Durban – Shining young star Anna Notten left her mark on the 2015 South African Surf Lifesaving Championships at Suncoast Pirates after the opening day when she clinched victory in the senior women’s Board Race as well as the Mixed Double Ski and Board Relay.
Notten’s golden double paved the way for a strong showing throughout the day by her fellow Fish Hoek SLC competitors as the contest’s defending champs look to retain their the title they won at Strand in 2014.
“I’m so super, super stoked to have won a national board title!” said an ecstatic Notten after her board effort. “I’ve finished second and third so often in the past and I’ve won the junior nationals but never the seniors.”
The youngster suffered a shaky start to her board challenge when she came unstuck in the shore break however a calm head and powerful second half of the race saw her get herself back in the mix and narrowly edge out Marine SLC’s Samantha Rowe and Fish Hoek team mates Kirsten Flannagan and Jodi Cleworth.
“I was a bit worried when I fell off at the start because my start is usually one of my big strengths!
“I managed to catch back up by the cans and had a good run in with Jodi and Kirsten.
“I tried to ride Jodi’s wave on our way in though and the next thing I knew she’d actually opened up a bit of a gap and I just thought “Ah man, what have I done?””
“Thankfully I managed to close the gap again though and it really is amazing to have won my first (board) nationals!” she added.
Paul van Achterburgh also enjoyed a strong first day as the Marine SLC athlete narrowly edged out club mate and regular top performer Wade Krieger for the senior men’s board race spoils while he and Chad Ho, together with Barry Lewin and Mark Mulder, also crossed the line first in the Rescue Tube Rescue clash.
“Chad and I won the Board Rescue and the Tube Rescue last year in Strand so we’re stoked to have gotten the Tube Rescue again this year already and we’ll see how things go in the Board rescue tomorrow,” said van Achterburgh.
“In the Board Race Wade (Kriger) and Nic (Notten) got away from the rest of us a bit on the way in but I know I’ve usually got a strong leg back from the cans. Fortunately we were able to jump on quite a big wave that brought us right back up to the front two and then it all came down to the sprint up the beach.
“I just managed to beat Wade – who is a phenomenal athlete – to the line so I’m really stoked!”
The day’s senior action concluded with the crowd favourite, the men’s and women’s Beach Flags.
The men’s title was a hard fought affair Thursday’s Inter-Provincial standouts Ryle de Morby of False Bay and Durban Surf’s Mandi Maritz continuing from where they left off on the beach the previous day.
On the junior’s front it was an relatively evenly spread opening day however regular strong performances from the youngsters from Kings Beach from the Eastern Cape and Clifton from Cape Town give the two junior outfits the early advantage.
Day 2 of the 2015 SA Surf Lifesaving Championships take place at Suncoast Pirates on Saturday 25 April from 08h00.
Thursday’s opening day of the 2015 surf lifesaving nationals at Suncoast Pirates SLC on Durban’s beachfront was a victorious one for host province KwaZulu-Natal as both the KZN A senior and junior teams clinched the 2015 inter-provincial competitions.
It was a strong opening statement by the local competitors ahead of this year’s South African Surf Lifesaving Championships which take place at the same venue from Friday to Sunday.
“Carmel Billson and Sasha-Lee Nordengen’s first and second in the senior women’s surf swim got us started on a really positive note and things just seemed to carry on really well for us from there,” said Lewin, captain of KZN A.
“Hats off to the organisers, Suncoast Pirates, who have built such a fantastic venue and it is also great to see the sport of surf lifesaving receiving such great backing from the likes of the South African Sugar Association, Illovo Sugar and Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World!” he added.
Billson’s success then paved the way for her fellow KZN A team mates Chad Ho (Surf Swim), Lewin (Ski) Michelle Burn (Ski), Mandy Maritz (Beach Sprint and Beach Flags) and Paul van Achterburgh (Board) to then replicate her feat while the senior Mixed Taplin Relay and Mixed Beach Relay also went the way of the team.
The Western Cape team finished second compliments of victory in the senior women’s Board by Anna Notten and the senior men’s Ryle de Morny while the Eastern Cape’s Jason Collier stole the show in the senior men’s Beach Flags showdown.
Travis Misdorp (Board and Surf Swim) and Kelly Fell (Beach Sprint and Beach Flags) were multiple winners in the junior competition while fellow KZN A junior competitors Tamryn Montgomery (Board) and Ayanda Muphumulo (Surf Swim) also claimed victories.
Earlier in the day a large contingent of masters competitors got proceedings underway as they tackled the various surf and beach events throughout the warm, blustery morning.
2002 Board World Champion and 2003 Australian National Board Champion Jenna Venter proved she definitely still has what it takes as she soared to victory in the women’s 30-34 Beach Flags, Single Ski, Surf Swim and Mixed Doubles races.
“With masters being held at my home club I just had to come down and see what it was all about again this year and catch up with old mates!” said Venter.
“It has been great to see so many competitors here for this year’s masters and competitors from all over the country as well!
“There is always such a great social vibe to the masters nationals; once you get on that start line then muscle memory of old and your competitive nature still kicks in so there have been some really good races out here today!” she added.
Marine SLC’s Russell Sadler was another to clean up on the day as he claimed no fewer than six first places in his men’s 35-39 category (Board, Board Rescue, Double Ski, Iron Man, Single Ski and Surf Swim), this despite opting not to tackle any of the beach events.
False Bay’s strength on the sand was once again well displayed as 30-34 men’s competitor Yusuf Wasserfall (Beach Sprint and Beach Flags) and his 55-59 male club mate Michael Faulmann (Beach Sprint and 1km Beach Run) powered their respective first places.
“The beach events have always been quite a strength of our club,” explained Wasserfall.
“This is my second masters nationals but my first time in Durban and so it is great to win a couple of the beach events!”
The much anticipated 2015 South African Surf Lifesaving Championships get underway at the same venue on Friday where all of the country’s top competitors are expected to stake a claim for their share of the spoils.
The event’s opening ceremony takes place at 07h30 on Friday at Suncoast Pirates with the action set to get underway at 08h30.