Pam Golding Canals Winter Doubles Challenge

Pam Golding Canals Winter Doubles Challenge

By Richard Arderne

The annual Pam Golding Canals Winter Doubles Challenge starts at the Cove at 9am this Saturday.

Some sports events survive for many years, and some fade away quite soon.

Examples of longstanding sports events are the Calamari Classic Golf, the Boardriders Locals Surf Comp, the Pam Golding Quadrathlon, the Pam Golding Annual (between the Links and the Bay clubs), the Pam Golding Ladies Golf Open, the Kromme River Descent Swim, the Tuna Classic (fishing), the Sporty Anderson Surfski Challenge …. and the Pam Golding Canals Winter Doubles Challenge, held annually since 2006.

Over the summer we hold offshore surfski races, but because it’s held in mid-winter, we hold this race in the fairly sheltered canals.

More about Saturday’s Race

There is a 10km race and a 20km race, around the 5km “time trial” canal course. So its two laps for the short course, and a grueling four laps for the long course.

⁠There will be complimentary filter coffee and rusks at the start, ⁠ALL doubles finishers in the 20km race will receive a prize, entry fees includes something tasty and nutritious at the end, and prizes are only for doubles but singles are very welcome.

Huge thanks to Carbonology for once again (as they have done for so many years) provided a lucky draw Carbonology carbon split paddle, valued at R3500, and to Rack and Paddle for their lucky draws once again.

First boat to finish the 20km race receives R3000. There are also cash prizes for 2nd and 3rd place, and 1st ladies, 1st mixed, 1st over 65, 1st under 18. Smaller prizes are on offer for the 10km race, mostly the excellent Pam Golding red wine!

The photos are from some of our races over the last few years.

A bit more about our wonderful St Francis Paddling Club:

Our club is founded


On 16 March 2011, MJ Pretorius and Chris Opperman (both now living elsewhere) persuaded us to form a club. I was the first chairman, and Pete King the captain, a position he still holds. Clint Hempel was our next Chairman, then Pete Mitchley, and now its Charlie Jonsson.

Without Dave and Marie Louw, the club would not have flourished. Dave was our timekeeper at the canal harbour before Nevil Hulett persuaded us to move to his new Quaysyde restaurant. Now we are back at the canal harbour, but have nearly secured a permanent new spot.

Marie set up our website, the best in the land, also runs the East Cape Canoe Union. A few years ago Mandy McGregor and Anita Dabrowski took over from the Louws as timekeepers

Weekly Time Trials


The first Time Trial was held on 23 March 2011. TTs are on Wednesday evenings, 10kms, 5kms, and 3kms, and are never cancelled due to bad weather!

The 10km Singles Time Trial record has been improved from Pete King’s 49.47min in 2011 to Matt Bouman’s 41.26 in 2016, and then Hank McGregor’s incredible 39.00 on 19 July 2018.

The premier award is the Time Trial Attendance Trophy. Rich Poole has his name on it three times (in 2018 for 49 out of 49 TTs!) and Roeltin Louw twice and Pete King four times!

Paddling in St Francis

Besides our sheltered canals, we have the wonderful Kromme River, and the sea, often with quite sheltered paddling out to Shark Point, and often exciting westerly downwinds to JBay, and easterly downwinds to Oyster Bay, in the open ocean. And best of all, riding waves at Huletts. And we are so lucky to have clean river and ocean water.

SA Marathon Champs in St Francis

St Francis, halfway between Cape Town and Durban, with excellent paddling options, is well suited to hosting national events. And so its no surprise that we have hosted SA National Marathon Champs three times over the last six years. Given the success of these events, we will surely host many more.

Other Eastern Cape Races

We are fortunate to be quite close to South Africa’s best river race, the Fish (Cradock) and the best surfski race, the Pete Marlin (East London) and many of our members have enjoyed these over the years. The start of the daunting four-day 240km PE2EL is also close by. We have many brave club members who have completed this ultra endurance event.

