The 2012 SA Championships and the 2012 Bi- Annual All African Championships took place at Bird Valley Estate in Pietermaritzburg, KZN from the 6th to 9th of April 2012. Skiers from across South Africa and Namibia competed for the All African Title. It was Namibia versus South Africa.
With unfavourable conditions on the Friday and Saturday for the South African Championships, the skiers looked to the All African Championships to improve on their performances.
The All Africa Championships got underway on the Saturday afternoon with tricks due to the howling wind. In the U14 Boys, Namibia’s Dieter Kebbel took the gold with 1140 points, South Africa’s Hannah De Jongh took the gold in the U14 girls with 1760 points. In the U17 Boys, South Africa’s, Eamon Van Der Merwe took gold with 3050 points. In the 21 Men, South Africa’ s, Jared Fisher continued his superb form from the SA Champs scoring 3950 points, taking the gold medal and setting himself a new personal best. His score one of the highest trick scores in South Africa in the past 5 years. In the seniors, South Africa again dominated the field with Dennis De Jongh winning the men senior trick ski event with 2880 points and Lizette Bekker winning the senior ladies event with 1200 points.
In the Slalom event, Namibia showed strong competition with Dieter Kebbel winning the u14 boys slalom event and Natascha Roettcher winning the U17 Girls. In the U12 boys, the competition was close between two South African’s who are both new to the sport, Jordan Silver and Nicholas Stegmann. Although Jordan Silver took the gold with 3.5 bouys at 49km/h, both these boys are people to watch in the future. In the U14 Girls, Robyn Viljoen took gold with 3 on 14m at 55km/h just missing her personal best by one bouy. Despite the tough conditions, the U17 boys performed well. U17 Boys E & A(European and African Championships) bronze medallist, and South Africa’s, Eamon Van Der Merwe achieved the highest score of the competition with 4 bouys on a 11.25m rope at 58km/h. Runner up was South Africa’s Travis Fisher who managed to equal his personal best of 2 bouys on a 12m rope at 58km/h. Tristan Silver performing in his first season, showed rapid improvement with a best score 1 at
55km/h on a 18m rope. In the U21 Men, it was South Africa’s, Jared Fisher who took the gold with 3 bouys on 12m rope followed by James Stokes with 4.5 bouys on a 13m rope. In the open men, Namibia’s Luke Schmidt won with 2.25 bouys on a 12m rope at 58km/h. In the +35m South Africa’s , Robbie Alexander tried “skipping” which means he tried to skip a pass and go on a rope shorter than he should have so he could he ski into the “head wind” which makes it easier for the skier as the skier can pull longer coming into the bouy and not worry about getting slack rope. Unfortunately his gamble didn’t pay off as the wind proved to strong and rough conditions meant that Robbie Alexander best score was 5.5 bouys on 12m rope at 55km/h. In the over 55 ladies, Jan Johnson, ranked number 2 in Europe and Africa just missed setting a new SA record and scored 5 bouys on the 13m rope at 52km/h.
With a head wind for jump, the skiers were in their element. With the ramp positioned quite close to the Shore at Bird Valley, it was ideal for the spectators to watch. In the U21 Men, South Africa’s s Matthew Nieuwstadt had the best jump of the weekend with 39.8 metres. In the U17 boys, Namibia’s, Kyron Sprake took the gold with 25.4 metres.
The prize giving took place on Monday the 9th of April. South Africa was the overall winner followed by Namibia, 2nd. It was great tournament, with some very good scores despite the unfavourable weather conditions. This was the last competition for the 2011/2012 SA Water Ski Season and the skiers now turn their eyes on the E&A Championships which happens in Europe in August and September. Good luck to all those competing. A big thanks to our sponsors: Broderick Marine the importers of Mastercraft for sponsoring the use of their Mastercraft Pro Star 197 and prizes, Total for sponsoring the petrol, and Rock Star for sponsoring prizes. Thanks to all.