The South African Surfing Team, that will compete in the 2019 World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, Japan from September 7th to 15th, has been announced.
The 2019 ISA World Games takes on enormous significance this year as it is one of the International Surfing Association opportunities that surfers will have to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The South African Team of three Men and three Women, a Coach and a Manager is made up of Jordy Smith, Michael February, Beyrick de Vries, Bianca Buitendag, Sarah Baum and Zoe Steyn.
Jordy Smith is ranked fourth on the World Surf League Championship Tour and is hoping to improve on this ranking with a good result at the Corona Open JBay, which is currently taking place in Jeffreys Bay.
Smith, who hails from Durban, won the ISA World Title in 2006 at Huntington Beach in the USA when he last competed at the ISA World Surfing Games.
2018 WSL Championship Tour campaigner and Kommetjie local, Mikey February was included in the team after competing in the 2019 Corona Open JBay where he earned 1330 Championship Tour points.
February was the captain of the South African Team that won the ISA World Surfing Games in Panama in 2013.
Beyrick de Vries, the top ranked South African surfer on the WSL Qualifying Series after his excellent result in the Ballito Pro ten days ago, not only earned himself a spot in the Corona Open JBay but also a place in the South African team.
The 2010 ISA World Junior Championships bronze medalist was a member of the South African team that came fourth at the ISA World Surfing Games in Japan last year.
Bianca Buitendag reached the finals of the 2017 and 2018 World Surfing Games in France and Japan respectively and is an accomplished former WSL Championship Tour and current Qualifying Series competitor.
As the highest ranked South African on the Women’s Qualifying Series ratings, Buitendag also earned a wildcard into the 2019 Corona Open JBay.
The 2011 ISA World Junior Championships silver medalist recently won her home town event, the Victoria Bay Classic, which was part of the annual City Surf Series.
Sarah Baum earned her spot on the team after her victory at the recent Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill. The Australian based Durban surfer is the second highest ranked South African on the Women’s WSL Qualifying Series.
Baum and Buitendag first represented South Africa together both aged 14 at the ISA World Junior Championships in France in 2008. Baum last surfed for South Africa at the inaugural ISA China Cup in Riyue Bay in 2013.
Zoe Steyn of East London, the 2019 City Surf Series Champion, is the third highest ranked South African after Buitendag and Baum and will compete in the World Games for the second year in a row.
Steyn, who won the South African Women’s Championship title at the 2018 Mercedes-Benz Buffalo City SA Championships at Nahoon Reef last year at the tender age of 15, will join the many surfers at this years event who are hoping to get the result that will see them qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Five time SA Champion, World Masters Champion and former WSL Championship Tour competitor, Greg Emslie of East London, is the Team Coach and the extremely experienced Isaac February of Kommetjie in the Western Cape, is the Team Manager.
Surfing South Africa President Johnny Bakker will travel to Japan to attend the important pre- Olympic ISA AGM which will be held during the World Games.
He, and the entire South African Team, will also participate in an International Anti-Doping Education Seminar presented by members of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
For the third year in a row the South African team has the backing of Mercedes-Benz and Buffalo City who are also the sponsors of the annual South African Championships which takes place at Nahoon Reef in East London from August 20th to 25th.
The Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa will add their support and Sea Harvest will partner the South African team in Japan.
In 2019, 42 nations participated in the World Games in Tahara, Japan. South Africa finished fourth there and will be hoping to improve on this excellent result. They also plan to give a good account of themselves in the Aloha Cup which is contested by the top seven teams and the host nation.
The International Surfing Association has indicated that well over 40 nations will again compete in the showcase event in September. The ISA World Surfing Games determines the World Men’s and Women’s individual Champions, the Aloha Cup winners and the overall Team Champions.