Our club is growing

We now have nearly 200 members … more than most city clubs! We have welcomed many enthusiastic new members over the past few years, some quite new to paddling.

We are different from some clubs, we have quite a few members who start paddling fairly late in life, often without a background of lifesaving or surfing. These paddlers so enjoy the safe canals and river.

Dave Louw has spent countless hours coaching Sea Vista teenagers, which he started doing in 2011.

My paddling passion!

Being the franchisee of Pam Golding Properties, I have enjoyed sponsoring many races over the last 19 years. Paddling has been a big part of my life since the early 90’s, with Billy Harker’s Cape Town surfski races, and Clifton and Hout Bay dices and Breede River Marathons. And since 2005 paddling here in St Francis. I’ve so enjoyed the camaraderie amongst paddlers.

Rip Curl and Zigzag Magazine To Send GromSearch U16 Winners To Finals In Indonesia – Surfing Today With Rip Curl

Rip Curl and Zigzag Magazine To Send GromSearch U16 Winners To Finals In Indonesia – Surfing Today With Rip Curl

Rip Curl South Africa is pleased to announce a partnership with Zigzag Surfing Magazine to sendthe series winners in the premier Boys U16 and Girls U16 divisions of the 2024 Rip Curl GromSearch Series to the GromSearch International Finals. Sea Harvest and the Royal St Andrews Hotel in Port Alfred are co-sponsors.

This contest will be held in Indonesia in November of this year. Details of the exact location and dates will follow. 

These two surfers will each win coveted entries into these finals and a R20k travel voucher to be used towards their travel arrangements to and from this event.

Rip Curl GromSearch International Finals.

 On arrival in Indonesia, Rip Curl will host these two surfers at the Rip Curl GromSearch International Finals.

 “We are thrilled to be sending the two top U16 surfers from the 2024 Rip Curl GromSearch series to the international finals with support from Zigzag Magazine,” says Rip Curl South Africa CEO Stuart Daykin. “There is much anticipation for this event, and we can’t wait to see our surfers in action on the international stage.”


Rip Curl GromSearch international finals Indonesia – location and date to be announced soon

“We are stoked to partner with Rip Curl and send two surfers to the international finals in Indonesia,” said Zigzag Magazine editor Jazz Kuschke.  

Supporting junior surfing in South Africa

“It’s always good to partner with brands that are supporting junior surfing in South Africa, and right now, the Rip Curl GromSearch is the best series for our younger surfers to get valuable competitive surfing experience, size up the world of professional surfing and understand what they need to do and how to do it to succeed in the sport.” 

The Rip Curl GromSearch Series events in South Africa are all SURFING SOUTH AFRICA events and will select its winners based on the top four out of five contests. If a winner cannot attend the International Finals, the entry slot and travel voucher will be passed on to the next surfer on the Rip Curl South Africa GromSearch ratings list. 

“Surfing South Africa is stoked that Rip Curl will be rewarding the U16 male and female winners of the 2024 Rip Curl Gromsearch Series with slots in the International finals in Indonesia in November,” said Surfing South Africa General Manager Robin De Kock.

Rip Curl and SSA Partnership

“The partnership between Rip Curl and SSA has both ensured the growth of and increased the quality of South Africa’s junior surfers over the last three years, and it is only fitting that the best U16 South Africans will get an opportunity to compete in the International Rip Curl event.

SSA is grateful to Rip Curl and partners, Sea Harvest, the Royal St Andrews Hotel in Port Alfred, and Zigzag Magazine for making this a reality.”

Rip Curl and Zigzag Magazine

 The next Rip Curl GromSearch, event number four, will take place at Dairy Beach from July 12 to 14. Entries are open here. 

About Surfing South Africa

Surfing South Africa is the official National Federation for Surfing in South Africa. SSA is a member of the South Africa Confederation of Sport and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and is recognised as the governing body by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.

