Freezing conditions and small surf greeted the competitors for the opening day of the Billabong SA Champs yesterday. A prevailing north-west wind made the waves ruffled and onshore, but it did nothing to dampen the surfing performances throughout the morning. The event started with the Open Mens Division. Klee Strachan (SKZN) was the first surfer to win his heat, soon followed by other heat winners in Shane Thorne (WP), Ryan Payne (WP), Matt Bromley (WP) and Andrew Lange (SKZN) to name a few.
“We saw a small – wave start to the day, but the swell picked up substantially throughout the day,” said Billabong marketing manager Chad D’Arcy from the beach at Long Beach. “We also saw the wind swing into the west, which made the conditions contestable and fun. It was a great start to the event.”
Then it was straight into the U20 Boys division, with Mikey February (WP), Dylan Lightfoot (EP), Davey van Zyl (KZNC) and Steven Sawyer (EP) winning their first round heats in the improving conditions.
With even better conditions forecast for today, expectations are high for another high-action day of surfing at the Billabong SA Champs. The winner-takes-all prize money for the event has been increased by Surfing South Africa and Billabong, and will see the winners of the Mens and Womens titles earning R10,000 each, while the U20 Boys and Girls champions will each take home R5,000. The winner of the Men’s final will also be awarded his national colours and will automatically be included in the South African team that attends the next ISA World Surfing Games. The event finishes on Sunday 27 May.
The Billabong SA Champs has an event website portal with contest reports, interviews and photo updates here billabongsachamps
Billabong South Africa are running heat scores off their Facebook Fan Page here Facebook
Red Bull are supplying the competitors with energy at the event.
Matt Bromley (WP) was one of the heat winners this morning.
© Alan Van Gysen