Childhood pals in competition at world event

Three Jeffreys Bay surfers will put their friendship to the ultimate test when they battle it out at the International Surfing Association’s World Surfing Games in Biarritz, France next month.

Childhood friends Dylan Lightfoot, 22, Tobias Schroeder, 22, and Remi Petersen, 24, will compete for three different countries.

Growing up in Jeffreys Bay, Lightfoot, who will be surfing for South Africa, Schroeder, in the German squad, and Petersen, on team Holland, spent much of their time catching waves.

It was at surfing competitions from the age of about 10 that the trio struck up a friendship.

Petersen and Schroeder are unable to represent South Africa as they do not have South African passports, but both men said it would have been easier to qualify for world events in the countries they now represented rather than the South African team as there were many talented South Africans vying for a spot.

All three men recently participated in the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro at Pollok Beach. Despite Petersen bowing out of the competition on the Friday and Schroeder the next day, Lightfoot came second in the men’s qualifying series.

“I am so glad we had the opportunity to live so close to the beach. Normally when you live in a city you tend to get sucked into all the wrong habits, but growing up in J-Bay, all we do here is surf,” Lightfoot said.

Petersen, who moved to Jeffreys Bay when he was five, now travels between South Africa and the Netherlands, but says his “base will always be in J-Bay”. He said he was hoping to cause some “upsets at the competition”.

Schroeder also moved to Jeffreys Bay at the age of five, although he recently went back to Germany to study.

Each of the three surfers has represented EP at some stage in their junior careers, with Lightfoot representing South Africa as a senior as well.

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