Surfing South Africa is responsible for the development of the sport, the hosting of National tournaments, the sanctioning of International events and the selection of National teams in all the disciplines that are part of SSA. SSA is a member of the African Surfing Confederation (ASC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA), the World governing body for the sport.





Aerial Surfing Gallery From The Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill

Aerial Surfing Gallery From The Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill

The only way to win surfing events these days is to take to the skies, and that’s exactly what the surfers have been doing in this Aerial Surfing Gallery at The Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill World Surf League Challenger Series event.

All photos by @kodymcgregor @pierretostee @theballitopro

See also: St Francis Bay Surfers in action at The Ballito Pro: Gallery

St Francis Bay Surfers in action at The Ballito Pro: Gallery

St Francis Bay Surfers in action at The Ballito Pro: Gallery

Events include the O’Neill SMTH Shapes Rookies Rippers, as well as the World Surf League’s The O’Neil SMTH Shapes Ballito Junior Pro and the Ballito Open presented by Flojos, with all of our St Francis Bay Surfers in action.

All photos by Pierre Tostee/ WSL, Kody McGregor/WSLThe Ballito Pro


See also: Sally Fitzgibbons and Luke Thompson (South Africa) Wins Ballito Open presented by Flojos


Sally Fitzgibbons and Luke Thompson (South Africa) Wins Ballito Open presented by Flojos

Sally Fitzgibbons and Luke Thompson (South Africa) Wins Ballito Open presented by Flojos

BALLITO, KwaDukuza, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (Sunday, June 30,2024) – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Luke Thompson (RSA) won the World Surf League (WSL) Ballito Open presented by Flojos Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 today in challenging one-to-two foot surf in Ballito. The swell might have dropped, but today’s finalists showed their mettle to advance through the competition to make it all the way to the podium.

Fitzgibbons Spars With New Generation, Inspired To Keep Pushing

It was a stacked women’s Final, with the experienced Sally Fitzgibbons(AUS) coming up against a dominating new generation in Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri (EUK), Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) and Bella Kenworthy (USA).

Etxabarri posted the first score, while the rest of the field tried to find their spot in the lineup. Fitzgibbons kept moving up and down the lineup searching for opportunities. Halfway through the heat Fitzgibbons moved over to a different bank and found a good wave, getting two strong turns in for a 6.00 (out of a possible 10). Everything switched on and she found more fun sections and kept on improving her total score, applying the pressure on her competitors. No one could catch up and she adds another win to her trophy cabinet.

“It was one of those finals where there was a flurry of waves before, but then it just started to go a bit sleepy and none of us could get a jump start,Fitzgibbons said. I thought to myself, how do I get into this heat and I just started moving that energy. Getting that 6 was really handy, but I knew I had to back it up. I found a chunky section off the end in front of the rocks and that felt really cool.”

“To come in and have the next generation cheer you up, I started this game when they were probably still in nappies so it was cool that they came down to support me!It was a really great day, sparring with each other and lifting our performances for the rest of the week.”

Fitzgibbons did a great job in the first Semifinals, staying low over her board to crack out a few snappy turns, she got the win ahead of Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri (EUK). The second Semifinal was much slower which saw Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) and Bella Kenworthy (USA) squeak through with small scores.

Thompson Wins In Front Of Home Crowd

In today’s conditions, any wave and any score, no matter how small, could mean you win or lose and Shion Crawford (HAW) didn’t want to sit around and wait. Crawford posted two quick scores, putting the pressure on his competitors. Luck swung in the direction of Luke Thompson (RSA) when he found a good-looking wave to whack two man-size turns into the face for 7.00 and then backed it up with a 4.50 to take the lead.

Jackson Bunch (HAW) found the best wave of the heat, giving him a lot of wall to work with to unload three huge turns on his backhand, earning an excellent 8.83, the highest single wave score of the day. Thompson still had priority and found another great wave, slicing into the wave with everything he had. Crawford, Bunch and Rinta Oooto (JPN) all caught waves at the same time, and the seconds counted down as everyone waited for the scores to drop. The judges rewarded Thompson with a 7.33 and scored the highest heat total of the day with 14.33 (out of a possible 20).

