New Pier in Durban is the venue for the 2012 SA Masters Surfing Championships

New Pier in Durban is the primary venue for the 2012 SA Masters Surfing Championships this week.

Although New Pier has been selected as the primary venue for the championships, Cave Rock on the Bluff is an alternative if conditions are suitable at this famous big wave spot.

Chris Knutsen will be hard to beat at New Pier. Photo: Watts

Over 160 surfers from eight provinces are making their way to Surf City for this popular tournament which features surfers from as ‘young’ as 31 to over 60 years of age.

Border, the defending champions and five time winners of the Masters Cup, have assembled a side that looks almost unbeatable. However hosts KZN Central, who sent a small team to East London last year and finished in an uncomfortable last place, will be aiming to rectify this.

KZN Central have assembled a team that could upset the powerful Border side who have dominated this segment of South African surfing over the past five years. Other strong teams include Western Province, Zululand and Boland, all of whom have the required number of surfers in each of the divisions.

Last year’s Over 30 Division (Seniors) champion, Greg Emslie (Bor), has moved up into the Over 35 (Masters) age group where he will challenge defending champion Gary Van Wieringen (SKZN) for the title.

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In the O40 group, Border trio Wayne Monk, Andre Malherbe and Gareth Sepp, all finalists in 2011 should be regarded as favourites. But Carl Roux (SKZN) and KZN Central surfers John McCarthy and Rob Moore-Boyle are New Pier locals and could upset the Border dominance.

Defending O45 (Kahuna) Champion, David Malherbe (Bor), will be aiming for his umpteenth National title this year but will come up against former World Champion Marc Wright (KZNC) and team mate Mike Burness in what looks to be an exciting division.

Multiple SA Champion, triple World Champion and defending O50 (Grandkahuna) champion, Chris Knutsen (KZNC), will get the chance to show his skills at his beloved New Pier this year. He is such a tough competitor that it seems unlikely that anyone will be able to challenge him but stranger things have happened. Knutsen’s toughest test should come from 2011 O55 (Veterans) champion Dave Fish (Bor), Bushy Greeff and Grant Read (both Zul) and Kurt Buchner (EP).

There will be a new O55 (Veterans) SA Champion this year as Dave Fish is competing in another division. Best bets here are Mike Larmont (KZNC), Jeremy Zinn (WP) and Brian Heathcote (Bor).

In the Women’s Division (O30) Heather Clark (SKZN) will defend her title against 2011 runner up Michelle Van Kempen (EP), Tasha Mentasti (Bol) and Carolyn Dent (WP). Bianca Bosman (Bor), Tarryn Adamson (KZNC) and Julia Rutherford (Zul) are the other surfers competing in this division.

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