14 May 2013
The South African surfing team celebrated a superb double at the 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games in Panama on the weekend when they were crowned the ISA World Team Champions and captain Shaun Joubert clinched the ISA men’s world champion title.
Team SA fought a see-saw battle for the most prestigious team title in world surfing, leading the standings on days five and six before slumping to fourth place going into the final day. Joubert’s outstanding victory, however, saw them overtake perennial rivals and defending champions Australia, emerging surfing powerhouse Peru and Brazil, who earned silver, bronze and copper medals respectively.
In addition to the gold medals, Team SA collected the Fernando Aguerre World Team Champion Trophy, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President’s Trophy, and the once-off 5th Century Cup of the Discovery of the Pacific Ocean for winning the title for the first time outside South Africa and third time overall, after their triumphs in Durban in 2001 and in East London in 1978.
Joubert, who was the oldest member of the SA squad after turning 22 earlier this month, led his team to victory by dominating the men’s division from start to finish. He advanced directly to the Grand Final by never finishing outside the top two in any of his seven heats and also posted four of the top eight single ride scores, including the highest (9.87 out of 10), and three of the top six heat tallies.
After demolishing his opponents on the last day, leaving them needing a combination of two rides totalling 17.50 points as he advanced to the last four, Joubert topped that in the final by racking up rides of 9.33 and 8.33 for a 17.66 point total.
The current ASP number 104 and multiple SA age-group champion used a canny combination of excellent wave selection, superior heat management and long rides punctuated by explosive manoeuvres, with his variety of carves, cutbacks, vertical re-entries and aerials setting him apart from the rest.
‘A special event’
“I really enjoyed the waves in Panama. We had amazing waves all event,” he said on the awards podium. “It’s nice to come as a team and actually be at the beach cheering the other guys and you want your team to do well. It’s fun to see all the flags and people from other countries. It’s a special event.”
Joubert compared the waves at Santa Catalina to the right hand breaks in his home town of Mossel Bay. He also expressed his appreciation for the support of his teammates and praised manager and coach Etienne Venter, who motivated the team, with an average age of just 20, to beat the world’s best.
While Joubert’s crown was the cherry on the top and contributed significantly to the team title, the performances of every team member was vital. Mikey February, fellow Kommetjie surfer Davey Brand, David van Zyl, Tanika Hoffman and Faye Zoetmulder all finished in the top 16 in their respective divisions as Team SA triumphed over the other 23 national teams and 120 surfers at the event.
Jean Carlos “Oli” Gonzalez produced a fairytale result for the host nation when he became the first Panamanian surfer to earn a medal at the ISA World Surfing Games after finishing second to Joubert. Former ISA world junior champion, Cristobol de Col of Peru took the bronze medal and Russell Molony of Australia the copper.
Australia dominated the women’s event where Dimity Stoyle took gold and teammate Codie Klein the silver, while the bronze went to Brazil’s Suelen Naraisa and the copper.
The top seven teams qualified for the ISA China Cup, the ISA’s signature event, that is held annually in January on Hainan Island in the South China Sea, where South Africa will be the top seed in 2014.
Overall Team Standings
- 1. South Africa 11 102 points
- 2. Australia 10 332 points
- 3. Peru 9 636 points
- 4. Brazil 9 146 points
- 5. Panama 7 946 points
- 6. Costa Rica 7 678 points
- 7. Argentina 7 422 points
- 8. Chile 7 286 points
- 9. Venezuela 7 000 points
- 10. Mexico 6 752 points
- 11. Ecuador 6 630 points
- 12. New Zealand 6 620 points
- 13. Puerto Rico 6 520 points
- 14. Japan 6 116 points
- 15. Italy 6 060 points
- 16. El Salvador 5 400 points
- 17. Guatemala 4 866 points
- 18. Switzerland 4 504 points
- 19. Uruguay 3 732 points
- 20. Jamaica 3 096 points
- 21. Turkey 1 152 points
- 22. Canada 720 points
- 23. Sweden 720 points
- 24. Russia 576 points
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