South Coast surfers Evan Spittal and Claire Haskins claimed hardware at the South African Longboarding Championships at Seal Point, Cape St Francis recently.
The duo formed part of the eThekwini/KwaZulu-Natal team, who despite being one of the smaller sides with just 18 members, finished third out of the six competing teams.
Over 150 of South Africa’s elite longboarders competed for national titles in waves ranging from difficult to three-foot over the six days.
Like the fog, Spittal and Haskins rose to the occasion against tough, more experienced competition and reached their respective finals.
The conditions cleared up for the business end of the championships, leading to exciting and top-class wave riding. Safari Surfboards standout Spittal took his surfing to the next level and finished fourth in his maiden Under-14 contest.
“I am stoked with my result. The competition was lots of fun and had a super chilled vibe. There was great sportsmanship as well; everyone was so friendly and coaches from other districts even offered advice,” he told eHowzit.
“I learned so much from my team members, especially Sam Christensen, and I can now Hang Five and do a drop knee turn. The atmosphere was great in the team and between the teams,” the Ramsgate wave rider added.
Haskins also faced stiff competition and showed why she’s a team rider for Safari Surfboards, placing fourth in the Under-18 girls division.
“I’m very happy to have made the final and with my fourth place. The trophies we received were really cool too,” said the Southbroom star.
“Seal Point is a lovely venue for the longboard champs. It’s a consistent exposed point break, and a right-hand break. Luckily, even though I am a goofy surfer, I am comfortable on my backhand and I am just loving my new L2PRO.”
Haskins, who bagged bronze in the Under-16 division last year, said, “Going up to Under-18 was a big jump. I had to surf against some girls who were already in their second year of surfing Under-18, and so, they were more experienced than me. It was really tough, but next year I will be in my second year and hope to do better.”
She added it was an unforgettable week overall.
“I was very happy to have been selected again to represent eThekwini KZN and the competition was so well run. It was so nice to have the support from my team, people like Sam Christianson, Murray Nevin, Grant Gillmore and others, who have been surfing competitively for a long time and is always very supportive of us juniors, giving us very valuable advice and encouragement.
“Besides the competition, I had many free surfs at Lower Point Jeffreys Bay and my new favourite spot, Huletts in St Francis Bay – it is a wonderful longboard wave and I just loved practicing there in my free time.”