THE KZN Para Surfing Championships were held on Saturday, 27 March at Addington Beach, Durban.

The event was hosted by Made for More – a sport, mental health and disability NPO headlining para surfing in the province.

According to Julia van Zyl, founder of Made for More, para surfing, otherwise known as adaptive surfing, is an adapted form of surfing which allows people with disabilities to take to the waves.

A total of 34 athletes took part in the KZN champs this year – well above the 26 athletes that competed from the whole of South Africa in the previous SA Para Surfing Championships in 2019.

“These numbers just show how much the sport is growing in KZN and in our country at large. With the South African Para Surfing Championships coming up on 28 to 30 May at New Pier, Durban, we are expectant to watch as these numbers rise and more people with disabilities gain access and opportunities to take to the waves and represent their province and for some, their country,” said Julia.

Four South African para surfers were part of this year’s field, with Tracy McKay, Caleb Swanepoel and Erynn Geddie coming first in their divisions and Sabelo Ngema coming second. Tracy is currently ranked 2nd in the world in the Prone Assist Division in which she competes, while Sabelo Ngema is ranked 7th in the world in the Visual Impairment 2 Division.

Both athletes competed in the most recent 2020 World Para Surfing Championships in La Jolla, California, USA exactly one year ago, just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

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Other notable mentions include Jodi Kroone, who as a newcomer to the sport absolutely dominated, surprising herself in the process and taking the win in the hotly contested prone assist women’s division.

Other newly crowned KZN Para Surfing Champs to mention include David Williams, Amuri Mwanza, Krishiv Katuwaro, Oliver Sinclair, Danito Mondlane, Douglas Hendrikz and Sean Thompson, each taking out their competition to win the gold medal in their division.

“The evident skill of the competitors was not the only memorable feature of the day however, as was shown in the Expression Session where people with disabilities who have never surfed before take to the water for the first time. Guided and supported by the excellent water-assist team – the joy was tangible and written all over the faces of the para surfers of the future!” said Julia.

Julia said the Made for More team and all the organisations, volunteers, sponsors, supporters and athletes involved made for a day that was truly inspiring and unforgettable.


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By Charlotte Campbell (Surfer's Paradise)

Charlotte Campbell (Surfer's Paradise)