EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Port Alfred surfer Kye Macgregor has started making waves in junior competitions, achieving a second place in the u-10 division of the Surfing South Africa (SSA) Gromcomp in East London on Saturday.
He also was judged to have the best wave of the day across all divisions up to u-16 in the competition surfed at Nahoon Beach.
The competition was sponsored by the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture (DSRAC) and Lotto, and drew surfers from as far afield as Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay.
SURF-RAT: Using a borrowed board, Kye Macgregor, 8, won second place in his division and was judged to have the best wave of the day in the Surfing South Africa Gromcomp in East London on Saturday Picture: JON HOUZET
“This was the biggest competition I’ve surfed in,” Kye told TotT. “Before this I’ve surfed in King of the Kowie in Port Alfred.”
Kye said he started learning how to surf at just two years old. “Then I was just learning how to stand on a board on the sand. At three I was catching little waves,” he said.
He was taught how to surf by his older brother Cuan and his dad Dave, a journalist for TotT’s sister newspaper the Daily Dispatch.
“He grew up on the beach,” said Dave. “He’s been standing on a board even before he could really stand. We spent so much time on the beach it was just natural that he surfed.”
Kye’s thirst for surfing has been unquenchable since he was a toddler, and his ability has been noticed by Kowie Boardriders Club secretary Warwick Heny.
“It’s quite clear he’s going to follow in the footsteps of his brother and dad,” said Heny. “He’s a little surf-rat, a great little surfer for where he is, starting as young as he did.
“He’s a good little kid. He’s such a lightweight, but when he gets older and heavier he’ll put more power into his turns. He could go on to become one of the top surfers in South Africa.”
Dad Dave said Kye was so keen to surf he had been known to sleep in his wetsuit the night before a Kowie competition, to indignant denials by Kye.
“He got up to pee in the middle of the night once and asked me, ‘Is it time for the compo yet?’,” Dave said.
It was a spur of the moment decision to enter Kye and Cuan in the SSA Gromcomp. Dave and his sons were on a holiday road trip at the time.
But Cuan was not feeling well and was knocked out in the first heat of his section.
In the u-10 division, dads were allowed to swim out with their kids to the break, “but we couldn’t give them a push into a wave”, said Dave.
“It’s quite intimidating for a little oke to go out alone.”
They rode waves about one metre high.
There were eight boys in Kye’s division, some junior Border surfers among them.
“I was a little bit nervous,” said Kye. “The other guys looked good.”
They surfed two heats. “He blitzed the first one and was judged to have best wave of the competition. That’s major,” said Dave.
Kye won a medal and a Tide watch for second place, a Skull Candy iPod cover for wave of the day, and a ZizZag photo journal magazine.
“I felt good about getting second and getting the best wave,” said Kye. He thanked his dad and brother for mentoring him.