Frontrunner in the ASP rookie race Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 19, and Reunion Island’s Johanne Defay (FRA) 19, decided to capitalize on a mid-season competition break to explore the wonders of South Africa. They came back with a clean edit of fun waves featuring the kind of high performance surfing these two are known for.
After blasting through the qualifying ranks last year with a near perfect season, collecting two major wins and a runner-up place at the World Juniors, Buitendag started her maiden assault on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Top 17 with a 5th place on the Gold Coast. Recently the local Victoria Bay resident bounced back to clinch an impressive 3rd in Rio last week. She now sits in 8th position on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT) rankings.
“I just came from the best result of my career so far, so you could say its going well haha, but I have really learnt a lot this year.” said Buitendag. “People always say that and now I realize why. I learn about patience and overcoming emotions, I learn about how important it is to surf smart, I learned that you really have to make the most of every opportunity, how helpful good equipment and honest advice is, I could go on forever..”
The talented goofy-footer developed her progressive approach and explosive backhand growing up along the shores of South-Africa. Buitenendag decided to invite Johanne Defay over and show her the ropes along the South Coast, from Cape Town to the iconic Jeffrey’s Bay.
“South Africa is my favorite place in the whole world, and although I get to experience a lot of different cultures, this time I wanted to share my culture. South Africa is a bit off the beaten track so it took a lot of convincing!”
“We spent last year traveling around the world together,” Defay commented. “We learned how to do everything on our own and shared so much over the season we became real good friends. This year with this long break I decided to head over to South Africa and brought along my family. We started the road trip at J-Bay then went on to Victoria Bay where Bianca lives and I finished with my parents spending a day in Cape Town and Durban. My highlight was definitely the elephant ride, you should see our faces riding those things!”
Johanne Defay, the former 2009 and 2011 European Junior Champion, has been quietly building momentum on the world stage. Jumping through the ranks each year, she sits right outside the qualification zone for the WCT, a goal she now has her sights set on. With former competitor and recently turned professional coach Amandine Sanchez on her side, Defay has been putting in long hours of training and hopes her hard work will soon pay off.
Buitendag saw in this little adventure a perfect way to take the pressure off of her maiden season among the elite ASP Top 17. A season which has a condensed women’s schedule of four events held back-to-back in Australia and New-Zealand.
“The day Johanne arrived in South Africa she asked ‘when was the last time you actually went somewhere NOT to surf a contest?’ And I honestly could not recall the day.” Buitendag stated. “Just to wake up and know that today was not about winning or losing. That the only thing you could win or lose was great memories made with great people.”
The result is a clean edit of great surf and beautiful wildlife that transpires friendship and fun.