Chris Jones from Cape Town was crowned the 2016 SA open waveski champion in East London over this past weekend.
MASSIVE swell and waves greeted the contested that arrived in East London on the Thursday before the competition. The SA open is a contest with no age group categories where both young and old are all grouped together to compete for national honours.
By the time the contest started on Saturday morning although wave size had dropped off substantially the sea still looked big and angry.
Competition officials made a great call to run the first few rounds at the more sheltered Yellow Sands.
The smaller wave still packed a bit of a punch allowing the country's top waveski riders to showcase their moves. Hot favorite and Yellow Sands local Andre Burger pulled off some impressive moves to justify his current world no. 2 ranking. Schalk Van Wyk after snapping his waveski in two a few days earlier in J-bay also showed extreme class on his borrowed ski.
It was really encouraging to see the younger generation making their mark in the highly competitive open division. Duran Martin and Liam Smith from KZN as well as Tiaan Podges and Brad Cawcutt from the Cape all showing fresh, neat riding styles.
Schalk Van Wyk showing some class. Photo credit: Bruce Tavenor
On day 2 the contest moved to the beautiful Queensberry Bay point break. The huge swell was still rolling through coupled with a bit of a chop on the water, the conditions where slightly challenging. With only a few rounds remaining the contest was moved just a short walk away to the beach break of Glen Eden.
In a somewhat unpredictable big and messy wave the four waveski riders making it through to the final where Chris Jones (WP), Andre Burger (Border), Duran Martin KZN and Ant Stott (KZN).
In the 20 minute final the experience of Chris Jones rose above the rest as he selected the best possible waves and then surfed them near perfectly to become the 2016 SA open waveski champion. The 22 year old Duran Martin from Durban surfed with great promise to claim 2nd place. Andre Burger never quite managed to find the waves he needed to showcase his great class and had to be content with 3rd. Ant Stott who is normally far more at home in a racing canoe was delighted with his 4th place finish.
Chris Jones the champion!
A big thank you to the event organizers Brandon Flynn and Tony Dubber for putting together a well oiled event. Special thanks also to the sponsors; Macski, Bamboo Warehouse, Reef, Blue Lagoon Hotel and Ninas for the generous contributions.
Here are the top ten positions for 2016:
1.Chris Jones WP - Macski
2.Duran Martin KZN - Macski
3.Andre Burger Border - Macski
4.Ant Stott KZN - Macski
5.Tony Dubber Border - self shaped
6.Rory Taylor WP - Macski
7.Tiaan Podges WP - Macski
8.Bradley Cawcutt WP - Macski
9.Tim Reinhardt WP - Macski
10.Liam Smith KZN - Macski