Sisonke roughly translated means ‘together’. On the weekend of 22/23 October 2016, Sisonke Surf Club, a loosely knit group of surfers from Trafalgar, Umzumbe and Durban came ‘together’ to run a highly successful event at Dairy Beach in Durban.

Saturday morning a small rolling swell made for contestable, if somewhat fat conditions, but the offshore was on the water and the event was up and away.
Mushy and fading outside walls and a shore break with some bite called for a lot of cutting back and bouncing to navigate through a deep mid break trough so each contestant was challenged to bring their ‘A’ game if they wanted to progress through the rounds.

Sunday was a little bigger and on the morning high tide the shore break was knarlier but a lot of fun and provided a great canvas to showcase their talent.


Simo Mkhize © FLANAGAN


Some of the surfers from the South Coast were surfing an event in Durban for the first time however, the waves on offer were similar to Trafalgar so it was game on for some spectacular above the lip action that had the crowd on the block roaring with appreciation. The Umzumbe and Durban crew were not to be outdone and in the final mix, reinforced by some precise judging, the best surfers over the three days emerged on the podium.

Event stand out was Snenhlanhla Makhubu, who adding the under 14 boys, the under 17 boys and the under 20 girls titles to the brilliant under 14 girls win at the Billabong Junior Series held at Seal Points two weeks prior to this event.


Sne Makhubu © FLANAGAN


Under 20 division winner Sfiso Ncobo. © Tom Hewitt of Surfers not Street Children.

Established rippers, Sfiso Ncobo and Avo Ndamase won the under 20 and open divisions respectively with a good showing in both finals by Simo Mkhize who seems to channel the loose Hawaiian vibe of Buttons and Larry .


Avo Ndamase, winner of the open division. © Dawn Rouse.


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For Alvin Mtatshi, the organiser, Saturday 22 October started at three am. Heading up a three vehicle convoy, he collected competitors from as far away as Trafalgar way down south and headed for the event. Securing the help of the wider surfing community he staged an exciting and well run two day event, at the same time running a number of soft boards ‘learn to surf’ sessions with a bunch of frothing groms thus perpetuating and spreading the stoke through the community.



Sisonke is Alvin’s brainchild and he must be watching the crazy uplifting of standards with pride. Another step in creating South Africa’s own ‘storm’. The future looks so bright he’s gonna have to wear shades. A big shout to to you, Alvin. Onwards and upwards.

by Pat Flanagan South African Surfing Legends

Sisonke Development Challenge Dairy Beach Durban
22/23 October 2016. Final Results

U14 GIRLS 1)Manto Mhlongo 2)Lerato Mazibuko 3)Zama Gumbi

1)Sne Makhubu 2)Ayanda Mpisane 3)Mthuthukisi Mtolo 4)Mvelo Mbutho

1)Sne Makhubu 2)Mnqobi Radebe 3)Senzo Shange 4)Ntokozo Ndunge

1) Sne Makhubu 2) Sam Cele

1)Sfiso Ngcobo 2)Zamani Gcwensa 3)Simo Mkhize 4)Sandile Mbuthuma

1)Avuyile Avo Ndamase 2)Sihle Mbutho
3)Simo Mkhize 4)Zamani Gcwensa

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From Alvin
“Well done to all the Sisonke Development Club Challenge finalists.
Just would like to send out a big thank you to everyone who supported us for this event this weekend. Mark Snowball from LSAfrica for the prize money and the transport for the kids and Robin de Kock from Surfing South Africa for sponsoring money towards the accommodation for the kids and Ethekweni Surfing Association and the committee for booking the beach for us and letting us use the their equipment and sponsoring the braai meat. Dane Patterson from Quiksilver, Paul Canning from O’Neill, Ant Hulsten at Rip Curl and Jestyn Viljoen from Hurricane Surf for the prizes. Jason Ribbink from Bilt Surf for always supporting the kids and sponsoring them with high performance surfboards and the pizza for lunch and Athos Euripidou from DBNXFST for the support and our most shares award, and Durban Surf Lifesaving Club for the awesome venue for the braai and the prize giving after the event and Jed Russell Kenny. Patrick Flanagan and the South African Surfing Legends for the support and for making the Sisonke Development Club Challenge poster and doing all the Sisonke designs. To Dianne Lynn Parkes, Craig Dove and John Dancaster for the amazing pictures and to the local surfers for giving us the opportunity to surf Dairy Beach and New Pier for the two days. To Sandile Mqadi and hIs team of judges and tabulators, thank you very much for all your hard work and Andy Davis from Zigzag magazine and Anne Wright for putting our heat draws together for the event. Much appreciated and what a success it turned out to be. We are together wave for wave!”

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