Mercedes-Benz Buffalo City South African Surfing Team Bags Silver Medal in ISA Aloha Cup

Miyazaki, Japan, September 11, 2019 – The Mercedes-Benz Buffalo City South African Surfing team bagged the Silver Medal in the ISA Aloha Cup at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans in Japan today (Wednesday)

The Silver Medal winning South African squad wait in their ‘box’ while Jordy Smith is surfing in the final of the ISA Aloha Cup at the ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans at Myazaki in Japan. (LtR) Team Coach Greg Emslie (back to camera), Michael February, Bianca Buitendag and Sarah Baum
Back row (without vests) Beyrick de Vries and Zoe Steyn
Photo: ISA / Evans

Anchored by Jordy Smith (Durban),  who earned the two highest wave scores of the final with 7.47 and 8.5 (both out of 10), the squad of two men and two women accumulated a total of 38.11points, just eight / hundreds (0.08) of a point behind winners Australia who took the Gold Medal.

South African, represented by Smith, Michael February (Kommetjie), Sarah Baum (Durban) and Women’s Bronze medalist Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay), benefited from an error by the greatest surfer of all time, 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater, whose final ride in the dying seconds of the final pushed his USA team into a narrow lead.

But the 47 year-old phenomenon fell on his final manoeuvre and was left with a long sprint up the beach, returning to the team ‘box’ seconds after the hooter was sounded to end the encounter. Team USA incurred a five-point penalty for not finishing within the time limit, dropping them to third place and the Bronze Medal, while simultaneously elevating Australia and South Africa into the Gold and Silver medal positions.  

Team Japan was also given a five-point penalty for not finishing in time and totaled 28.10 points in the Copper Medal position.

The ISA Aloha Cup is a team relay event that features two men and two women from the top eight teams from the previous year’s ISA World Surfing Games. There are two semi-finals and a final where each surfer catches two waves in their leg of the relay before ‘tagging’ the next teammate, who is waiting in the team box. The total of all four surfers’ waves becomes the final team score.

The first semi-final featured Japan, South Africa, Peru, and Argentina, while the second semi-final featured Australia, USA, France, and the defending Aloha Cup Gold Medalist, Spain.

South Africa won their semi with a total of 41.77 points and advanced to the final along with runners-up and event hosts Japan (38.34). The second semi saw Australia (47.72) and the USA (46.72) qualify for the final.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“The ISA Aloha Cup is a unique medal competition at all ISA Global Events. It’s full of unity, camaraderie and the joy that epitomize the ISA spirit.

“Drama was not lacking in today’s final as we were on the edge of our seats until the final seconds. Congrats to Team Australia for putting together an all-around, team performance to earn the first team-oriented Gold Medals of the event.”

Competition continued with Men’s Main Event Round 1 and Michael February (Kommetjie) completed a clean sweep of opening round heat wins for South Africa when he produced a pair of six-point rides and a total of 12.93 (out of 20) to join Smith and Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) in Round 2 of the Main Event stream.

Shun Murakami, a member of Japan’s World Surfing Games Gold Medal Team and individual Copper Medalist last year, was the day’s top performer, earning the two highest wave scores of 8.83 and 7.67, and the highest heat total of 16.50.

Reigning World Champion Gabriel Medina (Brazil) held the crowd of thousands in awe with huge aerial maneuvers, earning a heat total of 13.50 to advance into round 2.

“I’m loving my time here in Japan,” said Medina. “Representing my country in the Olympics in 2020 would be a dream come true. I grew up watching Team Brazil in all sports and now it feels great to be part of the team myself. That’s why we are here after all. Hopefully it all works out and I can represent my country next year in Tokyo.”

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

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

Thursday to Saturday, Sep 12-14

  • Open Men competition continues

September 15

  • Finals Open Men
  • Closing Ceremony 

2019 ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans

ISA Aloha Cup Results:

  • Gold Medal – Australia 38.19 pts
  • Silver Medal – South Africa 38.11 pts
  • Bronze Medal – USA 35.38 pts
  • Copper Medal – Japan 28.10 pts

Local youth pass tough lifeguard exam

Eighteen new professional lifeguards have been added to Kouga’s pool.

