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Team SA assured of a team medal at Billabong ISA World Surfing Games

October 27th, 2010

Pictured: SA’s Chantelle Rautenbach cuts back on a bumpy wave at Senoritas on her way to a berth in the women’s qualifying stream final at the 2010 Billabong ISA World Surfing Games in Peru on Tuesday. Rautenbach will be the only SA surfer in action on today’s final day of the event. Photo: ISA / Lopez

Team South Africa slipped out of contention for the team gold medal at the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games presented by Amarok of Volkswagen in Peru after a disastrous penultimate day of competition where five of the remaining six team members were eliminated from the event yesterday.

SA’s medal hopes now rest on the shoulders of Chantelle Rautenbach who placed second behind former ISA and ASP World champion and local heroine Sofia Mulanovich (PER) in a stacked women’s qualifying Round 4 heat where she outscored World Tour campaigner Paige Hareb (NZL) and Kulia Doherty (USA).

By reaching the qualifying final Rautenbach now has two chances of reaching the women’s Grand Final and earning an individual medal, either by placing in the top two in her next heat and advancing directly or, if she finishes third or fourth there, the 20 year-old from Melkbosstrand can still progress with a top two finish in the repecharge final.

Thanks to the great performances by the whole team earlier in the event, Team SA is still assured of a team medal, a significant step up from their fifth place finish in last year’s event in Costa Rica. Whether that medal will be bronze (third overall) or copper (fourth) will be determined by Rautenbach’s final placing in the event as Brazil is a slender 180 points behind SA but still has two surfers in contention for honours.

The team title will be fought out by multiple champions Australia and host nation Peru who will be bidding for their first ISA World Surfing Games title. The teams are neck and neck with each still having six members in contention going into the eighth and final day of the event.

In yesterday’s action, Matthew Moir was the first South African to take to the head-high left breaking waves of Senoritas and the two-time former ISA World Longboard champion lost his first heat in three events when he was relegated to the repecharge rounds after placing third.

Despite convincingly winning his next heat, Moir did not find the best waves in repecharge Round 7 at the end of the day and was eliminated in equal seventh place overall in the longboard division, contributing 1 110 points to the team total.

Next up for Team SA was Casey Grant whose eye-catching repertoire of radical fins-free turns and aerial manoeuvres had seen him advance to the last eight in the men’s qualifying stream. However it was not be the Scottburgh local’s day and after placing fourth and dropping into the repecharge rounds, Grant again failed to post a double digit heat total and was ousted in 11th place overall with 1 900 team points.

Stacey Guy was the next to go when she too struggled to find the best waves in her women’s repecharge Round 6 heat where she finished third behind former World Junior champion Pauline Ado (FRA) and Kulia Doherty (USA) to end her campaign in creditable ninth place overall and contributing 1 000 points to Team SA’s total.

Team captain Greg Emslie, who had surfed superbly through seven rounds of cutthroat repecharge heats and contributed several of the highest of the highest heat totals of the entire event, finally came up short against fellow former World Tour campaigners Drew Courtney and Mick Campbell, both Australians.

Needing any one of the half-a-dozen 8.0 point rides he had recorded earlier in the event to progress to the next round, Emslie’s last ride came in at 7.17 and the East Londoner ended ninth overall with 2 000 points.

Meanwhile Chad du Toit, the youngest of the four SA men, posted an outstanding 14.43 point heat total to clinch second place in his first heat of the day, advancing to repecharge Round 9. Up against the selfsame Aussie duo of Courtney and Campbell in his next heat, the 20 year-old Durbanite led early on with a solid 6.33 ride.

However, despite riding another five waves, du Toit was significantly disadvantaged by a shocking display of sub-standard officiating when the judges only recorded his second and third rides with two minutes remaining in the 20 minute clash, and dropped his final three scores after the heat ended. Had the commentators been able to tell him that he only required a 5.50 to snatch second place and a spot in the repecharge final, du Toit would have been more selective and waited for the bigger waves with higher scoring potential instead of catching every wave that he could get onto.

As it turned out, he ended up third, just 0.17 of a point behind Courtney. Nevertheless, du Toit was SA’s highest ranked member in the men’s division, placing seventh overall and adding 2 220 points to the team tally.

Today’s final day of action gets underway at 3.30pm SA time with Chantelle Rautenbach set to compete in women’s qualifying final, the second heat of the day, around 20 minutes later. The contest continues with the repecharge finals, featuring the top two competitors in the repecharge stream against those who finish third and fourth in the qualifying finals.

After a 45 minute demonstration of Caballos de Tortora, the reed fishing canoes that Peruvians have ridden waves in for thousands of years, the Grand Finals of the longboard, women and men’s divisions start at approximately 6.30pm

Surfline, the official surf forecasters for the event, expect a new swell to fill in today producing head-high and occasional bigger waves at Senoritas.

All the action at the 2010 Billabong ISA Word Surfing Games can be followed live on www.billabongisaworldsurfinggames.com starting at 8.30am daily (3.30pm in South Africa). Daily updates and images will be posted on www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za and further updates will be available on the Facebook page Surfing SA. 

The 2010 South African surfing team is supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and Surfing South Africa along with Skullcandy, PowerBalance and Future Life.

Surfing South Africa (SSA) is recognized by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) as the governing body for the sport. SSA is a member of the International Surfing Association (ISA).

Ends

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Surfing South Africa

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