An elated South African surfing team collected two gold medals, two bronze and a copper while finishing fourth out of 33 nations at the 2006 ISA World Surfing Games at Huntington Beach in California on Sunday.
Rising international surf star Rosanne Hodge was the top South African surfer, finishing third behind two current world tour stars to clinch the bronze in the women’s surfing.
Rosy Hodge had cruised to the qualifying final without a blemish, but was given a wake-up call early on the last day when she placed third and was dispatched to the repecharge round.
There she faced a daunting encounter against WCT stalwarts Julia Christian (USA) and Jessi Miley-Dyer along with fellow highly rated Aussie Nichola Atherton, as she became the first SA woman to reach WSG Grand Final since SA’s re-admittance to the ISA fold in 1994.
The East Londoner showed the true grit and a big match temperament that will take her to the top of international women’s surfing in the future by holding the Aussie girls at bay to advance along with Christian.
Christian, who was runner-up in the last WSG in Ecuador in 2004, went on to clinch the gold medal in front of her home crowd, with Hodge,19, earning a well deserved bronze behind Jacqueline Silva (Brazil).
In the men’s divisions, Jordy Smith, 18, from Durban scored a sensational victory to clinch the men’s open gold medal, while Capetonian Matthew Moir confirmed his status as the world’s best longboard surfer by taking gold in that discipline.
In an extremely tight race, Australia successfully defended the IOC President’s Trophy and added their name to the Basil Lomberg Memorial as the top nation at the biennial event for a record eighth time.
Brazil were the runners-up for the second time in succession followed by the host nation, USA, with South Africa receiving the copper medal for fourth place after an exceptional fight back when it appeared they would slip down to eighth or ninth earlier in the week.
South Africa repeated their third place finish in Ecuador in 2004 in the ISA Nations Cup Trophy event, finishing behind defending champions Australia with Brazil taking the silver and surprise package Costa Rica earning the copper.
Contested by the top eight nations from the previous WSG, this event does not count towards the overall nation’s standings. However, the ‘tag team’ format requires efficient teamwork as the five representatives from each nation to compete one at a time with their best two rides out of a maximum three count and all rides have to be completed in an hour.
The colourful awards ceremony brought the nine-day gathering of surfing’s ‘tribes’ to an end with the popular SA team singing the National Anthem unaccompanied by music, when Jordy Smith and Matthew Moir were presented with their gold medals.
Special medals were given to the entire judging staff, as well as the newly elected Vice Presidents of the ISA, including SSA’s Robin de Kock who was elected as a Senior Vice President of the organisation for a four year term.
Results: 2006 Lost Energy Drink ISA World Surfing Games
Huntington Beach, California, USA
ISA World Championships
WOMEN’S SURFING FINAL22/Oct/2006, Local Time: 08:51
|1st||Julia Christian||(USA) 13.43p,Win by 0.10|
|2nd||Jacqueline Silva||(BRA) 13.33p|
|3rd||Rosanne Hodge||(ZAF) 10.33p|
|4th||Courtney Conlogue||(USA) 6.73p|
ISA NATIONS CUP TROPHY