11 August 2009
Rosanne Hodge was the star of the South African surfing team at the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games in Costa Rica on the weekend, capturing the silver medal in the grand final of the women’s division.
Team South Africa narrowly missed out on three further medals, in the team event, open men and Aloha Cup competitions, finishing in fifth place in each category; gold, silver, bronze, and copper medals are awarded.
Team USA cruised to victory in the team event – their first team gold medal since the corresponding event in California in 1996 – with France confirming the emergence of Europe as a surfing power by taking silver. Defending team champions Australia slipped to third, and Hawaii clinching the copper medal just ahead of South Africa.
South Africa’s fifth place finished marked a two-place improvement over the position achieved at the World Surfing Games in Portugal last year.
Hodge, from East London, started the final day confidently, posting rides of 6.20 and 7.0 out of 10 to win her heat in round five of the qualifying stream and advance directly into the women’s Grand Final along with second placed Sage Ericson of the USA.
They were joined by ASP World Junior Champion Pauline Ado of France and the in-form American Courtney Conlogue, who had won the US Open Surfing event in California two weeks earlier. Both women advanced from the Repecharge rounds.
The 25-minute final saw Hodge lead early on before Conlogue took control with 18 minutes remaining by recording rides of 5.60 and then 7.0 points.
Hodge fought her way back into contention with a 5.56, but the American clinched the gold with an excellent 8.20 with four minutes remaining on the clock. That ride left Hodge needing a near perfect ride of 9.64, and Ericson and Ado needing to improve on both their rides.
Hodge’s silver medal was one better than her bronze in the 2006 ISA World Surfing Games in California in 2006, which marked the last time South Africa’s sole contender on the ASP Women’s World Tour represented her country.
Men’s open division
Brandon Jackson came within one place of a medal in his first ISA World Surfing Games when he finished fifth overall in the open men’s division. The 22-year-old from Durban North fought his way through to the last four in the Repecharge rounds before slipping to third spot behind Frenchman Jeremy Flores and Ben Bourgeois of the USA.
Flores, currently ranked 16th on the ASP World Tour, went on to win the gold medal, finishing ahead of American Cory Lopez and Gabriel Villaran of Peru, both of whom had advanced from the Qualifying stream, with Bourgeois in fourth.
The Longboard title was won by France’s Antoine Delpero, who relegated Australian Harley Ingleby to second place, with Ben Skinner of the UK and the USA’s Tony Silvagni (USA) taking third and fourth. Justin Bing was South Africa’s top finisher in equal-ninth spot, with Michael Hill ending equal-15th.
Team South Africa narrowly missed out on the final of the Aloha Cup tag team event when they ended third in their semi-final on Friday. Australia went on to win the final, which was their only gold medal of the event, with France, Peru and Tahiti taking silver, bronze and copper respectively.
Video highlights, photos, news and full results can be found at 2009 ISA World Surfing Games.
BILLABONG ISA WORLD SURFING GAMES
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Copper: Tony Silvagni (USA)
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