The sixth edition of the Mr Price South Africa Open surfing championships took place at Nahoon Reef in East London this past weekend with more than 50 of South Africa’s professional surfers turning up to compete.

Surfers were protected by three battery operated shark shield devices which were attached to buoys at the backline of Nahoon Reef. Local Lifeguards replaced the Shark Shield batteries every four hours which means that the electronic force field produced by these devices were in place during every heat. The devices were not used because there was any threat of shark activity during the event, but merely as added protection. According to a report on Global Surf News, Surfing South Africa plans to use these devices during sanctioned events at appropriate surf spots around the country in the future.

With the added protection in place, the surfers were free to focus on delivering their best performances. Focus and a home surf advantage and therefore intimate knowledge of the Nahoon Reef certainly seemed to pay off for Wayne Monk. The 40-year old former two time South African champion rose to victory, blowing younger competitors such as fellow East Londoner Clinton Gravett, Klee Strachan of Winkelspruit and Gary Van Wieringen (Scottburgh) out of the water to clinch his first Pro Surf Tour title.

Klee Strachan grabbed his chance at victory during the under 20 junior division rounds. The former Capetonian surged to victory ahead of Nick Godfrey from Cape St Francis, Jaco Steyn of Melkbosstrand and Chris Leppan of Umhlanga.

The women’s division title went to talented teen Bianca Buitendag of George. She beat current SA Champion Heather Clark of Port Shepstone, Chantelle Rautenbach of Melkbos and Tarryn Chudleigh, who came fourth.