Bianca Buitendag Clinches Bronze Medal at ISA World Surfing Games in Japan

Miyazaki, Japan, 10 September 2019 – South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag clinched the Bronze medal for third place in the Open Women’s event at the ISA World Surfing Games (WSG) presented by Vans in Miyazaki, Japan today (Tuesday).

Bianca Buitendag on the podium to collect the Bronze medal she won in the Women’s Final at the ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans in Japan on Tuesday (LtR) Silvana Lima (Brazil, Silver), Sofia Mulanovich (Peru, Gold), Bianca Buitendag (South Africa, Bronze), Carissa Moore (USA, Copper). In front (with hat) is ISA President Fernando Aguerre (Argentina) – Photo: ISA / Reed

Competing against two former World Champions and a current member of the elite Championship Tour (CT) in a hard fought final, the Mercedes-Benz Buffalo City South African Surfing team member finished a slender 1.16 points behind eventual winner Sofia Mulanovich (Peru), 0.13 of point behind Silver medallist Silvana Lima (Brazil) and 0.03 of a point ahead of Carissa Moore (USA) who took the Copper.

“I am so stoked, it’s been a long four days,” said Buitendag after the completion of the awards ceremony at the event site. “Today was the last sprint of the marathon and I had the support of the whole team behind me. I’ve hugely inspired by my teammates and now I’m really excited to sit on the shore and watch the boys do what they do.”

The medal was Buitendag’s third in successive ISA WSG events and will join her Copper in France in 2017 and Bronze in Japan last year in her trophy cabinet.

As the highest finishing female surfer from the African Continent, the 25-year-old from Victoria Bay in the Southern Cape also secured provisional qualification for next year’s 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games where surfing takes its place among the other disciplines on the world’s premier sports platform.

Just one heat away from a place in Grand Final coming into the last day of the women’s event, Buitendag was forced to contest a cutthroat Repercharge Final when she finished fourth behind Lima, Mulanovich and Tatiana Weston-Webb (Brazil) in her opening heat of the day.

However, the South African bounced back with a vengeance, posting a 14.63 point (out of 20) heat total, the fifth highest of the final day, to advance to the Grand Final in second place behind Moore, with Weston-Webb and defending event champ Sally Fitzgibbons (Australia) eliminated and ending in fifth and sixth places overall.

The South African opened her account in the final with an outstanding 7.77 (out of 10), the highest single scoring ride of the heat, but struggled to produce a similar second score, eventually having to settle for a backup wave of 4.87 as first  Mulanovich (with a 7.20 and a 6.60) and then Lima (with 7.60 and 5.17) overtook her.

With teammates Sara Baum and Zoe Steyn finishing equal 21st and equal 29th respectively on Day 3 (Monday), the Mercedes-Benz Buffalo City South African Surfing team currently occupies fifth position among the 55 nations in the provisional standings. After the completion of the Women’s event, the rankings are led by Brazil followed by Peru, USA and Australia.

The Men’s event got underway after the Women’s awards ceremony and South Africa’s Jordy Smith (Durban), the current World No. 2 ranked surfer, easily won his Round 1 encounter against rivals from Panama, Senegal and Puerto Rico.

Teammate Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) delivered a similar heat-winning performance against his opponents from Panama, China and Thailand while Mikey February (Kommetjie) will commence his challenge in Heat 36 early tomorrow.

As with the women, the opportunity to qualify for surfing’s inaugural showing at the Olympic Games next year has attracted the world’s best male surfers to the ISA WSG. South Africa, who ended last year’s edition of the event as the fourth ranked team, will be hard pressed to overcome the likes of Brazil who are being represented by the likes of two-time and reigning World Champion Gabriel Medina, current world No. 1 Filipe Toledo and No. 6 ranked Italo Ferreira.

The USA men’s squad includes 11-time World champ Kelly Slater, who last represented his country at the ISA event 29 years ago, along with Kolohe Andino and Conner Coffin while the Australian squad is made up of Owen Wright, Julian Wilson and Ryan Callinan.

“I haven’t competed for Team USA since the 1990 edition of the World Surfing Games also in Japan,” said Slater. “It’s nice to be here because it brings back great memories.

“It’s great to see that there are some really good surfers from other countries, some known and some unknown. Indonesia has a surfer that is amazing and Morocco looked the best out of anyone today. It would be interesting if a surfer from one of those nations won.”

