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Kayla Nogueira – rising starlet


Kayla Nogueira Photo: Grant Scholtz

Kayla Nogueira started getting attention two and a half years ago, for her surfing but more importantly, for her enormous appetite to be in the water catching waves. Since then she has climbed the junior ranks to become one of SA’s most talked about competitors after she won back to back titles in both the under fourteen and under sixteen divisions at the Billabong Junior Series PE event and a week later, at the 2017 Sea Harvest Vic Bay Gromcomp. 

IMG_1274 KAYLAIn 2015, she sounded the alarm bells to her fellow competitors when she won the SA Grom Games in the under 13 girls division. In 2016 she won the Billabong SA Junior Champion in the U13 girls division.

Shaun Tomson always wants the parents along when he talked to young athletes. He values their participation in the process of growing champions. Ernie, his father, played a significant role in his professional development especially during his early years.

Kayla’s parents, Luis and Leanne have played a similar role in her development, being there at almost every HPSA coaching session and at every event. Besides clocking up thousands of kilometers, driving from Durban to PE, back to Durban, then all the way to Vic Bay and finally back to Durban to be at her side, Luis’ business commitments takes him back and forth to Gauteng on an almost daily basis. He knows King Shaka and Oliver Tambo Airports intimately.

The support that the family gives is one thing but that drive and commitment that Kayla shows is inherent. She’s very serious about surfing and competing. No matter how far their travels take them, she’s up for every HPSA coaching session, ready to learn and practice. Many could learn a lot from her consistency and commitment.


Luis and Jason at the PE Billabong Junior event.

I spoke to Luis when he was about to board another flight to Johannesburg:

How did Kayla get into surfing?

We were living in London and at the age of 4 years old, she said to us she wanted to surf. When she was 5 years old we returned to Johannesburg and she always asked us to buy her surfing magazines cause she wanted to surf. We were in Mozam on holiday when she noticed a small surf shop that rented out soft boards and asked me to rent her a board so she could go surf. She was 9 years old at that time and I pushed her on a couple of waves and she popped up so quickly and was so comfortable riding the foam, that she would not stop and I had to rent her a board everyday whilst we were there. Since that holiday she would not stop asking us to move to Durban so she could surf and that is where it all started.

So the family left JHB to move to Durban?

We moved to Durban when Kayla was 9 years old so we could have a better quality of life and Kayla and Sergio could enjoy and share in our love of the ocean. We have never looked back and our life could not be any better.

Kayla started surfing properly when she was 10 years old. At one of her school friends surf parties she was told that she was surfing so well and should enter the next surf contest in Durban. She entered that contest, won her age division and was hooked to competitive surfing. After that she was also selected to represent KZN at the Billabong SA Grom Games in PE.

Kayla has since competed in many contests and has achieved many great results and has the following SA titles:

  • 2015 Billabong SA Grom Games Champion in the U13 girls division
  • 2016 Billabong SA Junior Champion in the U13 girls division.

In what other sports does she participate?

Kayla was a provincial gymnast and had to make a decision between gymnastics and surfing and which sport she loved the most, Kayla chose surfing and has loved every minute since the day she caught her first wave.

The 2017 contest season has started off with a bang for her. Take me down the timeline of what happened.

Kayla won the U16 Girls division Girls Summersurf Challenge and the U14 Girls and U16 Girls back to back from the Billabong Junior Series #1 to the Victoria Bay Grom Comp.


You’ve done a lot of miles to make this happen for her. 

2017 so far has been a year with a couple of thousand kilometers so far with many more to come, we have travelled from Durban to PE for the Billabong Junior Series over a weekend and back to Durban and the following weekend from Durban to Victoria Bay and back to Durban. The next fifteen weekends will also include travels to the WSL QS, JQS and SSA contests all over the Cape and Durban.

What role has the HPSA played in her development?

The HPSA has taken Kayla’s surfing to a new level. The legends have covered all the aspects of surf training in advanced coaching techniques, video analysis, core strength, nutrition, contest surfing and mental strength. Jason Ribbink and Chad du Toit have supported the children in all the above mentioned training techniques and continue to keep the kids excited and stoked.

Kayla has improved in leaps and bounds since the day she was selected to be part of HPSA and the best part is we are all part of this amazing family.

Future plans and expectations/wish list?

Kayla’s future plan is to be selected to represent South Africa at ‘Worlds’ and complete in all the SA QS events and do some international QS events and one day qualify for the CT.

Anything you’d like to add?

We want to thank all the South African Surfing Legends for believing in her and giving their time and for the 2016 HPSA Future Legends Series which kicked off this amazing program.

Thank you to Jason Ribbink for the best boards which have also improved Kayla’s surfing tremendously and for giving up his time.

Thank you to Chad du Toit for extra one-on-one coaching.


  • Roxy
  • Lost Mayhem
  • Island Style
  • Ambassador for FCS
  • Ambassador for Koshin Cross Fit (not sure re Koshin as this is part of the HPSA coaching)


Nogueira’s Serge

There’s more in the Nogueira saga. Kayla’s young brother Serge also visited the podium in the the Billabong Series, winning the PE event’s U10 division and placing second in Vic Bay. If there’s a more stoked, frothing grom anywhere, we’d all like to meet him.



Another HPSA elite squad member, Nate achieved a first in PE and a second in Vic Bay in the U14 boys division, capping a very successful campaign on the road. Surfing in conditions more suited to his Cape rivals, his consistency has paid dividends. In the last year Nate has seen a steep upward curve in his technique, his core physical attributes and his competition strategy.





Result from HPSA surfers at North Swell 2 April 2017 club event:

U10 Boys:

1. Bryce Hoppe

2. Matt Canning

3. Jackson Ribbink

U12 Girls:

1. Chloe Ribbink

2. Kitti Ribbink

U14 Boys:

1. James Ribbink

2. Nate Colby

3. Ben Ribbink

U18 Boys:

1. Karl Steyn

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