AFTER three consecutive years of competing in the South African Longboard Championships, local junior star Kye Macgregor has finally brought the under-14 champion title home.
Kye, his father, David, and brother, Cuan, have each won titles in their respective divisions and have established the Macgregor clan as not only champions on the shortboard, but masters of the old-school longboard.
Longboard surfing differs significantly as it requires a surfer to combine a surfing technique made popular in the ’60s with modern styles. For a longboard surfer, the judges look at a surfer’s ability to “walk” across the board, in a criss-cross manner to the front – this is called a hang-ten, or a hang-five depending on variations.
The championships took place in the cold Mossel Bay water at the challenging Inner Pool in an area known for its rocks, powerful waves and great white sharks.
Young Kye, however, is no stranger to the area having previously surfed there for training and past competitions. More than 200 surfers took part, which as the competition went, made for great camaraderie between contenders on the shore, as well as in the water.
Throughout the event, the notorious Inner Pool claimed more than 19 boards. Kye’s board snapped twice; once in an earlier heat and then again during the final after his first two waves. Luckily, a kind fellow competitor, Pastor Morne van der Walt, had been watching the incident and offered to fix his board for free. Being impressed with his style, Van der Walt said he wanted to see the youngster win it.
Last year, Kye placed third and while feeling low after the second “snap”, he said he was over the moon with excitement when he was announced as the U14 winner of the competition. “I just heard some of the guys scream my name. It’s so exciting to finally get the title,” Kye said.
Although Dave placed third in the kahunas division, he is super proud of his youngest. “It was nice to see some of these ‘legends’ compliment Kye on his big board. I’m super stoked he won.”
Dave won last year and Kye’s older brother Cuan, who doubled up as contest judge, won the open section a few years back.
This year Cuan performed well overall in the competition, placing ninth in the open division. “The weekend is one of the highlights of the year for my family. Kye is still not too big to cuddle with me in the back of my van after a long day of surfing, ” Dave said.
Dave praised Kye’s sponsor Billabong for their support, team manager Grant Beck, the EP team, family, and Des Sawyer. As far as Kye goes, although he focuses on shortboard, he believes junior longboarding is doing well in South Africa.