St Francis Bay surfer Michael Hill © Mike Ruthnum

Day 1 of the 2022 South African Longboard Championships presented by Ryd Brand, sanctioned by Surfing South Africa opened to a bright, sunny day and one of the biggest swells Jeffreys Bay has seen this year. Competitors were welcomed by rough, 6ft plus surf at Point in Jeffreys Bay on the morning of the opening day and proceedings had to be put on hold for several hours until conditions were deemed contestable.

By 11:30am, the waves eased to a steady 6ft and the highly competitive Open Mens division was sent out to tackle the sizable waves. Major maneuvers on wide open faces were the order of the day and the highest scores were allocated to competitors that found their footing in the tricky conditions.

2021 South African Longboard Champion Sam Christianson (KZN) put on a confident performance that earned him the second highest heat score total of the day (13.26) and a spot in Round 3. Christianson exhibited graceful flow, seamlessly stringing together combinations of Hang Fives, Hang Tens and swooping cutbacks for a convincing heat win.

2022 SA Longboard Championships

St Francis surfer Greg Smith © Mike Ruthnum

Western Province youngsters Tristan Lev and Manoa Robb showed flashes of brilliance, a small taste of what can be expected in competition from them this week. Lev achieved the highest single score of the day (7.75) with his signature arching turns and unshakeable nose rides, while Robb produced a seemingly endless nose ride that earned him a solid score and a heat win. Both competitors won their respective heats, securing themselves spots in Round 3.

The day of competition ended with the Master’s division (ages 35 to 45), where St. Francis local Michael Hill (Eden) delivered a standout performance to receive the highest heat score total of the day. The winner of multiple longboarding events over his surfing career, Hill proved unphased by the somewhat testing conditions, using steady technical footwork and deep, searing carves to impress spectators.

The South African Longboard Championships is traditionally a family event and brings welcome sports tourism to Jeffreys Bay. Excellent weather and contestable waves are expected to draw crowds of spectators to the contest site throughout the week.

For more information contact: Paul O’Connell

Competition results are available here: