Heather Clark made a triumphant return to SA surfing when she narrowly scooped a well-deserved win in the Open division of the fourth and final Billabong 'Girls Get Out There' Surf Series event. The contest finished in wind affected one metre waves at Tableview in Cape Town on Sunday.
Clark, the country's most successful female surfer of the past 15 years, overcame Sarah Maritz (Warner Beach), winner of the first event in Durban in September, local star Stacey Guy (Melkbosstrand) and rising contender Tammy-Lee Smith (Salt Rock, KZN) to claim the R5000 winner's prize-purse and 1000 ratings points for the early lead in the 2007 SSA Pro Surf Tour (PST) rankings.
Despite admitting to being nervous in her first local event since spending seven years on the ASP World Tour, Clark was in sparkling form in the earlier rounds, recording a perfect 10 point ride and an 8.67 to win her quarter-final on Sunday morning. "It was nerve-wracking as I didn't know what to expect from the local girls," confessed Clark, "But it was a great event, great crowds and well run, and it was good to see so many girls out there with so much talent."
Smith, who will be spending much of the year campaigning on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), won the Pro Junior title at Tableview, defeating national junior team members Chantelle Rautenbach (Melkbosstrand) and Nikita Robb (East London) with 13 year-old BiancaBuitendag (Victoria Bay) showing impressive form by reaching the final where she finished fourth. Future super-star Alice McGregor celebrated her birthday by making a clean sweep of the Under 15 division, adding the Tableview title to her wins in Durban and Margate.
The East Londoner's progressive manoeuvres were too good for runner-up Tanika Hoffman (Kommetjie), Morag Steele (Somerset West) and a rapidly improving Sabrina Scott (Glencairn) whose commitment was rewarded when she reached her first final in a national event. Scott received the Most Improved Local Surfer award and Smith clinched the Best Kustomised Manoeuvre award in the Expression Session, with both earning a pair of Kustom footwear.
Meanwhile this festival of female surfing saw hundreds of girls enjoying activities that ranged from free 'Learn to Surf' lessons and 'Softlips Yoga' sessions, to creating arty ocean themed canvasses, a live music concert with recording artists Arde and One80 on Saturday afternoon and talks from WWF Sanlam Marine Programme conservationists on the plight of Albatrosses and on the Shark Spotting programme on the Cape Peninsula.
Maritz, Smith and McGregor were honoured as the GGOT Surf Series champions in the Open, Pro Junior and U15 divisions respectively at the awards ceremony and girls all over the country will be looking forward to the next edition of the series when it starts in September this year.
The 2006/7 Billabong 'Girls Get Out There' Summer Surf Series was sanctioned by Surfing South Africa and proudly supported by Soft Lips, Liqui Fruit, First National Bank (FNB), Von Zipper, Kustom, Silver Bullet and Interstage and presented by Nashua Mobile. The series started in Durban in September followed by Margate and a FunDay in Jeffreys Bay, both in December, before concluding in Cape Town.
Billabong 'Girls Get Out There' Surf Series Event #4 of 4 Results
- 1. Heather Clark (Port Shepstone)
- 2. Sarah Maritz (Warner Beach, KZN)
- 3. Stacey Guy (Melkbosstrand)
- 4. Tammy-Lee Smith (Salt Rock, KZN)
Pro Junior (U/20) Girls
- 1. Tammy-Lee Smith (Salt Rock, KZN)
- 2. Chantelle Rautenbach (Melkbosstrand)
- 3. Nikita Robb (East London)
- 4. Bianca Buitendag (Vic Bay)
- 1. Alice McGregor (East London)
- 2. Tanika Hoffman (Kommetjie)
- 3. Morag Steele (Somerset West)
- 4. Sabrina Scott (Glencairn, CT)
- 1. Marianna Meyer (Mossel Bay)
- 2. Marchelle Wessels (Mossel Bay)
- 3. Courtenay Ellish (Amanzimtoti)
- 4. Kelly Fourie (Mossel Bay)
Best Kustomised Manoeuvre - in Expression Session
- Tammy-Lee Smith (Salt Rock, KZN)
Most Improved Local Surfer
- Sabrina Scott (Glencairn, CT)