Cape Town - The final day of the 2023 Tyrelife SA Para Surf Champs and Para Surf League Open Powered by Ocean Freedom proved to be an epic show of surfing at Muizenberg Beach.
The finals on Sunday kicked off with strong onshore winds and a strong, choppy current pushing to the west. Not to be deterred and knowing they must surf the waves they are given, athletes started the heats at 8.30am despite the conditions.
By day’s end the clouds parted and Muizenberg provided a beautiful day for champions to be crowned.
The contest not only saw the best of South Africa rise to the podium, but was also the first stop and the first-of-its-kind Para Surfing Continental Zone Championships.
Athletes competing in the contest earned points towards their global standing and will be eligible to take part in the Para Surf League Global Championships, being held later in the year in the US.
ISA World Championships silver medallist JP Veaudry said: “It has been both an honour and privilege to be part of this year’s SA Para Surfing Championships. Doubling up with the Para Surf league (PSL) meant that we had surfers from all over the globe visiting our beautiful country. I am thrilled to have defended my SA title at this year’s hugely successful event that was enjoyed by all the athletes. A big thank you to the event organisers, sponsors, supporters and spectators.”
Para surfer Similo Dlamini said the event was the first time an African country has been part of the Global Para Surf League.
“Competing with some of the best of the best on home surf breaks has been an absolute treat. Para surfing is one of the most inclusive sports that differently abled people like me can achieve and reach major accolades. As a community we continue to push towards our goal of having para surfing included in the Paralympics to be hosted in Los Angeles in 2028.”
South African champ in his division, para surfer Ray Lessing, said he would cherish the weekend’s Para Surf Champs for many years to come.
“It was truly an incredible experience to participate in this world-class event alongside my fellow South African athletes and many inspirational para surfers from all around the world. Personally, it was an emotional moment when I was announced as the South African champ in my division.”
French surf judge Laurent Marouf said the experience was mind-blowing.
“I have competed all around the world for the past eight years as a para surfer and now travelling as a surf judge. The 2023 SA Para Surf Champs contest can only be described as completely mind-blowing and it has certainly strengthened me in this vision of being a citizen of the world through several significant markers. Firstly an entire community focused on surfing and para surfing with whom I connected with deeply. Secondly an incredible example of organisational skill at all levels and strong links between the stakeholders namely the South African Surfing Federation, foundations, sponsors and clubs all driven by committed individuals such as Roxy Davis, Reza De Nicker and Dana Cummings, only to mention a few of the many incredible people behind this community,” said Marouf.
Final results of the competition are yet to be announced.