SA surfer wins US ‘Superbowl’

first_imgSouth African Chris Bertish taking on the big wave at the Mavericks Surf Contest in California. (Image: Zigzag Surfing Magazine) Chris Bertish (Image: Mavericks Surf) RELATED ARTICLES • Scuba-diving South Africa• Life’s a beach in South Africa• Into the big-wave Dungeons• Riding the wild Cape winds• The Agony and the Ecstacy MEDIA CONTACTS • Chris Bertish [email protected] • Keir J. Beadling Mavericks Surf +1 415 462 6200 [email protected] McIntoshWhen his wetsuit and custom-built surfboard didn’t arrive at the invitational Mavericks Big Wave Surf Contest in California’s Half Moon Bay, things looked bad for South African surfer Chris Bertish.He’d flown for 36 hours to be there, was jet-lagged and had slept for only three hours. But he borrowed a board and astounded the world to go on to win the contest and the purse of US$50 000 (about R385 000) on 14 February.Bertish laughed when I asked whether the borrowed board was a handicap. “When you’re riding the biggest waves of your life you want to be on your own board. It’s a bit like a showjumper arriving at the Olympic Games and having to ride a different horse.”But that was only one of the hurdles that he’d overcome on the way. You don’t just enter Mavericks, you have to be invited. And only 24 are invited, so you have to be one of the top big wave surfers in the world.Bertish cracked the invitation list for the 2009 Mavericks after 10 years of hard work and perseverance, but then the waves weren’t big enough and the contest cancelled. But he refused to give up, spending several months of last year in the US training, maintaining his top-24 ranking and waiting for this year’s event.“Eventually I had to give up and come home,” Bertish said. “It was just too draining, physically, emotionally and of course financially. I’m not a pro surfer; I’m an agent for O’Neill and Ocean Minded and have a business to run. So in January I decided okay, that’s it, I have to get on with my life.“Then on Thursday 12 February it suddenly looked as if the contest might be on. And I realised that if I didn’t take the opportunity then I’d regret it for the rest of my life.“I finished up a meeting, arranged to borrow the money for my ticket and headed to the airport without even a change of clothes or my toothbrush. When I got on the plane at midnight I still wasn’t sure that the event would happen.”When he arrived in California the conditions were extreme, but the invited surfers voted to stage the contest. The swell was coming from a precarious westerly direction, which drew the current straight into a crop of rocks known as the Boneyard. Everyone knew that the penalty for wiping out would be swift and severe. The storm system that generated the swell had developed close to shore and the ocean surface was raw and angry.It wasn’t the best of starts. After negotiating several big waves in the first heat, Bertish got caught inside and took three gigantic waves on the head.“It was scary, very scary. By the time I got picked up [by a jet ski] I was like a lifeless corpse. I thought I was done for the whole day. But in life there are times when you only get one chance to realise your dream. So I just put it in my head that I had to get back up.”Fortunately, he had scored well enough on his previous two waves to advance to the semi-finals. Once there, he wowed the judges with a hotdog manoeuvre, pulling into a condo-sized barrel — a feat rarely attempted, or even considered possible, at Mavericks.In the final, he got lucky and caught the best of tricky low-tide conditions that saw numerous lulls and massive mutant waves that doubled up and detonated on the inside reef.It was a historic moment: the waves, estimated at over 18 metres (60 feet), were the biggest ever for a paddle-in (as opposed to a tow-in) competition.Head judge Gary Linden, who was also director of the Red Bull Big Wave Africa competition at Dungeons off Hout Bay in the Western Cape, South Africa, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that it was Bertish’s willingness to take risks and make death-defying drops that won him the title.Mark Conley of Mercurynews.com was more graphic: “They crowned a survivor as much as a victor…. Shattered boards, bleeding lungs and heads scuffed over the jagged sea shelf below were all part of a day’s work.“On a day where agony-of-defeat wipe-outs outnumbered thrill of victory successes, Chris Bertish of South Africa was the last man standing – and miraculously, all of them were still breathing.“Never before had so many surfers ridden so many titanic waves. And never before had so many flirted with serious injury — maximum risk for maximum reward.”Bertish described it as “epic”. “I was up against my idols and heroes of the last 10 years so to arrive exhausted, having flown half-way around the world, and come out tops under those conditions was just incredible.”But many of his peers weren’t surprised. Fellow big wave-surfer and Red Bull Big Wave Africa semifinalist Barry Futter is full of respect. “Chris has done some crazy things over the years including being the first person to paddle-surf Jaws in Maui, strictly a tow wave only spot! This success and recognition is long overdue.”The win gained Bertish immediate hero status in the US. “You have no idea how big Mavericks is over there. It’s like the Superbowl for them, or the World Cup for us.“After a night of celebrating I went out to the airport to fly home and everyone was coming up and wanting to have their picture taken with me. The guy at the check-in desk laughed at my surprise, saying: ‘Bud, I don’t think you understand what you’ve done. You’re a national hero.’“Sixty thousand people watched the event live and it was beamed out to another 2-million worldwide. I guess it was a bit of a fairytale. I was the underdog realising his dream.“And after all the doom and gloom of the last year it was a feel-good story that everyone wanted to be part of. It just goes to prove that if you truly believe and set your sights on something then you can make your dreams come true.”last_img read more

