Stoked on Salt

Stoked on Salt

Here was a day to remember. It was a day of affirmation and fun, of camaraderie and caring. There were smiling people. There were no tubes, but there were barrels of laughs.
There were some tears. There were hugs. Many of them. There was genuine, heartfelt feeling for each other - no matter the disposition or the destiny dealt by fate. And this happiness virus - this feeling of surfing stoke - was contagious. By the end of the day, everyone had come down with a severe bout.
When you laugh, your body releases endorphins. When you surf, your body releases endorphins. Put the two together and you have a winning formula for drug-free self-medication.

The Triggerfish SA Adaptive Surfing Champs were a far cry from the abhorrent scenes that marred a recent junior competition. Yesterday, there was no pompous self-entitlement. Here there were no cocky rock stars strutting about with arrogant impunity.
No-one swore or used nasty language to each other. There was no disrespect for elders. No-one acted like a tweet.
This was about friendship and stoke - in no particular order. Historical records tell us that Muizenberg means Mouse's Mountain. But here be lions - of heart and soul. The dribbly 1ft surf in front of the pavilion did little to quell the well-spring of stoke, or slow the legions of locals who came to help.
Pretty much everyone stayed the course from start to finish, including Triggerfish CFO Jean-Michel Koenig who handed out the prizes at the Muizenberg Pavilion in the mid-afternoon. And so it was for the many folk who gave up their Sunday to be part of history. There were surf school instructors, surf shop staff, surfing administrators, parents, former pro surfers, future pro surfers, photographers, media people, and sometimes just curious passersby. You name it, they were there, sans many in the elite surfing groups who should have been.
Five heats represented five divisions: Standup 1, Standup 2, Prone, Assist, and Blind. Each heat was repeated twice to make 10 heats in the day. The combined results were tallied to find the South African champion. There was also a clinic that saw people who had never surfed before get a tantalising taste of that salty stoke us surf vets know so well. Judging by the outbreak of spontaneous grinning, they're in it for the long haul now.
These are the five categories that will be represented at the second world adaptive surfing championships in San Diego in early December. 
The two Standup divisions are categorised according to various disabilities, from amputations to cerebral palsy, and they can surf standing up or kneeling. Prone surfers lie down and once they are out in the lineup, paddle and catch the waves themselves, although minders are allowed to turn them towards shore when a wave is coming. These are usually paraplegics: paralysed from the waist down. Quadriplegics, those paralysed from the neck down, are in the assist class, as would cases of severe CP, where they are pushed into the waves. The blind surfers have a minder who helps them into the lineup and gets them into the wave, but they must ride it themselves.
Think about that for a moment, and perhaps the penny will drop. Assisting these people should be mandatory for all over-zealous competitive surfers and parents. A little perspective can be healing for the over-worked soul.
The weather was nice, but the surf was terrible. This didn't matter, because within the broader category, there are very few rules about the kind of board you rode. You could have ridden a SUP if you wanted, or a little 5' 0 stick.
With medals for each of the finalists as well as a Surfer of the Contest Award and prizes donated by Reef Wetsuits up for grabs competitors gave it their all. Fine performances by 2015 SA Team members, Dries Millard of Saldanha Bay, who posted a total score of 78,1 points and Antony Smyth of Hout Bay, who racked up 71,50 points earned them both South African titles and gold medals but were it was not enough for either of them to take the Surfer of the Contest Award. This honour went to Caleb Swanepoel of Rondebosch who posted two 10 point rides in the event and scored a total of 93,5 points to take the Surfer of the Contest Trophy.
Millard took gold in the Prone Division with Daniel Nel of Parow of taking silver and Ian Kolevsohn of Cape Town going home with a bronze medal. Antony Smyth, a silver medalist at the 2015 ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championships, won the SA Stand Up 1 Title ahead of JP Veaudry of East London, his teammate in San Diego last year. James Orbin of Richards Bay took third place and the bronze medal.
Leslie Lee of Port Elizabeth, the only woman in the event came second to Swanepoel in the Stand Up 2 Division but also won the Stoked Surfer of the Contest Award. Anton Raimondo of Cape Town was third and earned a bronze medal, while Tyler Pike of Kirstenhof took fourth and was awarded the copper medal.
In the Assist Division the result was close with only 7 points separating first and third place. In the end Albert Rust of Ermelo posted 59,4 and edged Ashtan Davids of Muizenberg into second place. Davids scored 52,6 points a mere, 1 point ahead of Graham Humphries of Claremont who had to settle for bronze.
Blind surfers Erryn Geddie of Glenwood and Danito Mondlane of Durban also competed in the 2016 Triggerfish Animation SA Adaptive Surfing Championships in their own division.Both of these KZN surfers made the trip to the event having worked hard on their surfing with Adapted Surfing South Africa Board Member Wes Smith. Smith, Danito’s dad, Leon Van Zyl as well as Janine Prinsloo and Harry Dreyer were all part of the stoked KZN group that made the trip to this historical event.
After two rounds of competition Geddie posted 59,3 points to take victory and Mondlane scored 38,1 for the silver medal.
Well done to everyone.
The 2016 South Africa Adaptive Surfing Championships was sponsored by Triggerfish Animation Studios and supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa, Hawk62, Reef Wetsuits, Wavescape, Surf Emporium and GoPro.
The event is sanctioned by Surfing South Africa, the recognized national governing body for the sport and presented by Adapted Surfing South Africa. Surfing South Africa is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).
Full article originally published http://www.wavescape.co.za/surf-news/breaking-news/stoked-on-salt.html

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