SA surfers make waves

By admin
22 May 2013

Everything just fell into place for new world champ Shaun Joubert

Did you know South Africa are the new world champions in surfing? The SA team won the recent ISA World Surfing Games in Panama, ending ahead of Australia (2nd) and Peru (3rd).

SA was led by Shaun Joubert, who also won the individual gold medal in the Open Men’s division, making him the men’s world champion! We caught up with Shaun (22), a resident of Mossel Bay, after his amazing performance.

So how does it feel to be world champion?

It's the best feeling in the world. I didn't think it was possible! There was never a moment when I actually thought I was going to win, until a few minutes were left in the final, and I was leading. I was sitting there alone and I just pulled my vest over my head and I thought, "Oh my god, this is real, that just happened, I'm world champ!" And then the hooter went and next thing I was on the beach hugging all my friends. It was almost too good to be true.

Is it true the South African team sang “Hier kom die Bokke” after winning?

We did! It was really cool. We did it after I won and we liked it, so we just did it again when we won team gold. We didn't have a rehearsed war cry or anything so we just sang Hier kom die Bokke! The gees was off the charts. We didn't know we’d won until they called up Australia [who won silver], so it was really unexpected and special. Standing on stage with the whole team was something I’ll never ever forget!

What would you say gave you the edge in this championship?

I think my attitude and my experience competing. I was so relaxed. I was enjoying myself so much! And I think not caring makes it a little bit easier to take risks, which I did and I was lucky that they came off. It was just one of those weeks where everything fell into place. Also, I made a junior world champs final, so I knew how long the week could be. Switching on and off is very important. I surfed with intensity and relaxed when I didn't need to surf.

A surfing competition is generally 4 days long. But the World Surfing Games ran over 8 days. Was it difficult to stay focused? Give us an idea of your routine during a competition?

I didn't struggle focusing for heats, I had a pretty good pre-heat routine. It was really hot, so we tried to leave the beach when it wasn't necessary for us to be there. Go back to the house, sit in the aircon, drink lots of water, stay out of the sun. Like I said, switch on and off. Before a heat, I would listen to music, mostly so people don't talk to me. I just like to look at the waves, see what I want to do, and then paddle out and do my thing. The waves was pretty similar to home, so I didn't have to think about it too much but just have fun – which is what I did all week.

What’s next for you?

I’m going to continue competing on the World Tour. I'm very fortunate to have this as a job, and I'm trying to take it all in and enjoy it as much as possible while I have the chance. We have some really cool events coming up. I'm excited!

We’ve heard you’re surfing without a sponsor. Do you think that might change now?

Yes I am. It might, it might not. The surfing industry is struggling at the moment, so we’ll see. It's not really the reason I surf. I just do it, because I love it. If someone wants to support me, I'll be very happy, if not, I'm gonna carry on enjoying it and try to achieve my goals.

Shaun, we wish you all the best. South Africa is proud of you!

Check out Shaun’s blog at It’s mainly a photo blog and most of shots were taken by Shaun or his father, Anton – both keen photographers.

Shaun Joubert surfing in Panama

-   Suzaan Hauman

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