Team SA is currently in second place of the team rankings at the ISA World Master surfing event in El Salvadaor.
The team standings are very tight with South Africa just 930 points behind Brazil, US in third and Hawaii fourth followed by Puerto Rico and defending team champions Australiain sixth place.
There is also a South African surfer in each of the five divisions in the finals today (6 pm South African time).
Gary van Wieringen in the Men’s Masters and Heather Clark in the Women’s Masters are already in the Grand Finals and guaranteed medals while Andre Malherbe (Grand Masters), David Malherbe (Kahunas) and Chris Knutsen (Grand Kahunas) are one heat away from their Grand Finals.
Van Wieringen wasted no time in the small 0.5 to 1.0 metre waves at Punta Roca yesterday, posting a 5.83 point ride early in the qualifying stream final before wrapping up the heat victory with a 7.83, the highest score of the 20 minute encounter, to cruise into the Grand Final along with second placed Ross Williams (HAW).
“I’m very happy to be in the final. I’ve been competing for long enough so I know how to deal with pressure,” said Van Wieringen.
Clarktook second place in her qualifying stream final behind an outstanding performance from seven-time ASP World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS).Clark, the two time and defending champion, is hoping to claim a third gold medal from the top Australian woman competitior.
Andre Malherbe continued his inspired charge through the gruelling repecharge rounds yesterday, finishing second in his first encounter and then posting a morale boosting win. The East Londoner now faces former World Tour campaigners Fabio Gouveia (BRA) and Dean Randazzo (US) along with Santiago di Pace fromArgentinawith the top two advancing to the Grand Final/
Older brother David Malherbe contested the qualifying stream final in the Over 45 division yesterday but could only produce a couple of three point rides and slumped to fourth place behind the American pair of Tom Curren and Jim Hogan, with Mike Latronic (HAW) in third. Today Malherbe and Latronic will take on Brazilians David Husadel and Sergio Penna with the top two advancing to meet the Americans in the Grand Final.
Chris Knutsen simply could not find any waves with high scoring potential in his Grand Kahunas qualifying stream final and the Durbanite slumped to fourth place behind Nick Pearson (AUS) and Alan Sarlo (US). Knutsen and Javier Gorbea (PUR) face Craig Shieber (CRI) and Jean Labrucherie (FRA) with the top two qualifying for medals against Pearson and Sarlo in the Grand Final of the oldest division.
Other South Africans in action yesterday included Colin Buitendag (George) who just missed out on second place in his Kahunas repecharge Round 4 heat to finish equal ninth in the division and contributing 1 000 points to the team total. Kevin O’Brien reached repecharge Round 5 in the Grand Masters division but placed fourth there to end equal seventh overall and earned 1 056 points for the team.
Organisers are hoping that a predicted larger swell will start filling at Punta Roca today and the final day’s action will only start at 10 am local time (6pm SA time). The first South African in action will be Chris Knutsen followed by the Malherbe brothers in their respective repecharge finals. Those will be followed by the five division finals. See full schedule below.
Repechage 4 Women Masters
Repechage 4 Grand Kahunas (Chris Knutsen)
Repechage 6 Kahunas (David Malherbe)
Repechage 6 Grand Masters (Andre Malherbe)
Repechage 6 Masters
Final Women Masters (Heather Clark)
Final Grand Kahunas
Final Grand Masters
See photos of South Africans at El Salvador:
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