(Durban, South Africa) With less than a month to go until the start of the 2009 Roxy Wahine Cup, South Africa's top female surfers have been racking up the surf time in preparation for South Africa's premier stand-alone women's surfing contest. With over R22500 in prize money up for grabs across the six divisions - ranging from U14 to Open - the 2009 edition of this iconic event has attracted a host of South Africa's best surfers.
The primary focus of the Roxy Wahine Cup is on the premier open section, and this has always been the most competitive division. Some of the women in contention for this year's title include defending champion Tarryn Chudleigh (Cape Town), Tammy-Lee Smith (Ballito), Kirsty Delport (Durban), Chantelle Rautenbach (Melkbosstrand) and Stacey Guy (Cape Town).
"This year I'm surfing the Open and U20 divisions," says Chudleigh (19), "and both are usually very competitive. In the Open there's always a solid group of established surfers like Tammy Lee Smith and Stacey Guy, but at the same time some of the younger girls like Bianca Buitendag and Sarah Baum are blowing up. Plus you can never count out the likes of Chantelle Rautenbach, Alice McGregor and Heidi Palmboom."
South African surfing icon Heather Clark was recently injured in a car accident, and at this stage is unsure whether she will be fit enough to participate, but should Clark make a recovery she will be a major threat as she has the benefit of years of experience competing on the World Championship Tour.
While these women are all among South Africa's most established surfers, they will find themselves facing an uphill battle against some of the younger surfers that are emerging from the ranks of South African junior surfing. Durban local Sarah Baum (15) has had a long history competing in the Roxy Wahine Cup despite her tender age, and has finished runner-up in the Open division at the previous two events in 2007 and 2008.
"I surfed my first Roxy Wahine Cup at age 8 and got though a few heats in the Novice division against girls that were twice my age," says Baum. "I remember the surf was pounding and I won Surfer of the Contest which I guess was the start of my competitive career. Since then I have always looked forward to the Roxy Wahine Cup each year. The vibe on the beach is cool and Roxy go all out to make this a brilliant event. And the prize money is huge!"
Other contenders hailing from the junior ranks include 2009 South African Junior Surfing Team members 16 year old Bianca Buitendag (George) and 17 year old Tanika Hoffman (Cape Town). While these girls will be contesting several other divisions alongside Baum, Chudleigh and many of the other entrants, they still remain major threats in the Open division.
Due to take place at Durban's Suncoast Beach on the weekend of 12-13 December 2009, this year's Roxy Wahine Cup marks the 11th edition of this illustrious event. The contest will see prizes awarded in the Novice, U14, U16, U18, U20 and Open divisions and always enjoys a festive atmosphere on the grass banks overlooking the beach. With R22500 in prize money up for grabs in the five main divisions, and a coveted a year-long Roxy sponsorship going to the winner of the Novice division, the Roxy Wahine Cup offers the perfect mix of fun and serious competition.
Anybody wishing to find out more or enter the Roxy Wahine Cup can find all the relevant information at www.roxy.co.za/wahinecup and see www.ssa.co.za for entry list.
Photo Caption: New Pier local Sarah Baum (15) is one of the main contenders in the upcoming Roxy Wahine Cup, South Africa's premier stand-alone women's surfing event, due to take place at Suncoast Beach from 12-13 December 2009. Despite her young age, Baum has proven her ability to take down some of South Africa's top surfers and secured consecutive runner-up finishes in the premier Open division at the 2007 and 2008 editions of the competition. Photo by Barry Tuck/Roxy
photos Janos Schmidt