Mercedes-Benz Buffalo City South African Surfing Team Finish Fifth with Two Medals at ISA World Surfing Games in Japan

Miyazaki, Japan, September 15, 2019 – The Mercedes-Benz Buffalo City South African surfing team finished fifth overall and earned two medals and one surfer qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans which ended at Myazaki in Japan on Sunday.

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz Buffalo City South African surfing team on the podium receiving their Silver medals for second place in the Aloha Cup at the closing ceremony for the ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans at Myazaki, Japan.
LtR: Isaac February (Cape Town, Manager), Greg Emslie (East London, Coach), Zoe Steyn (East London), Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay), Sarah Baum (Durban)

The powerful team from Brazil won the team Gold medals for the first time in 19 years, with Italo Ferreira capturing the Men’s Gold, Gabriel Medina taking Bronze and Silvana Lima clinching the Silver medal for Women.

The USA, led by Dino Andino’s Silver in the Men’s and Carissa Moore’s Copper in the Women, finished runners-up in the teams event, followed by the host nation and defending team champions Japan and Peru whose Sofia Mulanovich captured the Women’s Gold.

South Africa, who finished fourth overall at last year’s ISA WSG, can be proud of their fifth place in 2019. The event attracted a record setting 55 nations and 240 of the world’s best surfers, including a host of current and former World Champions who were intent not only on winning the team and individual titles, but also in participating in the qualifying process for surfing’s debut on the Olympic stage next year.

Bianca Buitendag was the standout performer for South Africa, adding the Bronze medal in the Women’s event to the Bronze and Copper medals she won in 2017 and 2018, contributing a massive 730 points to the team total, participating in the Silver medal winning Aloha Cup event and also earning provisional qualification for the Olympics as the highest placed woman from the African Continent.

The 25-year-old from Victoria Bay in the Southern Cape was ably supported by Australia based former Durbanite Sarah Baum, who placed 21st overall, and 15- year-old East Londoner Zoe Steyn who ended her second ISA WSG in 29th place among the 103 women.

Michael February (Kommetjie) fared best of the South African Men with his 22nd place finish, while Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) and Jordy Smith (Durban) placed equal 31st out of the 137 Men.

In the ISA Aloha Cup, a form of relay surfing where a squad of two men and two women each have to ride two waves before returning to the beach to ‘tag’ the next teammate, with all eight rides counting and having to be completed within a prescribed time limit, the South African squad of Smith, February, Buitendag and Baum comfortably won their semi-final against Japan, Peru and Argentina.

Up against Japan, USA and Australia in the final, the South Africans finished just 0.08 of a point behind the surfers from Down Under to clinch the Silver medal ahead of USA and the host nation.

South Africa’s finish among the top eight ranked nations in Myazaki has earned the team an invitation to the 2020 Aloha Cup at next year’s ISA WSG.

The team was very well supported by the experienced pair of Isaac February (Cape Town, Manager) and multiple South African champion and seasoned international competitor Greg Emslie (East London, Coach).

Speaking at the closing ceremony, ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“Today is a very special day for the history of surfing. For the first time, every nation brought their surfing dream teams and for the first time an ISA World Surfing Games is a qualifier for the Olympic Games. Thank you to all the competitors, including the CT (Championship Tour) surfers, for taking time to compete and enjoy the ISA Aloha spirit at our World Surfing Games.                                                

“All visitors, teams, fans, and supporters will now go home as ambassadors of this beautiful Miyazaki. The ISA will be back in Japan in less than a year, for the arrival of surfing at the world’s greatest sporting stage, the Tokyo Olympic Games.”

Full results, images, video footage, news and more can be found at

ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans


Team Ranking (top 10)

  • Gold – Brazil
  • Silver – USA
  • Bronze – Japan
  • Copper – Peru

5 – South Africa
6 – Australia
7 – New Zealand
8 – Costa Rica
9 – Spain
10 – Canad

Open Men:

Gold – Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Silver – Kolohe Andino (USA)
Bronze – Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Copper – Shun Murakami (JPN)

22: Michal February (Kommetjie)
31: Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga)
31: Jordy Smith (Durban)

Open Women (finished 10 September 10):

Gold – Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
Silver – Silvana Lima (BRA)
Bronze – Bianca Buitendag (RSA)
Copper – Carissa Moore (USA)

21: Sarah Baum (Durban)
29: Zoe Steyn (East London)

ISA Aloha Cup (finished 12 September)

Gold – Australia
Silver – South Africa
Bronze – USA
Copper – Japan

Provisional Tokyo 2020 Qualification:


Shun Murakami (JPN)
Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
Billy Stairmand (NZL)
Frederico Morais (POR)


Shino Matsuda (JPN)
Anat Lelior (ISR)
|Bianca Buitendag (RSA)
Ella Williams (NZL)

The South Africa Surfing Team’s participation in the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, Japan, an Olympic qualifying event, was made possible by Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality for the third year in a row. The team is also supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and Sea Harvest.

Surfing South Africa is the governing body for the sport in South Africa and is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the African Surfing Confederation (ASC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA). Surfing South Africa is recognised and supported by the National Department of Sport and Recreation.

NSRI in action in Cape St Francis and Port Elizabeth

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis BayNSRI St Francis Bay

NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew were activated last Tuesday afternoon following a request for a tow from a crew on a 4.2 meter inflatable boat reporting a faulty fuel line that caused a small fire aboard their boat.
The small fire had been extinguished by them and they reported to be at anchor 500 meters off-shore of the lighthouse at Cape St Francis but with no motor power, they requested to be towed.

The sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis was launched and on arrival with the distressed craft rigged a towline and towed them safely to Port St Francis without incident.

Earlier in the day NSRI medics medically assisted a fisherman with a medical complaint at Port St Francis.

Private Care ambulance services were activated and the Cape Town fisherman was transported to hospital by Private Care ambulance in a stable condition.

NSRI Port Elizabeth

NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress at Swartkops River Mouth late on Saturday afernoon .

Sea rescue craft JLK Rescuer launched and joined SA Police Services, Coastal Water Rescue, EC Government EMS and Bluewater Bay lifeguards in searching for a local 11 year old boy thought to have slipped into the water before being swept away by rip currents in an outgoing tide.

Despite an extensive sea and shoreline search no sign of the child was found.

Police trauma counsellors are assisting family of the missing child and Police are investigating.

On Sunday Police and a Police K-9 Search and Rescue squad with the assistance of NSRI Port Elizabeth, Coastal Water Rescue, Bluewater Bay lifeguards, continued with the search. A Police helicopter also joined in the ongoing search on Sunday.

The child remains missing and thoughts are with the family in this difficult time.

 Earlier in the week

On Thursday evening NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew were activated to assist in evacuating a crewman suffering a medical complaint from an oil tanker heading towards Port Elizabeth.

MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), a Government Health EMS duty doctor and Telkom Maritime Radio Services assisted in coordinating the patient evacuation.

The sea rescue craft JLK Rescuer was launched accompanied by an EC Government Health EMS rescue paramedic.

The NSRI crew rendezvoused with the oil tanker 4 nautical miles off-shore of the Port of Port Elizabeth. The EMS rescue paramedic and NSRI rescue crew were transferred onto the tanker and the patient, in a stable condition, was secured into a specialised stretcher and transferred onto the sea rescue craft.

The adult male patient was brought to shore and he has been transported to hospital by EMS ambulance in a stable condition.