The 2019 ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans is streamed live from September 7-15 on www.isasurf.org starting at approximately 1 am SA Time daily. The tentative schedule for the remainder of the competition is as follows: Wednesday to Saturday, Sep 11-14

  • Aloha Cup (TBC)
  • Open Men competition continues

September 15

  • Finals Open Men
  • Closing Ceremony

2019 ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans Women’s Results:

  • Gold Medal – Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.80 pts
  • Silver Medal – Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.77 pts
  • \Bronze Medal – Bianca Buitendag (RSA) 12.64 pts
  • Copper Medal – Carissa Moore (USA) 12.60 pts

Second arrest in St Francis Bay murder investigation

St Francis Bay detectives made a second arrest in connection with the death of local businessman Duncan Lethbridge and the assault on his wife during a robber in St Francis Bay last month.

The arrest of the 25-year old man follows that of the arrest of the first suspect just four days after the attack.

Spokesperson Captain Gerda Swart says police made a breakthrough in the case and arrested the man in the early hours of Sunday morning.

On the 15th of August, the two suspects allegedly tied up Lethbridge, his 71-year-old wife and their domestic worker before stealing goods from the safe.

Swart says the victims were tied up and their mouths taped shut with sellotape.

The domestic worker managed to free herself and call for help hours after the robbery.

By the time paramedics arrived on the scene, Lethbridge was already dead.

A post mortem confirmed that he had suffocated to death.

Swart says the 35-year-old Bongani Faku abandoned his bid for bail and will be back in court on the 26th of September.

The second suspect is expected to appear in the Humansdorp Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Both men face charges of murder, assault and robbery.

Bianca Buitendag Stars for South Africa at ISA World Surfing Games in Japan

Miyazaki, Japan, 9 September 2019 – Bianca Buitendag was the standout performer for the Mercedes-Benz Buffalo City South African Surfing team on Day 3 of the ISA World Surfing Games (WSG) presented by Vans in Miyazaki, Japan.

Bianca Buitendag on her way to the Main Event Final at the ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans in Japan on Monday – Photo: ISA / Reed

The 25-year-old former Championship Tour (CT) surfer from Victoria Bay in the Southern Cape advanced through two hard-fought heats in overhead waves on Monday to reach the Main Event Final where she is just one heat victory away from a third consecutive medal at the annual global showpiece.

As the highest placed women surfer from the African Continent, Buitendag has also secured provisional qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where surfing will make its debut on the Olympic stage in July next year.

In her first heat of the day Buitendag just squeaked through to the next round in second place behind 2005 World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (Peru). But in her next heat where she was up against three current CT campaigners in seven-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (Australia), event standout Caroline Marks (USA) and Day 2 highest points scorer Tatiana Weston-Webb (Brazil), the South African produced a stellar display, clinching the heat win with a total of 13.33 points out of 20 and advancing to the last four in the Main Event stream along with heat runner-up Weston-Webb.

A top-two finish in the Main Event Final on Tuesday will guarantee Buitendag a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Copper medal to go with the Copper and Bronze she earned in the corresponding events in France in 2017 and in Japan last year.

Even placing third or fourth will give her another chance in the Repercharge Final where a top two finish also will see her advance to the Grand Final and a medal.

Sarah Baum was also on a roll in the unruly waves, posting heat-winning totals of 10.87, 12.67 and 12.07 as she progressed through the gruelling Repercharge rounds. However, the Australia-based former Durbanite eventually fell short in Round 6 and was eliminated in equal 21st position among the103 female competitors, contributing 380 points towards the SA team’s total.

Zoe Steyn, in just her second international event at this level, started the day in Repercharge Round 4 and progressed to Round 5. There the East Londoner finished  fourth in a stacked heat that included three current CT surfers in three-time World Champ Carissa Moore (USA), defending ISA WSG champ Sally Fitzgibbons (Australia) and Johanne Defay (France). Steyn exits the event in equal 29th place, earning 340 points for the team.

Wednesday will be Finals day for the women at Myazaki and the four Grand Finalists will be presented with their medals at the awards ceremony at the event site.

The competitors in the men’s event will take to the surf for their opening encounters with the winners being crowned at the closing ceremony on Sunday 15 September.

Current Wold No. 2 and 2006 ISA World Champ Jordy Smith heads the South African contingent and the Durbanite will start his challenge for a medal and Olympic qualification in Heat 4.

Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga), the country’s highest ranked QS competitor for four of the past six years, gets his campaign underway in Heat 28, while Michael February, who spent 2018 among the elite world’s top 32 ranked men on the Championship Tour, starts in Heat 36.

The 2019 ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans is streamed live from September 7-15 on www.isasurf.org starting at approximately 1 am SA Time daily.

The tentative schedule for the remainder of the competition is as follows:

Tuesday Sep 10

  • Finals Open Women
  • Start to Open Men 

Wednesday to Saturday, Sep 11-14

  • Aloha Cup (TBC)
  • Open Men competition continues

September 15

  • Finals Open Men

Closing Ceremony