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Surfing - 12. March 2010.

Bianca Buitendag Cleans Up At the 2009 Roxy Wahine Cup

Buitendag enjoyed a perfect day, finding the surf at Suncoast Beach ideally suited to her polished backhand attack, and posting some of the day's highest scores on her way to the joint wins.

"It was a bit stressful surfing two divisions," said Buitendag after the final. "Saturday wasn't too bad, because I only had a couple of heats to surf, but making both finals today meant I had to surf five heats. So I had to really conserve my energy, especially with the Open final being the last of the day, because that's the one everyone wants to win. Fortunately I was staying at the Suncoast Hotel, so I was able to go back to my room between heats and rest to maintain my energy levels through the day."

Buitendag surfed back to back finals, and there was concern that she may have peaked too early as she dominated the U20 final. However these worries were quelled in the opening minutes of the Open final when she took off on her first wave, a clean head high right, and went to work on her backhand. Buitendag's first turn threw up a huge rooster-tail of spray, and she quickly followed it up with two more off-the-lips and a huge floater off the close-out section as the crowd on the beach erupted. Clearly impressed, the judges awarded Buitendag an 8.00 to give her an early lead over her rivals.

Defending champion Tarryn Chudleigh (Kommetjie) was quick to respond to Buitendag's challenge, scoring a 6.5 for a one metre high left that was punctuated by some polished backhand turns. Showing temperament and professionalism beyond her years, Buitendag remained calm and waited a full six minutes before taking off on her next counting wave for which she was awarded a 5.60 to further her lead over Chudleigh and fellow finalists Chantelle Rautenbach (Melkbosstrand) and Tanika Hoffman (Kommetjie). With a just a few minutes remaining Buitendag picked up another beautiful wave that cooperated perfectly with her, walling up across Suncoast Beach and allowing the teenager the space to post a 7.00 for a total heat score of 15.00. The score proved too much for the other finalists and Buitendag walked away with the R10,000 first place cheque. Chudleigh took second place while Rautenbach placed third and 17 year old Hoffman placed a credible fourth.

"I am so stoked to have won the Open division of the Roxy Wahine Cup," said an ecstatic Buitendag after the prize-giving. "It is a dream come true for me and not just because of the prize-money. The Roxy Wahine Cup is the contest that every girl wants to win, and I am at a loss for words trying to describe how I feel right now."

In the U20 final Buitendag found herself up against New Pier local Kirsty Delport, reigning South African U18 Champion Alice McGregor (East London) and Open finalist Chudleigh, but opened with a strong 7.75 point ride. With seven minutes remaining Buitendag took off on one of the waves of the day, a walled up right-hander which she methodically worked to the beach to secure a near perfect 9.25 out of a possible 10 for an unassailable  17.00 point heat score and a convincing win. In the dying minutes Delport made a last ditch effort to usurp Buitendag's lead, mercilessly obliterating a chest high right across the sandbank, but the 7.50 score wasn't enough and she had to settle for second. Buitendag collected R2,500 for her win, while McGregor took the bronze ahead of fourth placed Chudleigh. 

The U16 final was a one horse race, with South African Junior Team member Sarah Baum (Warner Beach) dominating the heat from the start. As a former runner-up in the premier Open division, Baum is no stranger to the Roxy Wahine Cup, and has become a powerful force in South African women's surfing despite being only 15 years old. In the contestable conditions the young natural-footer managed to secure two 7.50 scores to post a total heat score of 15.00 and walk away with the title ahead of runner-up Sabrina Scott, third placed Emma Smith and Cara MacDonald.

The U14 division showcased some of the rising stars in South African surfing, and saw the diminutive Channelle Botha walk away with the title ahead of Gina Smith, Jordan Vanhoutte and Tahra Uren. An exciting aspect of the Roxy Wahine Cup has always been the Novice Division, which  is open to girls that have never surfed a contest before and is a great way of incentivising surfers to make the transition from recreational to competitive surfing. Jelaine Hermitte took the win and secured herself a year long Roxy sponsorship ahead of runner-up Jamie-Lee Glazer, third-placed Holly Konig, and Michelle Verreynne.

With the sun breaking through for the first time in days, Suncoast Beach was packed with spectators taking in the surf action and the beautiful day. A light southerly wind kept the temperature down and ensured the waves were a clean and contestable 2-3 foot. The surfers reveled in the fun conditions and the sunny day, making the most of the good surf to post a plethora of high scores. 

The afternoon was capped off with the prize-giving ceremony and the crowning of the 2009 Roxy Wahine Cup champions. The Roxy Wahine Cup is one of the most prestigious and sought-after titles in South African surfing, and the R22,500 in prize money attracted a host of South Africa's top female surfers.

The Roxy Wahine Cup is a Surfing South Africa sanctioned event. Surfing South Africa is the governing body for the sport and is affiliated to the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee and the International Surfing association.

Roxy would like to thank the following sponsors for facilitating the organization of this event: Virgin Mobile, Resolution, Durban City, SuperSport, Suncoast Entertainment World, Saltwater Girl Magazine, Red Bull, Nivea and Clean & Clear. During the Roxy Wahine Cup, Saltwater Girl’s website will host a gallery of lifestyle and action images as well as a blog on the event www.swg.co.za.

All the relevant information on the Roxy Wahine Cup 2009 can be found at www.roxy.co.za/wahinecup.
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photos Janos Schmidt 

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