Border are the defending champions of the SA Masters Surfing Champs, but 2011 Women’s Division (O30) winner Heather Clark (SKZN) will be attending, aiming to defend her title against 2011 runner-up Michelle van Kempen (EP), Tasha Mentasti (Bol) and Carolyn Dent (WP). Photo: Supplied

New Pier in Durban is the primary venue for the 2012 SA Masters Surfing Championships this week, as the eighth annual South African Masters Surfing Championships take place starting this Thursday, with the finals in the combined six divisions scheduled for Sunday.

In the Women’s Division (O30) Heather Clark (SKZN) will defend her title against 2011 runner-up Michelle Van Kempen (EP), Tasha Mentasti (Bol) and Carolyn Dent (WP). Bianca Bosman (Bor), Tarryn Adamson (KZNC) and Julia Rutherford (Zul) are the other surfers competing in this division.

Although New Pier has been selected as the primary venue for the championships, Cave Rock on the Bluff is an alternative if conditions are suitable at this famous big wave spot.

A combined total of more than 160 surfers from eight provinces are making their way to Surf City for this popular tournament, which features surfers from as ‘young’ as 31 to over 60 years of age.

Border, the defending champions and five-time winners of the Masters Cup, have assembled a side that looks almost unbeatable. However hosts KZN Central, who sent a small team to East London last year and finished in an uncomfortable last place, will be aiming to rectify this.

KZN Central have assembled a team that could upset the powerful Border side who have dominated this segment of South African surfing over the past five years. Other strong teams include Western Province, Zululand and Boland, all of whom have the required number of surfers in each of the divisions.

The 2012 SA Masters Championships will decide seven individual champions and determine the top Provincial team. Each team member’s points will count towards the Masters Cup, which was won by Southern KZN in 2005 and 2006 and by Border in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Teams in the SA Masters Championships will gather at 7pm at the Marine Surf Lifesavers Club on Wednesday for the Opening Function at 7pm. The first rounds will get under way at 8am on Thursday July 26.

Heats are posted on the Surfing South Africa website, and each day’s results will be available from 8pm on the day.