Surfing South Africa’s quest to get back in the water

Surfing South Africa’s quest to get back in the water

Surfing South Africa has approached national government with a request to consider allowing a return to training for its surfers.

sne surfing
Image: Instagram / Snehlanhla Makhubu

Surfing is not allowed under the current lockdown level three regulations, but it is having a big impact on the sport in the year in which surfing is scheduled to make its long-awaited debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Port Elizabeth-based Surfing South Africa President, Johnny Bakker, says they had yet to receive a response from the government, but are hopeful of a positive outcome.

He says they’ve based their submission on the fact that COVID-19 numbers appear to be dropping and that Nelson Mandela Bay is no longer considered a coronavirus hotspot.

Bakker hopes other water sports such as open water swimming and surf-ski paddling can follow suit and ultimately profit from Surfing South Africa’s request to allow its surfers back in the water.

“One of our top female surfers Bianca Buitendag cannot train down at her home break at Vic Bay at the moment, and its really hurting her chances of making the South African surfing team,” said Bakker.

“So too for the likes of Dylan Lightfoot who finds himself in a similar position at his home break at Supertubes at Jeffrey’s Bay. Our two Championship Tour surfers, Matt McGillivray and Jordy Smith, on the other hand, are both currently competing in California so our top surfers here at home really are currently at a big disadvantage.”

Bakker said Surfing South Africa is proposing a ‘no-towel’ policy in its comprehensive controlled-surfing compliance document to government.

“We’re saying that our athletes need to train, that its safe for them to do so, and that when they’ve completed their session they’ll get in their cars and go home with no lingering afterwards on the beach.”

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