Gqeberha - What a day for Umhlanga and what a few days for Kwazulu-Natal at the DHL Lifesaving South Africa Surf National Club Championships at Kings Beach.
Umhlanga’s youth brigade, led by Tatum Botha, Saskia Hockly and Nicolette Challenor won in the junior and senior divisions as Umhlanga won a combined 20 golds and nearly as many silvers in the most dominant club display.
Pirates’s Luke Nisbet won the senior male Iron race, to go with Botha’s Iron win in the senior female and u19 junior Iron, and if Thursday belonged to Botha, then Friday was Hockly’s day and also a great day for the Hockly family.
If Saskia Hockly wasn’t winning, then she was combining with sister Valma-Jean Hockly in taking in an incredible gold in the female senior Double Ski.
What made the win so remarkable for the 19 and 17 year-old sister duo was that they were beaten into second place in the u19 final, with Fish Hoek’s 15 year-old Georgia Singe and Babette van Rooyen taking gold.
The Hockly sisters had earlier won gold in the u19 and u17 Single Ski.
Umhlanga’s Nicolette Challenor also did the double in winning gold in the under 19 juniors in the Flags and Sprints and in the senior Sprints. She is officially the queen of the beach sprints in South Africa in 2022.
Botha, so talented and dominant in the junior age groups for the past few years, won the u19 Iron title, which didn’t surprise too many. But her victory over Amica de Jager in the final of the female senior Iron race was just stunning.
Hockly also did the double in the under 19 Single Ski and senior Single Ski, where she beat De Jager in a week where South Africa’s most promising juniors made the biggest statement competing in the juniors and seniors.
If it was not Umhlanga winning, then Kwazulu-Natal was present on the podium through individuals from Marine, Durban Surf and Pirates, with the latter’s Luke Nisbet taking the prestigious gold in the men’s open Iron race.
Earlier, Botha’s Umhlanga Rocks teammate Tannah Smith won the under 17 female Iron title and Fish Hoek’s Georgia Singe took gold in the under 15 female Iron title.
There were also golds for Clifton’s Naor Lombard in the u19 Board, for Summerstrand’s Christian Davidson in the u19 male Swim/Run/Swim, Kings Beach’s Denyer Jordan in the u17 Swim/Run/Swim and Fish Hoek’s Wade Beukes in the u15 Swim/Run/Swim. Beukes would also take gold in the u15 Board.
Umhlanga’s Matthew Coetzer won the u17 Board. East London’s Jema Tarr took gold in the under 17 Beach Flags and Kings Beach’s Yanelisa Nomoyi was the best in the u15 Beach flags for females.
(Saskia) Hockly also won gold in the u19 Board, Umhlanga’s Keira King took the under 17 title and Fish Hoek’s Georgia Singe added to her gold medal tally in the under 15s for females.
Llundudno’s Connor McTavish won the Beach Flags for under 19 males and Summerstrand’s Keira van Heerden was tops in the under 15 female Beach Sprint.
Fish Hoek’s Mark Keeling won the senior’s Single Ski, Marine’s Kristin Bellingan also won gold in edging De Jager, Durban Surf’s Mellisa Corbett was first in the senior Flags and second in the sprints.
There was joy for many of the local stars from the Eastern Cape region with gold going to Summerstrand’s Christian Davidson (in the juniors and seniors), Kings Beach’s Keagan Cooke (seniors) andSummerstrand’s Kiera van Heerden (juniors).
The winners in the male junior Beach Flags were: Umhlanga's Brayden Bergset (u19), Milnerton's Ethan Gordon (u17s) and Big Bay's Jake Hutton (u15s).
The surf championships end on Saturday, as does the Nippers Pool championships at Newton Park.