Wave rider heads for champs Down Under

Kira Bester takes to the waves like a dolphin in the Iron Woman event. PICTURE: TOPFOTO

Kira Bester, a member of Strand Surf Lifesaving club, has been selected to compete at the Lifesaving World Championships, which will be held in Adelaide, Australia, from November 21 to December 2.

A team of 24 members will represent South Africa at the championships, which is held every two years.

Kira, 16, is one of six girls who were included in the Junior Squad.

This event attracts the most talented and skilled lifesaving athletes to compete for the title of the world’s best and to showcase lifesaving sports and rescue.

Kira, a Grade 11 pupil at Somerset College, joined Strand Surf Lifesaving Club at the age of eight, when her parents brought her down to the beach to learn about beach safety, the ocean and to get involved with Nippers.

She enjoyed the competitive side of lifesaving sport, and has not missed a single local or national competition.

Kira qualified as a junior lifeguard at the age of 14, when she was able to start doing voluntary duty. She has since obtained her lifeguard award, and has been working as a part-time lifeguard at Strand beach during summer season.

Lifesaving sport was primarily intended to encourage lifesavers to develop, maintain and improve the essential physical and mental skills needed to save lives in the aquatic environment.

Lifesaving competitions consist of a variety of competitions and races in the pool, on the beach and in the surf, to further develop and demonstrate lifesaving skills, fitness and motivation.

Kira is a good all-rounder athlete, who specialises in Malibu board and Surf-ski events and who is the current National titleholder, for her age group, in the Iron woman event.

She has in the last year had to learn the skill of stillwater lifesaving, which includes various simulated manikin rescue events in a pool, which forms an integral part of the competition, the selection process and lifesaving as a whole.

Kira’s training schedule includes multiple sessions of swimming, board and ski training, running and gym sessions per week.

She trains with swimming club Aqua Sharks and coach Leal de Kock, in Strand, and has been fortunate enough to have been trained by various Strand Lifesaving coaches and mentors, including Jamii Hamlin, her current surf ski coach.

Hanlie Ochse, the Western Cape Stillwater coach, who took her under her wing, has also played an important role to make the transition from surf lifesaving to stillwater lifesaving a lot easier for Kira.

Kira recently competed at the Lifesaving South Africa Inter-provincials in Durban with teammates Taylor Yates and Megan Kreft, who were all selected to represent the Western Cape squad at this event.

The three of them were also all included in the South African Lifesaving High Performance Squad.

Kira is passionate about lifesaving, loves the ocean, and is grateful for this opportunity to represent South Africa at this level.

The tour is partially self-funded, so any sponsors or donations towards getting Kira to Worlds, will be appreciated.

Contact her mother, Carika Meyer, for more in formation, at carika@blockandchisel.co.za