TAND Invitational 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

The green light call was made. The TAND Invitational 2011 was set to run on Wednesday 29th of June.  Everyone was unsure about the swell and winds. The charts had been swinging around for the past week more than a pair of tango dancers. But the contest directors consulted wise minds, stuck to their guns and went ahead with the call. And boy oh boy did it pay off!
Everyone gathered in the shell-filled “car park” while it was still dark; some eager, running to the point to keep an eye on any incoming wave to hoot at....but NOTHING. Swell was predicted to start pushing early, but now it was only pushing mid to late morning. Sitting in the cars, dodging the sporadic downpours of rain and uncomfortable gusts of 5 degree winds, the event was put on hold until Mother Nature decided to send some sweet blessings our way. At exactly 11:30, those sweet blessing started arriving in force.
The skies opened up, filtering some well welcomed sun rays through the grey morning, and the contest was a go!

A mad flurry ensued to get the judges and media boat out, and the 1st heat in the water. Crowds gathered, lining the rocks, waiting in anticipation for the start of this momentous contest.
The buzzer sounded. Game face on!
Every heat throughout the event was ridden like a final: nobody holding back in anyway, riders pushing their own abilities to the very end and then some.
Quarter finals were up first and the few big stand-outs there were Jared Houston, Tomas Degenaar, Mark McCarthy and Johan De Goede. Everyone was riding super clean and technically in the biggest waves.

Going into the semi finals the swell had picked up a bit more but the winds had turned slightly wrong. That didn’t deter any of the riders from going at it full force though. The first semi final boasted Jared Houston, Josh Kleve, Aden Kleve and Johan De Goede. Jared started out all guns blazing with big moves and unbelievably deep barrels. Johan followed suit with very technical riding and some crazy close outs. Aden Kleve was a big stand out too having just arrived back from Australia and feeling eager to prove himself as a worthy competitor. He got a really good barrel midway through the heat but just couldn’t find a substantial back-up to help get him through to the finals. Older brother, Josh Kleve, was left getting a few good medium sized waves but it just proved too little to make the cut.
Semi final 2 was made up of Iain Campbell, Tomas Degenaar, Jarret Johnson and Mark McCarthy. Mark very much dominated this heat from start to finish with a close fight between Iain and Tomas for second place. Iain just edged out Tomas in the end with a few technical rides on the mid-sized waves. Jarret Johnson unfortunately got a fourth in this heat. Although that was nothing to be ashamed of, the way he was falling into massive pits out there.

A call was made to get the boat onto land as it was getting very wild and woolly out in the bay. So while the finalists rested for a few minutes, the judges touched land and made for the point as Jared Houston, Johan De Goede, Iain Campbell and Mark McCarthy prepared to go to battle for the last time that day.

The waves were minimal in the beginning with a few big clean moves being launched. But within the last ten minutes of the heat everything changed. All the riders had a few average waves under their belts, but then, Johan De Goede took off on an absolute monster peach, lined it up and sat pretty all the way to the end, coming out to the uproar of the crowds on the shoreline. This scored tens across the board, and rightly so! Then two sets later, McCarthy took off on a drainer, good long barrel and came out with a smile. Positions were jumping around like there’s no tomorrow and in true Houston style; in the last ten seconds of the heat, he caught “the one”. Taking off behind the lip, falling into white froth, getting a barrel all the other competitors couldn’t believe he made it out of, and coming out flying, giving the crowd on the beach a little “thanks-for-coming” claim.
The final results ended up being: Iain Campbell in fourth, Johan De Goede in third, Mark McCarthy in second and the winner of the first ever TAND Invitational, JARED HOUSTON, bagging himself a modest R10 000 in prize money, while the other finalists all walked away with a few coins in their pockets too.

Attica wetsuits sponsored R1000 in cash for the “ATTICA BEST WAVE” which goes to a contestant who didn’t make the final. Tomas Degenaar strolled away merrily with that award, owing to his massive barrel to ARS in his quarter final heat.

A HUGE thanks goes out to all the support on the beach. From everyone who was there and stuck it out, to all the riders for putting in every ounce of effort you had. And of course to all of our sponsors, Vivid Zeal, Attica, Pride, Alphapharm, Magson Marine, SDI/ Ambusave, Vitamin water and WPBA!

Stay tuned for the video wrap up coming soon.

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