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NKZNBA holds 1st trial event

Author // Rudi Stadler

The troops gathered once again on Sunday morning 10 March at Alkantstrand for the first Northern KZN Bodyboarding Trial contest of the year.

After a stormy Saturday we all expected a rather melodramatic ocean and large swell to test the riders to the maximum. This was not the case as we were greeted with moderate winds and some average bowls on the middle bank, providing both left and right running lines and launch sections. 

T2-nc-01The first Pro Division heat paddled out with the riders committed to tactical riding, busting some big rolls as some of the sections looked softer than initially anticipated. This however did not stop riders like Warren Van Der Merwe, Nicolas Westman and Xander Farrel from pushing themselves to their limits. 

Rheinhard du Toit again impressed the judges with a massive flip on one of the better waves of the day after securing his first place in Heat 2 with a solid roll. Neil Steenkamp took first place in the Men's division convincingly with stylish rolls followed by Michael Cooper also never ceasing to impress. It could be seen that Xander Farrel has stepped up his level of riding after trying bigger moves and claiming first place in the Junior Division. Shane Eva also came to the party with a convincing second place.

Gerhard de Vlies finished first in the Boys Division after charging some decent sets with the two youngest riders of the group also strutting their stuff. In the Dropknee final du Toit went for a big floater on a decent set wave showing his hunger to claim victory over an ever progressing Nicolas Westman.


SA Champs 2012

Author // Rudi Stadler

We were woken up by pure adrenaline and excitement on the first day of the SA Bodyboarding Championships after attending the opening function the night before at the Margate Hotel. My eyes caught the actions of dolphins jumping through the waves while admiring the sunrise from our balcony as the first years prepared the vehicles on command from the Seniors for the first day of competition at Lucien Beach. The nerves had finally kicked in as this would be the first nationals for some of the team riders with even the Pro Division guys taking a kick in the gut due to some pretty high expectations.

The day kicked of with the first Pro heats taking to the water of a rather small but fun Lucien mid-break with the outgoing tide bringing in some outside sets later in the day. The contest format was again two heats per division with percentages awarded out of 300%. Our riders had to achieve a minimum of 500% to qualify for the top 16 or quarterfinals. Riders then battled it out with top two finishers in each heat going through to semi-finals and again to the finals.

I was amazed at the level Bodyboarding has risen to with the top riders going all out and boosting massive inverts, backflips and the popular air roll spin. Most of our team members chose to start of strategically, going for big, clean rolls as the judges were looking for maneuvers that suited the section presenting itself at the time.

The second day also saw Lucien Beach hosting the days competition but after a change of conditions the event was moved right to our doorsteps at Uvongo main beach, literally 50 meters from where were staying. Greetings by waving tails of massive whales lightened up the mood as some of the riders had dropped out of the event early. Niel Blom made a good comeback in the Dropknee Division returning to to SA Champs after a few years out of competition. Neil Steenkamp also impressed us as our event wild card for our team filling in for IBA World Tour contender Mark McCarthy, who was vying for the World Title in Mexico.

The team finished strong with Rheinhard Du Toit making it through to Finals for Dropknee and finishing in 2nd place overall, finally breaking through that 3rd place barrier. Jonathan Bernon showed some amazing skills to also make the finals in the amateur Men's Division where he finished in 3rd place overall with some good backflips. Eugene Prenzler, in his first ever SA Champs, impressed us all by making the semi-finals in the Boys Division and ending 5th overall in South Africa. The Boys division featured a dominating Tristan Roberts from Boland, who took 1st place in both the Boys and Pro divisions at only 15 years of age. This was nothing but motivation for our younger riders and inspired them to push harder and prepare themselves better for next years SA Champs.


Contest Wrap Up

Author // Rudi Stadler

It was cold and miserable in Richards Bay on Sunday morning with a big North Easterly swell pushing into Alkantstrand Beach for the third and final event of the Northcore Club Contest series. While the Pro Division riders and NKZN committee members were getting drenched debating where they wanted to set up the competition area, the groms were unpacking vehicles, running up and down the beach and catching chickens to warm up for the tough and daunting paddle.

Although the shape of the waves were not looking too promising, we lifted the competitors spirits by telling them that this would be good training in preparation for the upcoming S.A. Championships in Margate. The scoring system used for this series was based on other national events, where the rider has to take part in the full series of 3 contests and points are awarded for their respective positions. These points then gets added up to decide individual placings allowing for everybody to have a equal chance of winning.

A test of endurance and fitness was the order of the day and technical riding skill was needed to do well in heats with big rolls and tactical spins earning the majority of points. The Pros pushed real hard with Jonathan Bernon attempting some big backflips and Nick Phillips teaching the kids how to achieve maximum spray from a simple cutback. Xander Farrel, Eugene Prenzler, C.J Viljoen and Shane Eve really showed a lot of dedication and improvement with some stylish rolls and reverse spins all adding up to overall consistent riding. It was impressive to see how the riders were psyching each other up, boosting morale and forcing each other to milk every opportunity out of the waves to secure some solid scores as the waves dissipated by the hour. A lot of potential was also seen in the Nippers division.

Rheinhard du Toit never failed to impress the judges over the three events and finished strong in first place for both Pro and Dropknee (DK). Niel Blom made a comeback in DK busting some radical floaters and stylish snaps. Claudde Coetzer lost his nervous system somewhere in the ocean as he put his body on the line to impress the judges with big rolls and flips. Warren van der Merwe unfortunately injured himself in a hockey game and was out for the first two events but came back to remind us that he is still able to be competitive. At the end of the day the rider who really impressed everyone was Nicolas Westman. The kid wowed the spectators with some impressive flips and roll-spins off gnarly sections. Nic hasn't only been impressive in the competition but is always the first to surf bigger than average swell and deep pits as awell as boosting out some really big inverts, even attempting cutting edge moves like the invert to reverse air.

Cross-shore and onshore winds began to whistle over the sand dunes later in the day making it extremely difficult to judge. One good thing this brought was some very welcome sunshine but the relief didn’t last too long as our gazebo decided it was moon-bound and like storm chasers we were standing in the open getting sand blasted. 



Author // Webmaster

The Northern KwaZulu-Natal Bodyboarding Association will be holding their AGM at the Rotary Room, Richards Bay Country Club this Saturday 30 June at 18:30pm for 19:00pm. It is a casual bring and braai event where a new committee will be chosen and the team announced for the 2012 SA Championships. All welcome - Please contact Rheinhard 083 280 0519 for more information.


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