Adventure Sport

SA surf team eye medal

2011-07-01 19:24
Nikita Robb (File)

Johannesburg - The South African surfing team is in contention for a team medal at the World Surfing Games in Panama on Friday after all three members remain in the competition.

Nikita Robb fought her way through three heats, finishing second in each, to move into the last eight in the women's division.

Robb is only two heats away from the final and a medal.

The 22 year-old dispatched girls from Costa Rica and Tahiti in her first heat of the day, followed by Peruvian Anali Gomez before ousting the American Kaleigh Gilchrist in the rain and wind affected last heat.

Meanwhile, teammate Tanika Hoffman, making her debut in the games, surfed her way through two heats but will have to complete her next heat on Saturday after it was postponed due to inclement weather.

In round four the teenager hung onto second spot while world number five Silvana Lima of Brazil posted the only perfect 10 point ride of the event to date and then added a 9.40 to claim the highest heat total with 19.40 out of 20.

Hoffman also contributed towards team SA's climb up the rankings by eliminating girls from Costa Rica and Venezuela in the heats.

She ousted Lani Doherty of the US in the next round to advance to the last 10 in the event and three heats off the final.

The South African will face a tough encounter on Saturday against Lima and France's former European champion Alize Arnaud.

Justin Bing started his day's campaign in the longboard round five.

Despite catching only two rides in the wave-starved heat, the former SA champion managed to clinch second place.

Bing, however, suffered the narrowest of defeats, ending 0.36 of a point behind Antoine Delpero of France.

He finished the event tied in the overall ninth place contributing 1000 points towards the team tally.

After five days of competition and 25 of the original 176 surfers still in contention, Australia hold a substantial lead in the team standings.

Last year's runners up have five surfers challenging for medals, all of them in the fast-track qualifying stream in their respective divisions.

Brazil, France and South Africa hold second, third and fourth places respectively in the provisional ranking, each with three surfers remaining.

The two semifinals of four teams each compete for an hour during which all five team members need to ride a minimum of two rides each before sprinting back to their team box to 'tag' the next surfer.

The two teams in each semi that accumulate the highest total scores and avoid penalties for not completing all their rides in time, move on to the final.

The results of the Aloha Cup do not count towards the overall team trophy but the four finalists compete for gold, silver, bronze and copper medals.


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