Two local boys recently placed first and second in the u.16 boys’ division of the WP Longboard Champs. Joshua van Niekerk (16) who attends Muizenberg High School and Joshua Dwyer-Thiem (15) who attends Cedar House took part in the contest which was held in pristine conditions at Long Beach in Kommetjie. The waves were in the three-foot range with a dumpy shore break that claimed at least one competitor’s board.They are the products of a development programme which has the long-term goal of preparing promising young athletes to compete in and win international contests. “They are determined, polite, hardworking, humble, respectful and motivated. The dream is that both of them would ultimately be able to make a career as competitive surfers. These two guys have true grit!” says mentor, George Bunting. Once the third and fourth places were announced, the two boys hugged and high-fived each other with delight. Neither seemed concerned as to which of them was first or second. Previously underdogs, the friends were overjoyed to have placed in the top two. “These guys are good friends who support each other to the hilt. They are a great example of friendship, good sportsmanship and pure stoke,” says Carl Zimmerman, chairperson of the WP Longboarding Association.The youngest surfer was Remi Fourie, who at only 10 years old won the u.16 girls’ division. The oldest surfer, at 70, was Therase Russell. Congratulations were extended to the winner of the open women’s division, Raylin Wynn, and Justin Bing who won the highly competitive men’s open division.Longboarding in South Africa is growing, having recently expanded the women’s division to accommodate more ladies. “Being part of Western Province longboarding events feels a lot like belonging to a family. There’s such a lovely mix of old and young, encouraging each other. Everybody ‘mucks-in’ and gets things done,” says Zimmerman.