We knew it would be a good solid size on the morning of the 2nd July and the start of the Tand Invitational 2012, but wow, were we in for a surprise! As we were finishing setting up and the light started to illuminate the scene, we came to the realization that the waves were large and in charge. Tand was going to deal out some lashings for any and all who doubted her.
Waiting for the tide to get a bit fuller due to the size of the swell we heard murmurs and silent whispers of fear. But a fear that motivated all the riders to a level that we believe has not ever been reached in South African bodyboarding to date.
We were able to run the brand new “Score Bru” live scoring system, produced by PJ Venter. The use of the live scoring system was a first for Bodyboarding in SA and went off smoothly with only good things to come in the future for this new to us application!
The groms paddled out with gusto, showing off and impressing all the wide eyed spectators. These were Turbo Wildcard and Bluff boy Stephen Du Preez and Tableview boys Jason Fowler, Corban Warrington and Ian Viljoen. These guys are the future of our sport here and they are being mentored to carry a large mantle.
Quarter finals went out in 8 – 10ft gurgling monsters, but everyone was up for the challenge and the standouts in this round were Local dominator Rupert La Grange for riding a ridiculously sized wave, Stephen Du Preez, Tomas Degenaar and Mark McCarthy with a crazy opening barrel.
With a few upsets occurring the semi-finals were set, but the swell continued to build all day. We made a tough decision to run the semi’s and finals the following day and opted to send out all the riders for a mass Shaggy’s Choice Expression Session to decide who would walk away with the sweet R1500 cheque. The results were some mind-blowing barrels, huge air attempts and a few big spankings!
The morning of the second day was as thick with mist as a Jamaican’s car on Bob Marley’s birthday. Not good! After waiting a few hours the mist lifted and granted us golden light for a precious 1 hour and 11 minutes. We ran the semi-finals and with perfect 6-8ft lined up pearlers, all the riders were getting barrel after barrel and both the heats were tight! The standouts in this round were Jared Houston’s moon tickle of an invert, Sasha Specker committing to a crazy ARS and Henk Esterhuysen for being Captain pit pilot.
This left us with the final, Mark McCarthy, Henk Esterhuysen, Jared Houston and Adam Morely. They paddled out and after a couple of waves and Boetie (McCarthy) getting a cracker barrel the mist rolled in thicker than ever and we couldn’t see 10m in front of us. We paused the heat, got the riders out, discussed our options and came to the conclusion to play the waiting game once more.
Waiting, waiting, waiting and as 16:30 rolled around the mist lifted slightly and we picked up where we had left off. Jerry (Houston) got a big backflip and good barrel combination and Adam Morley just narrowly missed out on a huge deep barrel. Boetie got a few good back up scores and with that the heat was over.
On the land no one knew who had won. The finalists gathered on the rock podium and it was then announced; Jared Houston successfully defended his Tand Invitational title and was deemed winner of the Tand Invitational 2012, with a hair-splittingly close 2nd going to Mark McCarthy (De-Ja-Vu of last year’s final), Adam Morley in 3rd and Henk Esterhuysen in 4th.
Taking out the Shaggy’s Choice Award, and deservingly so, was Henk Esterhuysen for a barrel that was borderline insanity which left all the spectators screaming like wild baboons on the shoreline!
A HUGE thanks going out to TURBO BODYBOARDS and the IBA who got behind us in a big way and support the sport in our country to no end, as well as to Red Bull for keeping everyone refreshed and energized in the frosty winds for two days straight!
Without you all; the sponsors, the riders, the spectators, the online supporters and everyone else who helped out at the event, the Tand Invitational 2012 would not have been the success it was. We thank you!
Additional Images at: http://clairebutlerphoto.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/tand-invitational-bodyboarding-contest.html