South African Surfing Team ready to show their class at the 2017 ISA World Games in Biarritz, France
The South African Surfing team of four men and two woman leaves for Europe today to take on some of the World’s best surfers from over 40 countries at the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games which gets under way at Biarritz in France this Saturday May 20th.
The team is captained by the stylish and powerful World Tour surfer Bianca Buitendag,who hails from Victoria Bay near George and who bases herself in France while competing internationally. Buitendag is at the top of her game at present after a quarter final in the beach break conditions of Rio Brazil last week and will be hoping to add a gold medal to the silver she won at the ISA World Junior Championships in Peru in 2011.
Sea Point based Tanika Hoffman,an experienced international campaigner and accomplished member of the South African Team set up, is the other woman in the team. Hoffman has been representing South Africa at ISA events since 2007 and in 2013 was a member of the South African Team that won gold at the ISA World Games in Panama. Last year she won the Cape Town Pro at Big Bay Bloubergstrand to secure her first ever World Surf League victory.
Top seed in the Men’s group is Jeffrey’s Bay surfer and team vice captain Dylan Lightfoot.Lightfoot is a tough competitor who is hard to beat in any conditions. He is also campaigning hard on the World Qualifying Series and just a month ago boosted his profile when he finished as runner up in the Nelson Mandela Pro in port Elizabeth.
Also in the side is Salt Rock star Shane Sykes whose natural talent saw him included in the 2016 SA Team that competed in the ISA World Games in Costa Rica, Sykes has posted some solid results in his junior career and is due to make his mark at senior level. With a little bit of luck added to his huge talent,France could be where it happens.
When Durban surfer Davey Van Zyl was last included in a South African Team,at the 2013 World Games, he came home with a team gold medal. Since then he has broken his leg,recovered and become the 2015 South African Champion. His solid powerbase and flow earns him big scores in competitions and he is ready for another visit to the podium.
The fourth member of the 2017 South African Men’s team is new cap Brandon Benjamin who hails from Steenberg in the Western Cape. Benjamin was the runner up to five time SA Champion and current World Masters Champion Greg Emslie at the South African Championships at Long Beach Kommetjie last year. The 21 year old has a strong repertoire of innovative moves and is schooled in beach break conditions so Biarritz should suit him.
East London legend, Greg Emslie, a former World Tour campaigner is the coach of the South African team. Emslie placed second to current World Champion in the Quiksilver Pro in France in 2007 and knows the French conditions like the back of his hand. His experience and skill will add immense value to the members of the South African team.
The experienced Isaac February is the Team Manager and his connections in Biarritz and positive outlook will be of enormous benefit to the team. Isaac is the father of Kommetjie based Mikey February who is currently lying 17th of the World Qualifying series after some impressive results in the recent City Surf Series events in Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban. Mikey was not available for SA Team selection as he is competing in a World Surf League QS6000 event in Japan next week.
The South African team is supported by Mercedes Benz South Africa, Buffalo City Municipality, the National Lotteries Commission and Sport and Recreation South Africa.
Travel arrangements were made by All Aboard Travel.