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2011 Season Report

Dear Committee Members and fellow Wakeboarders

The 2011 wakeboard season started with the arrival of two well know American Pros, Josh Palma and Sean O’Brien. Josh was brought out by the Durham’s to run a series of clinics in the Gauteng area while Sean was brought out by O’Brien WaterSports to tour and coach people nationally. Not only were their respective clinics a huge success among experienced riders and novices but it also demonstrated the professionalism of both athletes. We were extremely fortunate to have these two riders in our country, thank you.

Our national Pro Tour was originally scheduled for four stops, Germiston Aquatic-Germiston, Riviera Aquatic-Vaal, Milnerton Aquatic-Cape Town and back to the Germiston Aquatic for the SA Open. We were later approached by Ronix and agreed to add Emanzini Resort-Vrede giving us five stops on our tour. What this all meant was that for the first time we had a full sponsored boat tour, a competition about every second weekend.

Germiston Aquatic hosted our first stop. Which was sponsored by O’Brien WaterSports and towed by Tige Precision Inboards. 52 riders entered among those the two Pro’s Sean O’Brien and Josh Palmer, both these riders are very highly rated, this meant the bar in the Pro Men was set to an international level. What was astonishing was that the six divisions that were open were all full divisions with the Open Men and Pro Men bosting 11 and 10 riders respectively. Although we were not able to open a boys division we did have a good mix and the level of riding in all divisions was of a very high standard.

The Riviera Aquatic Club was our second venue, which was sponsored by Hyperlite, Red Bull and towed by Vaal Nautiques. There is always such a great atmosphere at the Riviera and we are always welcomed and treated like family. With a total of 42 riders of which 14 of those were in the novice division. Although the novice division was nice and big it was a little disappointing that the other divisions were not as big as Germiston.

180km from Johannesburg and about 360km from Klerksdorp and you were at the Emanzini Resort-Vrede, which was our third stop. This was sponsored by Ronix and towed by Mastercraft. The resort and dam is simply beautiful, and once you are booked in, there is no need to leave. I believe all 39 riders were treated to a wonderful experience.Milnerton Aquatic Club, Rietvlei, Cape Town, was the venue for stop four. The great thing about this event is Tich Mitchell, Mark Burton-Moore and Laurence Gutridge. From the layout of the course, obstacles, generators, tents, food, all you do is arrive and everything is sorted. Cape Town was sponsored by Liquid Force, Sport Unlimited and Red Bull and towed by Axis Boats. With a total of 52 riders, the Novice, Wakeskate and Open Men divisions needed to be thinned down with the use of the heat system for a Sunday final of 6.

The South African Open was to be hosted by the Germiston Aquatic, sponsored by O’Brien WaterSports and towed by Vaal Nautiques. With a total of 46 riders it was the first time we had two sliders in the course this added decision making challengers for the riders as to the makeup of their run. What this all meant was if you fell in the course you would only manage to get two tricks in your run. The event as a whole was a great success.

Reflecting on the year, I believe that we as Wakeboarders are slowly starting to change Wakeboarding in South Africa. We are starting to realise that if this sport we love so dearly is to grow, we as Wakeboarders need to become ambassadors for the sport. We need to look after the sponsors and the novices ensuring we portray an inviting atmosphere for all at the events.

I would like to thank the Federation and SASCOC on behalf of the SAWBA for everything they have done for Wakeboarding in South Africa as well as the following sponsors,

  • Vaal Nautiques. (Burt Grabe) 
  • Tige Precision Inboards. (Shaun Faccio) 
  • Mastercraft Boats. (Mike Friedman) 
  • Liquid Force. (Kyle Holtzhauzen) 
  • Obrien Water Sports South Africa. (Graham Hartlett) 
  • Ronix. (Shaun Van Rooyen) 
  • Maureen & Clayton Krause. 
  • The Durham’s. 
  • Germiston Aquatic Club. 
  • Riviera Aquatic Club. 
  • Gert Cronje. 
  • Premier Auto Germiston, General Motors. 
  • Leisure Boating Magazine. 
  • Germiston City News. 
  • Milnerton Aquatic Club. 
  • Sport Unlimited. (Mark Burton-Moore) 
  • SA Float. 
  • Committee Members 
  • Judges and Boat Drivers. 
  • Red Bull.

Regards

Darryn Ridgway Chairman (SAWBA)

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