The South African surfing team have finished 10th out of the 47 nations at the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games in Biarritz in France with team captain Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay) earning the copper medal for fourth place in the final of the women’s event.


France, the hosts for the annual event, dubbed the ‘Olympics of Surfing’, won the team gold medal, securing the coveted title for the first time in the storied 53-year history of the event. Portugal took the silver medal for the third year in succession with Spain claiming the bronze and outsiders Mexico earning their first team medal with the copper.

Mexico’s Jhony Corzo, 18, contributed substantially to his team’s success by winning the men’s gold medal, finishing ahead of Joan Duru (FRA), former ISA world champion Pedro Henrique (POR) and Jonathan Gonzalez (ESP).

The ISA Aloha Cup relay event saw France earn another gold medal when their squad of four men and one woman outpointed Portugal, Peru and the USA, who finished in that order in the event contested by the top eight national teams at the 2016 World Surfing Games in Costa Rica.

France’s Pauline Ado and Johanne Defay got their team off to a great start when they secured the gold and silver medals respectively in the women’s event which was wrapped up last Monday. The bronze medal went to Leilani McGonagle (CRC) with Buitendag earning the copper for South Africa.

The South African team, managed by Isaac February and coached by Greg Emslie, started the event well with all four men and both women progressing directly from their Round 1 heats to Round 2, avoiding the cut-throat repercharge round.

Tanika Hoffman (Sea Point) among the women and David van Zyl (Glenashley) in the men’s event were eliminated in Round 2, with vice-captain Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay), Brandon Benjamin (Steenberg) and Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) all failing to advance from their Round 3 encounters.

In the picture (left to right): Bianca Buitendag (South Africa, fourth), Leilani McGonagle (Costa Rica, third), Pauline Ado (France, first), Johanne Defay (France, second). Photo: ISA/Reed

National Team Totals
1 France, 4275 – Gold
2 Portugal, 2850 – Silver
3 Spain, 2560 – Bronze
4 Mexico, 2455 – Copper
5 Japan, 2395
6 Peru, 2193
7 USA, 2158
8 Brazil, 2120
9 Costa Rica, 2113
10 South Africa, 1965
11 Tahiti, 1960
12 Australia, 1880
13 England, 1833
14 New Zealand, 1781
15 Morocco, 1731

Men’s Event
Gold – Jhony Corzo (MEX)
Silver – Joan Duru (FRA)
Bronze – Pedro Henrique (POR)
Copper – Jonathan Gonzalez (ESP)
South Africans:
Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) – 33rd
Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) – 33rd
Brandon Benjamin (Steenberg) – 49th
David van Zyl (Glenashley) – 65th

Women’s Event
Gold – Pauline Ado (FRA)
Silver – Johanne Defay (FRA)
Bronze – Leilani McGonagle (CRC)
Copper – Bianca Buitendag (RSA, Victoria Bay)
South Africans:
Tanika Hoffman (Sea Point) – 46th

ISA Aloha Cup
Gold – France
Silver – Portugal
Bronze – Peru
Copper – USA

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