New Kouga Lifeguards

Kouga has 18 new home-grown lifeguards, with another seven set to take their Lifeguard Award exam

The 18 youngsters, including top junior surfers Angelo Faulkner and Jeremy van Wyk, passed their final lifesaving exams with flying colours at Jeffreys Bay on Sunday.

“Each of the youngsters will now receive a Lifeguard Award,” said Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson.

“This qualification is recognised internationally and can help them secure work as a lifeguard anywhere in the world.”

He said a further four candidates were unable to complete the time test for swimming due to rough conditions and would be re-examined within the next two weeks.

“Another three candidates are also set to take the exam. Should all of them qualify, we will have 25 new home-grown lifeguards to look after holiday-makers on our beaches this festive season,” he said.

The group includes young people, aged 18 to 30, from Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp and St Francis Bay.

Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks commended them for their hard work over the past six months.

“The training requires immense stamina and commitment. Many candidates dropped out along the way, but these 25 refused to give up.

“They trained tirelessly, with no remuneration or incentive other than their determination to become professional lifeguards.”

He further thanked Kouga’s senior lifeguards for the fine work they had done in training the youngsters.

The candidates responded to an invitation from the municipality earlier this year for young people between the ages of 16 and 30 to register for free lifeguard training.

Benson, whose directorate is responsible for lifeguard services, said the aim of the initiative was to increase the local pool of lifeguards and give young people the opportunity to benefit from seasonal employment opportunities.

The training was open to Kouga residents only.  

Whale assisted in disentanglement operation off East London

Photo – SAWDN Generic

On Tuesday morning, 10th September, the SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) were alerted by the East London ski-boaters of a 4 meter juvenile Humpback whale entangled in fishing rope 2 nautical miles off-shore of east London.

A dive charter boat had located the whale and remained with the whale to mark its position pending the arrival of SAWDN. 

SAWDN volunteers, on an NSRI East London sea rescue craft, reached the scene and Marine scientists examining images of the whale confirmed the whale to be in poor health and unlikely to survive.

SAWDN volunteers, using the SAWDN specialised cutting equipment, were able to free and recover fishing rope that was entangled around the whale.

The whale remained still and calm throughout the operation to cut the fishing gear free.

There appeared to be no adult or parent animals in the vicinity.

Once free the whale did appear to show some signs of renewed strength despite the poor state of health.

The sea rescue craft headed out to sea with the whale following the sea rescue craft and adult whales were spotted further out to sea.

After the sea rescue craft veered away from the whale it appeared to continue to head in the direction of the adult whales.

While SAWDN are not optimistic to the survival of this whale we are non the less hopeful for its survival.

SAWDN commend the East London ski-boaters for their alerting us and we commend the dive charter boat who marked the whales position until SAWDN arrived.


The South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) was established in 2006 in order to manage entangled whales using specialized equipment and is comprised of trained volunteers from the – National Sea Rescue Institute, KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, Department of Environmental Affairs, Centre for Sustainable Oceans at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Nature, Mammal Research Institute, South African National Parks, South African Police Service, Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, Cape Nature, Bayworld, various Boat Based Whale Watching and Shark Cage Diving Operators, the Rock Lobster Industry and the Octopus Industry and fully supported by the Dolphin Action and Protection Group.
Whales assisted to date: 191   

NSRI Plettenberg Bay receive International Award

Pictured here on the left Marc Rodgers, NSRI Plettenberg Bay station commander and Robbie Gibson, NSRI Plettenberg Bay coxswain – holding the award presented to them at the IMRF awards ceremony in London.

