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Big wave event launches South African surfing series



Jason Ribbink has already proven he can go big
Red Bull Big Wave Africa 2000 - pic: Red Bull

The R20 000 Instinct Big Wave Challenge, to be staged on the Durban beachfront, will be the first of 11 events on the 2001 Vodacom Surfing Series (VSS), the annual circuit that crowns South Africa´s professional surfing champions.

The event will have a three-month waiting period during the height of the cyclone season, from the beginning of February to the end of April, in which to find the perfect conditions and waves that are three metres in height.

This specialty rated tournament will utilise a unique format that enables anyone brave enough to take on the might of the Indian Ocean to enter on the day, with the power of the surf the determining factor in sorting the men from the boys.

Paul Canning will be one of the favourites in the contest after his outstanding performances in giant Hawaiian surf in November and December where he finished fifth overall in the prestigious Triple Crown of Surfing.

The 25 year-old Durbanite will be further motivated by the fact that he has just been signed up as an Instinct team rider and is eager to prove to his new sponsors that their support is well justified.

Others likely to be in the running for the biggest wave ridden and best tube ride awards are renowned big wave chargers Rudy Palmboom (Bluff) and Jason Ribbink (Morningside) who finished second and third respectively in five to six metre surf in the Red Bull Big Wave Africa contest in Cape Town last year.

Ribbink and former multiple world kneeboard champion Gigs Celliers have been logging many hours perfecting their tow-in techniques in the big surf that has battered the KwaZulu Natal South Coast in recent months. The duo take turns in towing each other into waves on a jet ski and have been catching plenty of waves on days that it is impossible to paddle out from the shore.

The Big Wave Challenge will be confined to paddling into the waves however, with jet skis only being used for rescue purposes should any of the contestants end up in difficulties.

Everyone will be hoping for the surf to co-operate during the waiting period as the event will provide spectacular viewing when the country´s best big wave riders charge in waves up to three times their own height.

Aspirant competitors can contact the ASP Africa office at 303 7199 for further details on how participate in the event.

See the full series schedule on Surfersvillage.

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