Talent Wave at Women’s Day Surf Challenge

Winner of the 2012 Women’s Day Surf Challenge Open Division in Durban, Tammy Lee Smith, working her way towards victory. Photo: Karen Wilson D-Vine Images

National Women’s Day was celebrated in style Thursday (August 9) when the third edition of the Women’s Day Surf Challenge took place at Bay of Plently in Durban, while simultaneously the Cape edition of the Women’s Day Surf Challenge took place at Muizenberg Pavilion.

Great weather, one-metre surf and a light offshore all day ensured the success of the Durban version of this special and unique surfing tournament in Surf City. Over 40 girls participated in this event, which has become a feature of the Surfing South Africa calendar since it was first held to celebrate Women’s Day in 2010.

Muizenberg-based Danielle Johnson won the U20 division of the Surfing SA National Women's Day Surf Challenge, held at Muizenberg on 9 August. Photo: Claire ButlerOne of the highlights of the Durban contest was the number of rookies who competed, many of whom were surfing in their first ever major tournament. This important division, and a brand new Hutchison Handcrafted surfboard, was won by Sophie Bell who edged 13 old Samkelile Cele into second place. Kelly Medley was third and Gabi Lalivaux, who won a brand new Hutchison Handcrafted surfboard in the lucky draw, came fourth.

In the highly competitive Under 16 division most heats were tightly contested with current SA Under 15 runner-up and 2012 National Junior Team member Chanelle Botha taking the honours ahead of Teal Hogg. These two talented young surfers, along with third placed Olivia Brand and fourth placed Jade Story, define the future of South Africa’s up and coming female talent and have bright futures ahead of them.

The U20 division was a closely fought affair but in the end experience showed as current SA Under 20 champion Heidi Palmboom took the honours. National junior team member Nicole Pallet was runner up with Kat Steffan and Chanelle Botha placing third and fourth respectively.

In an entertaining Women’s final the lead changed several times between two time World Masters Champion Heather Clark and former SA Champion Tammy Lee Smith. With Clark leading and only moments to go before the final siren would end the heat, Smith posted an 8.0 ride to seal the deal. Under 20 winner Heidi Palmboom placed third in this final with Lynne Mackey taking fourth place.

Simultaneously, at Muizenberg in Cape Town …

Held in benign winter conditions with one-metre waves and light offshore winds, the Cape edition of this unique celebration of Women’s surfing went off without a hitch.

Tahra Uren of Jeffreys Bay wins gold in the U16 Final at Muizenberg. Photo: Claire ButlerNot only did the event feature surfers from the Cape Peninsula but it also played host to a group of surfers who travelled all the way from the Eastern Cape to participate. In addition, six girls from the Isiqalo Waves of Change project competed in the Rookie Division, with two of them reaching the final.

The Rookie Division was won by Georgie Snaddon with Kiah Bettison taking second place ahead of Noncedo Mahunu, who was third, and Michelle Jonas who came fourth.

In the well-supported U16 division honours went the way of Jeffreys Bay local Tahra Uren who beat local girl Anoush Zakarian into second place. Another Eastern Cape surfer, Britney Linder, was third and Ruth Armstrong filled fourth place in the final.

Local girl Danielle Johnson, who learned to surf at Muizenberg, out-scored her fellow Under 20 finalists to take her first-ever Pro Surf Tour victory. She beat Holly Armstrong into second place, with Jeffreys Bay surfers Emma Smith and Tahra Uren taking third and fourth places respectively.

Current SA Open Women’s champion Nikita Robb (East London) won the open event at Muizenberg leg of the Surfing SA Women’s Day Surf Challenge, on 9 August, 2012. Photo: Claire Butler

Big Guns tackle the Big Stage

The Women’s final featured two current South African champions in Nikita Robb and Tasha Mentasti, the defending event champion Chantelle Rautenbach and another top South African surfer, Tarryn Chudleigh.

In a fitting climax to a highly successful Women’s Day event current SA Champion Nikita Robb beat the recently crowned SA Masters champion Tasha Mentasti to take the title. Tarryn Chudleigh came third and last year’s champion Chantelle Rautenbach was fourth.

The winners of the Women’s, Under 20 and Under 16 divisions will each receive a brand new surfboard from Stubby Surfboards while the winner of the rookies division will receive a brand new Reef Wetsuits Triplex Wetsuit.

Tasha Mentasti (Rondebosch) finished runner-up in the Open event in Muizenberg. Photo: Claire ButlerFor the second time in three years, Anoush Zakarian won the lucky draw for a surfboard, which she will be able to order through Stubby Surfboards in Muizenberg.

Both venues were presented by Surfing South Africa (SSA) and supported by Sport and Recreation South Africa, and featured 1A rated PST events for Open Women, Under 20 and U16’s with R2 500 in prize-money at stake in each division while the Rookies won generous prizes.

All the results plus a photo gallery are available on the Surfing South Africa website.



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