MORE than 120 young surfers representing six provinces will compete in the 22nd Billabong South African Grommet Games, which get under way at Pollok Beach today.
Officials and families from all parts of the South African coastline will be part of the action.
The tournament, supported by Sport and Recreation SA, officially got under way with the opening function last night in the Victoria Park Grey Primary School Hall in Walmer.
The SA Grommet Games is hosted by the Eastern Province Surfing Council, which has organised all but one of the tournaments since the first one in 1991. From humble beginnings, the annual event is now a blue ribbon event on the Surfing South Africa calendar.
Introduced into South African surfing culture after unification, the Grommet Games is a transformation and development tournament that gives young surfers from around the country the opportunity to compete for their respective provinces in a major surfing contest for the first time.
Many South African surfers who began their competitive surfing careers in the Grommet Games have gone on to compete in national championships and elite tournaments, and several have represented South Africa in international competitions.
Port Elizabeth has remained the venue for this important and significant championship for all but one of its 22 years because it is situated midway between Durban and Cape Town.
In addition, the Pipe at Pollok Beach produces consistent, contestable conditions for surfers who are representing their provincial teams in their first-ever national contest.
The Grommet Games is regarded by Surfing South Africa as a vital and important tournament and certainly takes its place with distinction alongside other major national events.
Girls and boys from a variety of different cultures and communities are represented across the eight divisions and come from all parts of the South African coast.
The youngest surfers in the contest will compete in the U8 division, with the oldest participants taking part in the U16 boys and girls group.
The Grommet Games highlights the transformation process within Surfing SA and provinces are set strict criteria when it comes to selecting their teams.
While much of the focus is on surfing itself, events such as a paddle battle, beach flags and a tag team surfing competition are included in the activities that make this event so special each year.
The team that displays the most spirit and support during the contest will win the best team trophy and the team with the highest points total will take home the Mandela Bay Trophy, which was won by Western Province last year.