Saffa Wins Surf Contest In Wipe-Out Conditions

A South African surfer managed a miraculous victory in a surf contest held in treacherous, wipe-out conditions in the U.S. over the weekend.

Chris Bertish, a 35-year old surfer from Cape Town, raked in $50 000 (about R3.85 million) when he came first in the invitational Mavericks Surf Contest at California’s Half Moon Bay on Sunday – the same event where massive rogue waves swept dozens of spectators from a sea-wall, causing serious injuries. According to the judges and the competitors, the 40- to 50-feet high waves were the biggest they have ever witnessed in a paddle-in surfing competition.

Chris, who is part of the O’Neill South Africa surfing team, became the rather unlikely champion – not merely because he emerged even after being hammered by several brutal wipe-outs, but also because he wore a borrowed wetsuit. In fact, he had even borrowed the money to pay the airfare to get to the States. Part of his winnings, he said, will be spent on paying back his brother and the friends he had loaned the money from. Fellow South African, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, was eliminated during the semi-finals.

American surfer Shane Desmond from Santa Cruz came second.