“When Jackson (Bunch) dropped that 8.83 I was so stressed,Thompson admitted. Fortunately I had priority and there was still lots of time left, so I knew I just had to sit and wait and hope an opportunity comes my way. Then that wave came at the end and I knew it was my opportunity and everything aligned.”

“I felt so good out there, even at the start of the heat I was sitting in no man’s land and a wave just came to me, so it felt like everything was coming to me at the right time. I really wanted to get a win here at home in front of everyone. I have my friends here and my mom, so I’m just really grateful,Thompson said.

In the first men’s Semifinal, Crawford pushed the level to excellent when he scored an 8.17 for his powerful surfing and booked his spot in the Finals alongside Bunch. The second Semifinal saw the last two remaining South Africans Thompson and Connor Slijpen (RSA) take on Oooto and Winter Vincent (AUS), in an exciting exchange of airs, but only Thompson and Oooto advanced.

The Ballito Open presented by Flojos is supported by Flojos, KwaDukuza Municipality, Surfing South Africa, The North Coast Courier, Monster Energy, SMG and Coca-Cola.

O’Neill SMTH Shapes Rookie Rippers Kicks Off In Ballito

O’Neill SMTH Shapes Rookie Rippers Kicks Off In Ballito

O'Neill SMTH Shapes

Matt Canning with a winning performance across two divisions © Tostee/Ballito Pro.

Willard Beach, Ballito – An icy winter morning greeted competitors on the opening day of the O’Neill SMTH Shapes Rookie Rippers event as excited junior surfers headed down to register.

 This popular contest starts two weeks of competition surfing in Ballito, around the Ballito Pro Festival.

 The waves were small and highly contestable, and the event had a full entry list, so it was early into the water for Heat 1.


O'Neill SMTH Shapes

Small but highly contestable for Day One of the O’Neill SMTH Shapes Rookie Rippers © Kody McGregor/Ballito Pro

First Heat

The first heat win in the first heat of the day, the U12 Boys Quarterfinal Heat 1, went to local surfer Tyler Balfour. He who took out Slayde Shooter (St Francis Bay) and James Gunning (Ballito).

Jumping forward to U16 Boys Round One Heat Three, Matt Canning (Durban) put on an explosive performance to outpoint his competitors and took a comfortable win, advancing to the following round. Canning went on to do the double, winning his U18 Boys Round One Heat as well, with another inspired performance in the small conditions.

Low Tide Conditions

The low tide around midday made the conditions punchy, allowing the surfers to go for aerial moves and other high-scoring manoeuvres. With the sudden-death format, junior surfing is always exciting and sometimes brutal. Ntokozo Maphumulo (Dbn) clutched a second place behind Clayton Turrel (South Coast) in their U18 Round One heat with a tight surfing and a huge forehand air reverse, He edged Ben Esterhuyse (CPT) into third and out of the event along with Rylan Jarvis (CSF).


Surprise advanced with Turrell © Kody McGregor/Ballito Pro.


The O’Neill SMTH Shapes Rookie Rippers will commence tomorrow (Wednesday, 26 June) at 7 am.

The O'Neill SMTH Shapes

Outside of the surfing arena, there is still plenty of action happening with a full festival programme at the Ballito Pro Festival activities, events, and entertainment. More here –


 The heats and schedule of the O’Neill SMTH Shapes Rookie Rippers can be viewed on Liveheats.

 Wave scores and heat results will be published on as they are posted by the judges on both days of the competition. These can be accessed on any mobile device, laptop, tablet or PC

 Surfing South Africa is the recognised governing body for Surfriding in South Africa. It is responsible for the activities of all its disciplines, such as surfing, longboarding, bodyboarding, kneeboarding, para surfing and SUP surfing. SSA is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). The African Surfing Confederation (ASC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA). More on Surfing South Africa here – SSA