x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

A swell competition for South Africans

The final day of the inaugural Dubai Sunset Open, the UAE's first surfing competition, was dominated by the impressive skills of three South African expatriates.

The Dubai Sunset Open featured shortboard and longboard competitions.
The Dubai Sunset Open featured shortboard and longboard competitions.

DUBAI // The final day of the inaugural Dubai Sunset Open, the UAE's first surfing competition, was dominated by the impressive skills of three South African expatriates as the sun set on what is likely to be the last of this season's swell. After a full day of surfing action, compatriots Wes van Zyl, Graham Fenton and Dylan Koopman took gold, silver and bronze respectively in the open division for shortboard riders. Saeed Al Abbar, an Emirati, managed an impressive semi-final finish.

"The thing on Friday was that the surf was quite weak which made it really difficult for the surfers to display everything they could do," said Scott Chambers of Surf Dubai, which organised the event. "When you are lacking that power it's hard to generate speed and perform manoeuvres. That was a struggle for the competitors but these guys, particularly, managed to show everything they could do on the day."

Around 30 amateur competitors took part in the shortboard competition, another 34 having competed in the grommets division, for those under 14 years of age, and the longboard contest. The competition, which is supported by Dubai Sports Council and The Surf Club, was launched at the start of April but the first two divisions were unable to get under way until April 24, when the first decent surf arrived.

The goal of the competition was to encourage Dubai's surf community to showcase their talent. loatway@thenational.ae