott seemed out of rhythm and couldn’t back up their scores with a better ride, finishing third and fourth respectively.

“It’s been a while since I won a competition in my home country. The waves were fun, I’m super stoked.” 

2024 SA Open of Surfing Champion, Sarah Baum

Cape Town scholar Sarah Scott was crowned the WSL Africa Regional QS Champion after the SA Open of Surfing results, having won one of the two events of the 2023/2024 season. 

Scott was tied at no. 1 with Jessie van Niekerk on 1,600 points after the home season’s two competitions, but Scott’s win at the Cape Town Surf Pro earned her the title ahead of Van Niekerk’s two runner-up results.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Councillor Mcebisi Kamana said it is the metro’s objective to make Gqeberha the mecca of watersport. 

“We are very happy to host this event,” Kamana said. “It projects us into a better position, we’d like to have more competitions. Congratulations to the winners today, and to those surfers who will compete in the Challenger Series and the Olympics, we wish you all the best.”

Surfing South Africa vice president, Johnny Bakker thanked the international contingent who made the effort to participate in the two WSL Africa QS events held in South Africa.

The SA Open of Surfing was supported by Surfing South Africa, Accelerate Sport, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and Red Bull.

Visit WorldSurfLeague.com for more information

Women’s WSL Africa Regional Rankings

1. Sarah Scott – 1,600 points
1. Jessie van Niekerk – 1,600 points
3. Anastasia Venter – 1,150 points
4. Kira Hofmeyr – 1,100 points
5. Sarah Baum – 1,000 points

SA Open of Surfing Women’s Final Results at Pollok Beach in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, on Sunday, 24 March, 2024

FINAL: Sarah Baum (RSA) 14.43 DEF. Jessie van Niekerk (RSA) 12.00, Anastasia Venter (RSA) 7.50, Sarah Scott (RSA) 5.53

Semifinal Results on Saturday, 23 March, 2024

HEAT 1: Jessie van Niekerk (RSA) 13.10 DEF. Sarah Scott (RSA) 10.43, Kira Hofmeyr (RSA) 8.27, Zia Hendricks (RSA)
HEAT 2: Sarah Baum (RSA) 14.00 DEF. Anastasia Venter (RSA) 11.00, Natasha van Greunen (RSA) 8.03, Louise Lepront (RSA) 7.87

SA Open of Surfing QS1,000 Quarterfinal Results

HEAT 1: Jessie van Niekerk (RSA) 12.67 DEF. Zia Hendricks (RSA) 5.07, Adriel Wolmarans (RSA) 3.50
HEAT 2: Sarah Scott (RSA) 11.50 DEF. Kira Hofmeyr (RSA) 7.90, Crystal Hulett (RSA) 6.64
HEAT 3: Sarah Baum (RSA) 15.57 DEF. Anastasia Venter (RSA) 10.20, Nicole Pallet (RSA) 9.97
HEAT 4: Louise Lepront (RSA) 10.56 DEF. Natasha van Greunen (RSA) 9.67, Lily Heny (RSA) 6.44

Original Copy: WSL Africa, with editing by gsport

Main Photo Caption: South Africa’s Sarah Baum on her way to winning the SA Open of Surfing QS 1,000 at Pollok Beach in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, South Africa, on Sunday, 24 March, 2024. Photo: (C) WSL / McGregor

Photo 2 Caption: Sarah Baum’s SA Open of Surfing victory is celebrated in the time-honoured fashion as she emerges from the waves on Sunday.  Photo: (C) WSL / McGregor

Photo 3 Caption: Before being crowned WSL Africa Regional QS Champion, Sarah Scott surfs in the Final on Sunday at Pollok Beach in Gqeberha. Photo: (C) WSL / McGregor

Photo 4 Caption: Winner Sarah Baum (left), Jessie van Niekerk, Anastasia Venter and Sarah Scott (right) at the SA Open of Surfing prizegiving. Photo: (C) WSL / McGregor

Photo 5 Caption: Sarah Scott won the WSL Africa Regional QS Champions title when she lead the Women’s WSL Africa Regional Rankings. Photo: (C) WSL / McGregor

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