Study finds South Africans are proud and patriotic ahead of Freedom Month

first_imgJohannesburg, Thursday 31 March 2016 – Coming ahead of the country’s annual commemoration of Freedom Month, Brand South Africa’s Domestic Perceptions Research shows that being South African is a significant element of individual and national identity. Over 80% of 2 536 respondents say they are extremely proud to be South African.Read: Brand South Africa’s 2016 Domestic Perceptions Research updateGiving further expression to the strength of the country’s citizenry, Brand South Africa’s research also shows that social cohesion levels stand at 76% and active citizenship levels stand at 61%.Brand South Africa’s CEO Mr Kingsley Makhubela said, “These findings are significant in light of perceptions that South Africa is a fragmented society. Our research indicates that South Africans on the whole are extremely proud of the country and its achievements. The term ‘I am South African’ found resonance amongst participants in the study with many strongly identifying with this.”In order to gain insights on how South Africans describe themselves, an open ended question was posed to respondents who were asked to describe themselves in five words. An analysis of the responses indicated that respondents see themselves in a positive light – focusing on character and personality traits like loving, friendly, hardworking, respectful and honest.Mr Makhubela added: “Coincidentally, these self-descriptions resonate with findings from, for example, the Nation Brand Index, and City Brand Index that shows international respondents also describe South Africans as hardworking, open, and friendly people.”“That we have a social cohesion level of 76% and an active citizenship level of 61% also bodes very well for the strength and robustness of our democracy. A nation’s strongest asset is its citizenry. The results of this study tells us that South Africans are earnestly engaged in the nation building exercise.”“You cannot sell the brand of the country and ensure it is positively positioned without buy-in of its people, and these results attest to the fact that citizens are firmly on the side of the nation brand. Looking towards Freedom Month 2016 and with 80% of its population behind the nation brand, South Africa is in a good place to build on successes of the past and strengthen future gains.“It is in the spirit of this shared future, a path that is clearly articulated in the National Development Plan, Vision 2030, that Brand South Africa calls on citizens to collectively respond positively to the challenges the country faces,” concluded Mr Makhubela.Follow the conversation on @Brand_SA #FreedomMonth2016last_img read more

