The South African Surfing team bagged the Silver Medal an the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games in Japan on Wednesday.
Anchored by Jordy Smith (Durban), who earned the two highest wave scores of the final with 7.47 and 8.5 (both out of 10), the squad of two men and two women accumulated a total of 38.11 points, just eight / hundreds (0.08) of a point behind winners Australia who took the Gold Medal.
South African, represented by Smith, Michael February (Kommetjie), Sarah Baum (Durban) and Women’s Bronze medalist Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay), benefited from an error by the greatest surfer of all time, 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater, whose final ride in the dying seconds of the final pushed his USA team into a narrow lead.
But the 47 year-old phenomenon fell on his final manoeuvre and was left with a long sprint up the beach, returning to the team ‘box’ seconds after the hooter was sounded to end the encounter.
Team USA incurred a five-point penalty for not finishing within the time limit, dropping them to third place and the Bronze Medal, while simultaneously elevating Australia and South Africa into the Gold and Silver medal positions.
Team Japan was also given a five-point penalty for not finishing in time and totaled 28.10 points in the Copper Medal position.
The ISA Aloha Cup is a team relay event that features two men and two women from the top eight teams from the previous year’s ISA World Surfing Games. There are two semi-finals and a final where each surfer catches two waves in their leg of the relay before ‘tagging’ the next teammate, who is waiting in the team box.
The total of all four surfers’ waves becomes the final team score.
The first semi-final featured Japan, South Africa, Peru, and Argentina, while the second semi-final featured Australia, USA, France, and the defending Aloha Cup Gold Medalist, Spain.
South Africa won their semi with a total of 41.77 points and advanced to the final along with runners-up and event hosts Japan (38.34). The second semi saw Australia (47.72) and the USA (46.72) qualify for the final.
ISA Aloha Cup Results:
Gold Medal – Australia 38.19 pts
Silver Medal – South Africa 38.11 pts
Bronze Medal – USA 35.38 pts
Copper Medal – Japan 28.10 pts