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 www.isasurf.org 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