Vintner’s Surf Classic: Winemakers in the Waves

The contestants. Photo: Kelly/Nice Touch Media

At the Vintner’s Surf Classic, the Nice Touch Media team and I were fortunate enough to see 65 South African winemakers coming together for the love of waves and wine, dropping their titles as winemakers and simply becoming surfers for the day.

The 19th edition of the annual Vintner’s Surf Classic (VSC) took place at Morris Point in Stilbaai on Friday 10 August 2018. 

My team and I were stoked to capture the epic Vintner’s event via videos and photos, to connect the surfers and fans on social media, and, ultimately, to find out who’s got what it takes to hold the bragging rights to the title of “best vintner-surfer in the Cape”.

Vintner’s Surf Classic

Photo: Kelly/Nice Touch Media

The day saw a cold start at 07:30 in Jongensfontein, at an infamous spot known as Kakgat (Shithole). However, it didn’t take long for the organisers to realize that this spot wasn’t going to cut it, as the rip current was much too powerful, breaking boards and causing (minor) injuries.

As a result, the competition relocated to Morris Point in Still Bay.

At the new location, the surf was small but clean. Three to four feet waves pushed down the Point for most of the day, but, luckily, the waves picked up as the tide came in, growing to five feet.

Stand-out surfers

Long-time Women’s champ Trizanne Barnard (Trizanne Signature Wines) had a “decent heat during the second round” when the high tide brought some excitement.

Pieter Walser (Blank Bottle) caught one of the best waves of the day, establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with.

Other surfers who really had the spectators buzzing were Francois Hanekom (Delavia) and Gunter Schultz (Tamboerskloof), VSC 2016’s champ.

Gunter Schultz. Photo: Kelly/Nice Touch Media

Vibes

As a community of surfer friends, the contestants all supported each other: we saw it in the banter on social media, the catch-ups between heats, the sharing of wine, the wholehearted cheers at the prize giving.

Even though they’re (strictly speaking) each other’s competition in the real world, their love for surfing is the golden thread that unites them.

At the same time, the support from the spectators was also great.

The spectators’ area could be heard buzzing with applause and cheering all day long, growing louder towards the end of the day when the finals were on.

Winners

VSC has four divisions: Women, Juniors (20-30), Seniors (30-40), and Ballies (40+).

We’d like to congratulate the winners and runner-ups of the respective divisions:

Ladies:

  1. Trizanne Barnard (Trizanne Signature Wines)
  2. Sarah Harvard (Hamilton Russell)
  3. Lucinda Heyns (Ilimis)
  4. Nadia Barnard (Waterkloof Wines)

Juniors:

  1. Faan Rabie (De Kleine Wijn Koop)
  2. Janneman Solms (De Kleine Wijn Koop)
  3. Heinrich van der Walt
  4. Christo le Riche (Le Riche Wines)

Seniors:

  1. Pieter Walser (Blank Bottle)
  2. Gunter Schultz (Tamboerskloof)
  3. Francois Hanekom (Delavia)
  4. JT van der Westhuizen (Klein Roosboom)

Ballies:

  1. Bevan Newton Johnson (Newton Johnson)
  2. Miles Mossop (Miles Mossop Wines)
  3. Sebastian Beaumont (Beaumont)
  4. JP Rossouw (Platter’s South African Wine Guide)
Winners: Bevan Newton Johnson, Trizanne Barnard, Faan Rabie and Pieter Walser. Photo: Adriaan Oelofse

Video production

Pieter Walser. Photo: Kelly/Nice Touch Media

Last year, Nice Touch Media captured the history of the event, going all the way back to its humble beginnings in 2000.

This year, Nice Touch Media, as VSC’s official media partner, went with a different angle, filming the surfers in action against the backdrop of Morris Point – its beautifully blue waves and the unkempt surrounds:

The Big Red: Made by Surfers for Surfers

The Big Red. Photo: Kelly/Nice Touch Media

Every contestant is required to pay an entry fee of five litres of their own red wine, as per tradition.

All the surfers’ “entry fees” are then combined into a Bordeaux blend. After being bottled into about a hundred magnums, these wines are labelled and gifted to contestants and sponsors at the prize giving ceremony.

In addition, winemakers have the option to donate another 25 litres of their top wine to create a semi-commercial iteration of The Big Red magnum to raise funds for a cancer charity called Surf4Life.

Surf4Life, originally initiated by a late cancer sufferer, makes it their mission to introduce disadvantaged people to the wonderful world of surfing, making them part of the fun, open-minded lifestyle.

A magnum of the 2014-vintage Big Red costs R630 and you can buy it online at Vineyard Connection.

Sponsors

Each year, more and more sponsors join in to make VSC bigger and better. This year saw more than 20 sponsors, Reef and RR Wine Technologies being the two main sponsors.

rizes were sponsored by the following top brands: Thalès Services (wooden trophies), Rolling Wood Surf & Skate Shop, Winetech, Chapman’s Peak Beach Hotel, MAT Surfboards, and Stance.

As always, the VSC team were grateful for the local Stilbaai surfers for allowing them to host this contest in their surf breaks.

Giving back to the community, funds were donated by the contestants towards the improvement and maintenance of the Still Bay beach facilities.

Morris Point. Photo: Kelly/Nice Touch Media

If you’d like to know more about VSC, visit the website or follow VSC on Facebook and Instagram.

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