Surfers score high at ‘wild’ West Beach

Day 1 of Royal St Andrews Hotel sees great action in challenging conditions

Thomas Lindhorst and Joshe Faulkner provided the highlights of the day in the surfing event of the Royal St Andrews Hotel Amanzi Challenge at Port Alfred’s West Beach on Saturday.

It was Faulkner of Jeffrey’s Bay who scored a 9.7 for a “massive” full rotation aerial manoeuvre while pro surfer and SA Open Champion, Thomas Lindhorst of East London, produced an 8.5 for completing the biggest barrel of the event so far. Faulkner is a previous SA champ who competes internationally in the Challenger series

Lindhorst and Faulkner, thanks to some skilful surfing in tough conditions, made it through to the finals of the Amanzi Challenge surfing competition. Lindhorst came in second to Christian Venter in his semifinal heat 1 with Avuyile Ndmase missing out on a finals spot, in third place. The challenging conditions brought on by strong westerly winds of more than 50km/h resulting in choppy seas made things difficult for the surfers. However, there were just enough swells to allow for some exciting surfing.

Faulkner was in superb form in semifinal heat 2, raking in the points to edge Ntando Msibi into second place.

SA Open Champion Thomas Lindhorst (right) who will contest the Men’s Open Final in the surfing competition at the Amanzi Challenge, here with Suede Schalkwyk before their first quarterfinal heat at West Beach, Port Alfred on Saturday Novbember 11. Picture: MARK CARRELS

Earlier in the quarterfinals heat 1 Lindhorst’s skills came to the fore performing with speed off the waves to finish 6.4 points ahead of his closest rival, Ndamase.

Said Lindhorst before hitting the surf: “It was a pretty good season for me on a national scale, not internationally though. I won the SA men’s Open title earlier this year … it’s been a while since I competed so I am pretty excited for this [Amanzi Challenge] contest.

Local Kowie Board Riders surfer Andrew Laverge fell out in the quarterfinals after managing third  first time out, despite his best efforts. Christian Venter and Thandanzani Ngcobo outsurfed everyone in their section to proceed to the semifinals.

Another Kowie surfer, Warwick Heny performed with distinction in the conditions he knows so well by winning his quarterfinal heat 3 ahead of Travis Van Niekerk.

Heny however fell out after competing in a tough semifinals group where Faulkner reigned supreme, and could be commended for his efforts in the rough conditions.

All the women in the U16, U18 and Open Division progressed to the finals from the semifinals.

Danielle Powis breezed through her semifinal heat with Anastasia Venter filling in second spot.

Among the U18 boys Owen Heny of Kowie Boardriders missed out on a finals spot after Joshua Jefferis and Oliver Pasco won their semifinals heat. Jefferis was in scintillating form winning the heat by 3.4 point margin. Port Alfred surfer Carl Wiersma made it through to the finals, coming in second to Caleb Rogers who won his semifinal heat 2.

Among the U18 girls Kowie Boardriders up-and-coming surfer Lily Heny secured a finals spot. Thanks to a waiver of Surfing SA rules, all three semifinalists including Anastasia Venter and Jasmine Venter will compete in the finals. Most of the juniors remarked that they found the conditions extremely challenging and were clearly spent when coming out of the surf.

Bodyboarder Clinton Millard of Port Alfred showed that he was in with a shout after progressing to the finals of the pro division despite coming  second to Hugo Naude in semifinal heat 1, who won by a margin of 5.16 points.  In semifinal heat 2 Victor Holloway and Darren Halse progressed to the finals.

“I was a little bit short with my rides … the choppiness is a little bit frustrating but we’re getting some nice power on the waves,” said bodyboarder Millard. “It’s been very competitive today and there are a lot of young guys in the water, so I can’t wait to see what’s coming.”

Joshe Faulkner of Jeffrey’s Bay will contest the Men’s Open Final in the surfing competition at the Amanzi Challenge on Sunday November 12. Picture: MARK CARRELS

Contest director Luqmaan Bruce said though the conditions were difficult, the waves provided a bit of everything including turns and barrels, and the surfers had handled the conditions very well.

“It’s cloudy and windy but one thing in our favour is there’s a bit of swell. So despite the conditions there’s a lot of opportunity out there. It’s a bit wild and wooly but it’s been a super entertaining day of surfing.

“The timing of the event is at the end of the surfing season and most of our surfers have finished competing all over the world. But the guys like Joshe, Thomas and others from Durban are still hungry to compete in the off-season and that’s why they made the trip here,” said Bruce.

The rubber ducks did not set off into the ocean from East Beach due to the rough conditions out at sea and, as a result, the event was moved to the Kowie River.