SA selects para surfing team for World Championships
South Africa first competed at the first World Para Surfing Championships in 2015.
JOHANNESBURG - A para surfing team has been selected to represent South Africa at the upcoming World Para-Surfing Championships at Pismo Beach in California in December.
Some of the athletes who make up Team SA are from a non-profit company and a public benefit organisation called Made for More, which aims to include, empower and equip people with disabilities through sport and mental health programmes.
"Our vision is to see people with disabilities included, equipped and empowered to live purpose-filled and passionate lives. One of the sports we offer as an organisation is para surfing, also known as adaptive surfing" said Made for More MD Julia van Zyl.
"We are so proud of the bravery, hard work and dedication put in by all of our adaptive surfing crew to get to this place. We know you'll fly the South Africa flag with pride as you represent our country".
Surfing – as well as karate, sport climbing, skateboarding, baseball and softball - made its debut at the recent Tokyo Olympics, but not the Paralympics.
Para surfing has been offered in South Africa since 2011 and the country competed at the first World Para Surfing Championships in 2015.
"Last year, we came sixth out of 24 countries with a small team of seven out of a possible 16 team members. This year we have a team of 13 members, and we look forward to a possible podium finish," said Van Zyl.
The para surfing team will need to raise their own funds to represent South Africa at the World Championships.
"We are crowdfunding as we have no support from government or the department. Each athlete has to raise their own finances of R39,000 each to cover flights, transport, food, accommodation, contest registration and classification costs. Surfing South Africa will be providing the team with kit."
To be a para-surfer one must have the approved underlying health conditions or medical diagnoses which include, but are not limited to, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, strokes, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, short stature, congenital limb deficiencies, leg length differences, amputations, and vision impairments.
"Based on disabilities and division, there are adaptations on boards. For prone and prone assist divisions, the surfers use handles on their boards, and some use foam to lift their chest and heads".
A crowdfund has been launched to support all those going to the event in December. You can support them here.
Tracy Lee McKay
Noluthando Maka Imie Makalima
Erika Hendrikz (manager)
Scott Messenger (coach)
Yvonne Messenger (coach)
Helen Millson (team physio)