NSRI are delighted to announce our NSRI Plettenberg Bay, Station 14, station commander, Marc Rodgers, and NSRI Plettenberg Bay, Station 14, coxswain, Robbie Gibson, attending the IMRF (International Maritime Rescue Federation) awards in London were awarded second place, in the IMRF Innovation and Technology Awards announcements, for their purpose designed rescue stretcher.

Congratulations Marc and Robbie on your purpose designed rescue stretcher, designed for coastline rock and surf patient extrication, and recognised by IMRF in this prestigious awards ceremony.

Pictured here on the left Marc Rodgers, NSRI Plettenberg Bay station commander and Robbie Gibson, NSRI Plettenberg Bay coxswain – holding the award presented to them at the IMRF awards ceremony in London today.

Below is an extract from the motivation that was sent to the IMRF for their consideration:

Purpose designed rescue stretcher for rock and surf patient extrication:

The National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa’s Station 14, Plettenberg Bay, on the East Coast of the country, has a unique patient extrication problem on a rocky stretch of their shoreline where the bulk of their rescues take place.

Regularly hikers in the Robberg Nature reserve are injured on the hiking trail and need to be carried back to the parking area or extricated by sea. The latter is often the preferred method as large parts of the reserve include narrow foot paths which navigate steep rocky sections. 

Patient extrication by sea on a rocky stretch of coast that has substantial wave action is a specialist task that needs specialist training and equipment. The rescue vessels of choice in this area are Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB’s) and jet skis. 

With this in mind the Plettenberg Bay volunteers have pioneered a new design of floating stretcher that could be used over rocks and through surf to extricate a patient who has been immobilised.

The stretcher that was designed in 2018 / 2019 and used operationally for the first time in April 2019 has a number of unique features that could be utilised by other rescue services around the world:

  1. It is a stable platform on which a casualty can be carried over rough terrain on narrow paths with ease.
  2. It will not capsize easily in surf.
  3. It carries a backboard with spider harness and head blocks that is easily removable.
  4. It is light weight and very strong so if damaged in operation it will not fail.
  5. It is a narrow design so that a patient can be carried on it on narrow footpaths.
  6. The shoulder strap design help the stretcher bearers take the weight of a patient.
  7. It has solid pontoon so that it can not be punctured and then fail.
  8. A rigid platform base that will allow CPR to be performed on it.
  9. A streamline platform to allow effective towing.
  10. A good towing eye and strap that can be quickly connected to a tow line while under stress in the surf.
  11. Suitable for use in swift water rescue.
  12. As comfortable as possible for the casualty while in the water with a hood that deflects surf.
  13. It should paddle like a SUP carrying two crew and be able to carry medical and rescue equipment in swift water and floods
  14. Have a storage compartment for medical equipment.
  15. The hull is of fibreglass with nylon skids protecting the underside when sliding over rocks.

To build such a craft designs from across the world were assessed and ideas from various designs were used as well as incorporating some completely new design concepts.

All of the above criteria was achieved and the final rescue platform came in at 20kg’s including a back board. 




NSRI Wilderness assist in USA Student Rescue

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis BayLate Monday afternoon Wilderness duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress at Cola Beach, Sedgefield.

NSRI Wilderness medics and WC Government Health EMS responded to the scene where it was found a 22 year old female, from the United States of America (USA), on a student tour, had been rescued from the surf by a fellow male student, from USA, after being caught in rip currents and the female was treated by paramedics for non-fatal drowning symptoms and transported to hospital in a stable condition by EMS ambulance and she is expected to make a full recovery.

And later Monday evening NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew launched sea rescue Ray Farnham Rescuer, accompanied by the NSRI Station 14 duty doctor, to rendezvous with a fishing vessel 6 nautical miles off-shore of Plettenberg Bay to patient evacuate a male crewman suffering a medical emergency.

On arrival on the scene the doctor was transferred onto the fishing boat and the patient was stabilised and transferred onto the sea rescue craft and brought to shore where WC Government Health EMS were standing by and he has been transported to hospital by EMS ambulance in a stable condition for further treatment.