Durban Wave Action Bonanza

Words: Darryl Moodie ǀ Photos: Rory Taylor


Durban’s North Beach was abuzz with activity from 8 to 13 July 2013, as competitors fought it out for top honours in the week-long Durban Wave Action event, which witnessed some of the best surf conditions seen this winter!



Normally found worlds apart, one in the beautiful river valleys of Kwazulu-Natal, and the others in the openness of the Indian Ocean, Durban Wave Action hosted three alternative shortboard disciplines – the SA Waveski Surfing National Championships, Surfing South Africa’s Junior Pro Surf Tour 'Gromcomp', and the SA Freestyle Kayak Surfing Championships. The finals of all these events took place simultaneously on Durban’s North Beach on Saturday, 13 July, with Derek Watts of Carte Blanche fame hosting the prize-giving in perfect, sunny conditions on the impressive beach-front promenade.


This year’s National SA Waveski Surfing Competition was a great trial run for next year’s World Champs event that will be hosted by Durban Wave Action at Durban’s North Beach. It attracted top competitors from KZN, Border, the Eastern Cape, and Western Cape - the highest number recorded in an SA Champ event for many years – and included a number of current and ex-South African Champions, as well as the reigning New Age and Women’s World Champions. With the newly improved, lighter, and smaller boards, hi-performance surfing was experienced in all respects, with cut-backs and aerials being the order of the day!


Waveski Surfers that impressed were Eastern Cape’s Ian Macleod, the manufacturer of MACSKI Waveskis, who was by far the best waveski surfer on the day, having won both the SA Masters Competition and Durban Wave Action Invitational Open event. KZN’s Duran Martin and Ian Beach won the SA Junior and SA Grandmasters event respectively, and Andre Burger from Border won the New Age final. Schalk van Wyk from the Western Cape won the Seniors final, while Willie Grazer from Western Cape won the Veterans final. The Ladies final went to Sandra Pienaar from the Eastern Cape, the current Women’s World Champion. Other KZN competitors that impressed were Liam Kerr Smith, who won the Clyde Finch Trophy for the second year running as the most improved junior, as well as Ant Stott, a previous multiple Dusi Canoe Marathon winner, who placed second in the Seniors Division in this his first year of competitive waveski surfing.



Turning to Surfing South Africa’s Pro Surf Tour 'Gromcomp', some of South Africa’s top junior surfers competed for Pro Surf Tour (PST) points, as well as prize money. This event promised to shape the future careers of these talented young surfers, both boys and girls, and the excellent conditions did not disappoint. Surfers that excelled were Durban’s James Ribbink, who won the Boys U10 division, while Saxton Randall was the Boys U12 winner, Gabi Lailvaux the Girls U12 winner, Liam de Villiers the Boys U14 winner, Sophie Bell the Girls U14 winner, Bevan Willis the Boys U16 winner, and Teal Hogg the Girls U16 winner. Negotiations are currently underway to turn this event into a truly international affair in future Durban Wave Action events.


The SA Freestyle Surf Kayaking Competition witnessed top kayak riders from all over South Africa, who have for many years competed vigorously in the rivers. Whilst not a surfing-orientated discipline in the root sense, this event saw an expression of style in the purest of forms and incorporated river freestyle moves in the surf, which were both challenging and exciting in a whole fresh new way and generated some great Wave Action for Durban’s North Beach. The overall winner was Philip Claassens, with Denzil Smith and Jonathan Pienaar second and third respectively.


In summing up what was an outstanding week of surfing, both Derek Watts and Darryl Moodie, the Durban Wave Action event co-ordinator, paid tribute to the tremendous support received from the various sponsors to this event, in particular the eThekwini Council, Durban Tourism, Tsogo Sun, Elangeni Hotel, Suncoast Casino, uShaka Marine World, Land Rover, Volvo and Peugeot Pietermaritzburg, Kempston Motor Group, Afriboom Cleaning Services, OTM Communications, and Adstuff Durban.