The Billabong Madibaz men’s surfing team are preparing to defend their title at the University Sport South Africa tournament hosted by the NMMU George campus at Victoria Bay from June 24 to 26. Team captain Scott Lenton said his surfers were in highly competitive form and expected nothing less than total domination in the national student competition. Lenton says: ‘This year we also want to clinch the women’s team and overall team divisions.’
The Madibaz are determined to wrest the overall crown from the University of Cape Town, who walked away with the laurels for a second consecutive year in 2014. Lenton says: ‘We have a great camaraderie as a group. Everyone is of the same general mindset and we gel well.’ The 24-year-old said that both the men’s and women’s teams showed great depth going into the tournament: ‘The men’s side remains fairly unchanged since last year with the exception of one or two additions, but the women’s side has added some exciting and valuable surfers to their ranks to make them exceptionally strong this season.’
He pointed to seasoned surfers Jean Du Plessis, who won the men’s division last year, and women’s competition winner Roxy Giles as ones to watch. Lenton said the team would be surfing as much as possible in preparation for the tournament to maintain ocean awareness and keep their reflexes sharp: ‘We are aiming for nothing less than total victory across all divisions as well as team completion.’ Although this will be the first big tournament of the season, the NMMU club members have been conducting a successful learn-to-surf programme for students throughout the first semester.
Lenton says: ‘They really enjoy learning about the ocean and experiencing the fun of surfing, and the practice has definitely helped us prepare for the upcoming season.’ After the national competition, the NMMU surfers will compete in the annual Eastern Cape inter-varsity tournament against Rhodes University, Walter Sisulu University and the University of Fort Hare.