Transforming the Real Estate Market

first_imgWhat are the market barriers to scaling NZE homes?While the market potential and business case for investing in an NZE home is compelling for both the builder and the homeowner, the up-front incremental cost of developing a new NZE home has been the biggest deterrent for builders and developers looking to invest in NZE development to make it mainstream.According to Rocky Mountain Institute’s research, the average incremental up-front cost of constructing an NZE home is likely to be $24,811 more than an average code-compliant new home (excluding the federal investment tax credit and other state-specific incentives). This estimate was derived by analyzing average code-compliant single-family homes across California, Missouri, Florida, New York, Colorado, and Georgia, which collectively comprise almost one-third of the existing single-family housing market.Builders, who control almost three-fourths of this market, have been unwilling to invest their equity up front during the home construction process since they do not directly benefit from the operational cost savings and have no incentive to maximize them. The misaligned builder incentives and weak market signals coupled with the valuation uncertainty of how NZE home energy performance is presently valued by the market players are some of the main reasons for the latent consumer demand for NZE homes.We believe that enabling R-PACE for new construction is an effective way to overcome these market barriers and scale NZE new construction around the country. Radhika Lalit is a senior associate with the Buildings Practice at the Rocky Mountain Institute. © 2017 Rocky Mountain Institute. Published with permission. Originally posted on RMI Outlet. How can we enable Residential PACE?R-PACE has been extremely effective in tackling a significant market failure by increasing American households’ access to financial resources so that they can realize the benefits of a cost-saving, high-performance smart home. However, its use is ineligible for new construction and has been limited to home improvement retrofits in the existing state-enabled programs of California, Florida, and Missouri.We believe that with a few minor alterations to R-PACE’s existing policy and implementation framework, it could serve as a transformative tool to scale NZE home development. Our insight brief proposes specific “R-PACE for new construction” recommendations for states and local governments considering policy instruments to bolster new NZE residential development. These include:Amending legal state provisions and the underwriting process to allow R-PACE to be used for new construction.Defining limits to the total eligible amount based on construction costs rather than home valuation to catalyze investment in the sector.Requiring lender consent for employing R-PACE during construction to promote transparency and credibility and build trust with the mortgage lenders in the process.Defining an eligible list of energy and water conservation measures that could count as qualifying expenses under R-PACE for new construction while ensuring that any expenses that do not qualify under the list are not financed through the assessment.Mandating performance criteria to ensure that the net savings in energy costs are greater than the cost of the energy conservation measures, and that the project meets or exceeds state energy performance code requirements.Certifying post-implementation energy performance to document all the measures installed within the new home to help increase the home’s valuation at the time of sale.RMI is working toward a future where every homeowner in the U.S. has the opportunity to buy an NZE high-performance home for the same up-front cost as an average home while accruing net cost savings on the investment annually. This dream can be a reality if we use R-PACE to finance the incremental up-front costs to scale NZE homes in our states, cities, and communities.RMI appeals to states and local governments to work together to enable R-PACE for new construction in their jurisdictions to scale new NZE developments and make a concerted effort to facilitate enabling policy design and stakeholder engagement to support the mechanism. This effort would not only promote innovation and development in the real estate sector, but would also help leverage the abundant solar potential in states, encourage more local job creation, and increase employment overall.This is a win-win market-based solution with a business case for states, local governments, developers, and homebuyers across the country. We believe that R-PACE, when thoughtfully deployed for NZE home construction with robust state-level consumer protection measures, will scale NZE home development and set an example for other states to emulate. If you share this dream, we look forward to working with you. You can reach us at [email protected] to learn more about our work on R-PACE for new construction. The U.S. residential real estate market is booming, with new home sales steadily rising over the last few years. In March 2017, over 621,000 new single-family homes were sold (at a seasonally adjusted annual rate) at a median sales price of $345,800. Imagine if most of these new home developments were net-zero energy (NZE), which not only delivers the homeowner annual energy savings but also enhances the overall performance, comfort, and resilience of these homes.Now suppose residents could afford these high-performance NZE homes at no additional up-front cost using an innovative financing tool that would annually save them more money than they pay toward the financing.Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI’s) latest insight brief, R-PACE: A Game-Changer for NZE Homes, shows how this dream scenario can be made a reality through a special application of residential property assessed clean energy (R-PACE) financing — a game-changing financing mechanism that has already financed over 158,000 energy and water efficiency retrofits in homes in California, Florida, and Missouri since 2008. As policymakers decide on their strategy to build smarter cities and revitalize their aging infrastructure, they must consider the unprecedented opportunity to invest in high-performing NZE new homes, which are more comfortable, affordable, and resilient to power outages and weather extremes. Scaling NZE homes through concerted policy efforts will not only help states and local governments meet their carbon goals but also improve the housing stock and real estate values.Overall, NZE homes are the next big frontier for innovation and competition in the residential real estate market, and they promise a future that is propitious not only for homeowners and real estate developers but also for the U.S. economy and the planet. RELATED ARTICLES The role of Residential PACE in new constructionResidential PACE, also known as R-PACE, is an innovative financing mechanism used specifically to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, resilience, and water-saving home improvements. This assessment is typically attached to a property’s tax bill, secured by the same type of lien against the property as tax bills, and repaid through property taxes.It is unique because unlike traditional mortgages, it is transferable upon sale of the property and is tied to the property rather than the property owner. This feature allows seamless transfer and resolves the builder-homeowner cost-benefit split incentive challenge by lowering the need for builders to invest their capital equity into the project.RMI’s research confirms that an R-PACE financed NZE home is also a great investment for homebuyers as it allows them to own a home at the same up-front cost while earning more annual cost savings than the amount they pay for the annual PACE assessments, yielding average net monetary benefits of $160 year-on-year. Thus, R-PACE can enable U.S. homes to be more resilient, affordable, innovative, efficient, and high performing while costing less than an average home. What are NZE homes?NZE homes are smart single-family homes that produce or procure enough zero-carbon renewable energy to offset their annual fossil-fuel energy consumption. These homes present the U.S. real estate sector with an incremental $33 billion market opportunity by 2037, which will not only bring additional investment to the sector and create local jobs but also transform the market trajectory overall. What the Wall Street Journal Got Wrong About PACESetting the PACE for Consumer ProtectionCongress Weighs Changes to Rules on PACE LoansZero-Energy Construction is ‘Set to Explode’ The Department of Energy Chooses a Definition for Net ZeroMy Net Zero Conundrumlast_img read more