SATURDAY’S surfing conditions were consistent in south westerly winds and on Sunday morning the low tide and north easterly forced organisers to postpone the Royal St Andrews Hotel Association of Professional Bodyboarding (APB) semi-finals to the afternoon.
Manager of APB South Africa Carl Liebenberg was the international organiser while Clinton Millard was the local organiser.
The current world champion, Iain Campbell, was riding in the Port Alfred APB world series as well as number 15 seed on the pro tour, South African Tristan Roberts, they said.
“The Port Alfred event is a qualifying tour to get onto the grand tour,” said Liebenberg.
It’s also the first APB event of the year and the first time the APB has been held in South Africa.
In the semi-finals, Iain Campbell was knocked out by Michael Ostler and had to be content to contest the podium finals for third or fourth place with Alex Nutt, and a prize for the best move, an invert, on day one.
Alex Nutt, a 16-year-old from the Richards Bay area, was defeated by Roberts in the semi-finals.
“But Nutt has a great future ahead of him. He went overseas on the junior world tour, and this is his first pro event,” said Millard.
In the podium finals, Campbell and Nutt sorted out their differences on the waves, with the world champion claiming third place and young Nutt coming fourth.
Going through to the finals, Roberts and Ostler duked it out with Ostler taking a wave all the way to the beach and running back in his flippers.
“The most important thing is the prize money which is R60 000 (US$5 000) to be divided between the top four riders, with the winner netting R35 000,” said Liebenberg.
“R35 000 or three months in Bali,” joked bodyboarding emcee Deon “Mumbles” Meyer.
Winners were announced at the prize giving on Sunday night.
Roberts came first, Ostler second, Campbell third and Nutt fourth.
Roberts can use his win to gain points on the APB tour towards becoming the world champion.
Last Friday, West Beach Warfare under the auspices of the SA Bodyboarding Association had local boys, girls, ladies and men and development riders.
“The local riders have to earn 1 000 points in order to help them to seed into the grand slam,” said Liebenberg.
Local bodyboarders Millard and the young Kyle Lax riding in his first professional event, came second in the masters and third in the men’s, respectively, qualifying to go on the world tour.
“Kyle and I can go and compete overseas. This is Kyle’s first pro event, but he has a lot of work in front of him if he wants to keep going forward,” said Millard.
“He has to compete in a lot of competitions so that when they choose his top five scores, he will have enough points to win,” said Millard. “That is how Iain Campbell won the world championship title last year. He won two competitions and came in the top four for the rest.”