The South African surfing team got off to a perfect start when all four men won their heats on the opening day of the 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games at Santa Catalina in Panama on Sunday.
Competing against 80 competitors from 24 countries in the ‘Olympics of Surfing’, the SA quartet of team captain Shaun Joubert, Mikey February, Davey Brand and David van Zyl all posted heat totals that were in the top 10 on the day, with Joubert also producing the joint highest single ride score of 9.43 out of 10.
February was the first to take to the excellent 1.0 to 1.5 metre offshore waves peeling along the reef and the lanky 19 year-old from Kommetjie immediately took control of proceedings by grabbing the lead in the third minute with a long ride punctuated by high risk manoeuvres that earned him 7.0 from the judges.
Maintaining the lead with three average rides, February then sealed the heat victory with a 6.33 in the dying seconds of the 20 minute encounter, leaving runner-up Guillermo Satt (Chile) needing 8.50 points to overtake him and dispatching Matt Lewis-Hewitt (NZL) and Michael Banton (JAM) to the repercharge rounds in third and fourth places respectively.
Kommetjie teammate Davey Brand was next up for Team SA and he tore into the classic overhead waves on his backhand, posting scores of 8.0 and 6.67 that left his closest challenger requiring a near perfect 9.50 for victory.
As the conditions deteriorated in the light onshore wind, David van Zyl (Glenashley) racked up an even larger winning margin, leaving his opponents floundering 9.66 points behind while racking up a pair of seven point rides on his way to Round 2 of the qualifying stream in the double-elimination format.
Shaun Joubert, the former Mossel Bay based surfer now resident in California, completed Team SA’s clean sweep by producing a blistering performance in the crumbling waves. After dominating the heat with scores of 7.83 and 8.0, Joubert then caught a bumpy set wave on which he gouged a series of bottom turns and spray-generating lip blasts, finishing off with perfectly executed air-reverse that he rode out of smoothly.
The judges deliberated for some time with one awarding him a perfect 10 out of 10 before the score averaged out at 9.43, giving Joubert a heat tally of 17.43 out of 20, the third highest the day, and leaving the other three surfers in a combination situation where they needed to improve both their scoring rides to overtake him.
Surfline, the official surf forecaster for the Reef ISA World Surfing Games, predict that the swell size will ease slightly with mostly waist to head waves fanned by light offshore winds in the mornings and a light to moderate onshore flow in the afternoons through Monday and Tuesday.
Monday’s schedule starts with the 12 heats of Men’s qualifying Round 2, featuring all four SA men, followed by the 12 heats in the Women’s qualifying Round 1 that will see SA’s Tanika Hoffman (Clifton) and Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) opening their campaigns at the event.
Reef ISA World Surfing Games (Santa Catalina, Panama)
Schedule for Day 2 (SA time and SA surfers in brackets)
3pm Men’s qualifying Round 2 (Mikey February Heat 3, Davey Brand H5, David van Zyl H7, Shaun Joubert H9)
7pm Women’s qualifying Round 1 (Tanika Hoffman Heat 1, Faye Zoetmulder H8)
All the action can be followed live via webcast at www.isawsg.com Each day’s webcast starts with the Morning Show at 2.40pm (SA time) followed by surfing action starting at 3pm.
The 2013 South African surfing team has been provided with kit by RVCA.
Surfing South Africa (SSA) is the recognized governing body for the sport in South Africa. SSA is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA)