South African Underwater Hockey Federation

Rudolf Pretoruis

RSA Referee
About the Player:

Rudolf Pretorius embarked on his underwater hockey journey in 2003, a venture that began with a near-drowning experience but led to a lifelong passion. Introduced to the sport by a friend, Rudolf joined Pretoria Sub Aqua, a club that would shape his skills and instil invaluable discipline, thanks in part to the guidance of the towering figure, Oom Jan Momberg.

In 2004, Rudolf participated in his inaugural Junior Nationals, an eye-opening experience that illuminated the gap between his proficiency and the standards of a Protea player. Undeterred, he dedicated himself to improvement and encouraged others to join him in the pool. From a B-team member in 2003, he ascended to the A-team in 2004. The following year, he made his debut at Senior Nationals with the Gauteng North B side, securing a commendable 5th place.

A pivotal shift occurred in 2005 when Rudolf relocated to New York, USA, to serve as an au pair. While the lack of a nearby club hindered his playing, it was here that he formed enduring friendships within the US underwater hockey community and met coach Doug Roth. The subsequent year saw him compete in his first US Nationals and officiate matches, a testament to his growing involvement in the sport.

Over the next two years, Rudolf crisscrossed the US, playing in various states and participating in training camps with the US teams. In 2007, he settled in San Francisco, becoming a vital player for Club Puck in San Jose. The pinnacle of this period was clinching the US Nationals title alongside formidable teammates.

The year 2008 marked a return to South Africa, but the timing prevented Rudolf from representing either the USA or South Africa at the World Championships. Instead, he turned to refereeing, a role that would soon become a second calling. The 2008 Worlds not only introduced him to influential referee figures but also saw him pivot to camera work due to a debilitating ear infection.

The announcement of the 2009 Worlds in Slovenia reignited Rudolf’s competitive fire, leading to a rigorous trial process. Despite being initially positioned as a back player, he ultimately assumed a forward role and played a pivotal part in the team’s journey to the finals. Though they narrowly fell to France, they returned home with silver medals and a trove of cherished memories.

The birth of his son in 2009 prompted a temporary hiatus from underwater hockey, as family and work claimed precedence. However, Rudolf made a notable return in 2016, serving as a referee at the World Championships in Stellenbosch, South Africa. This time, he also met Tristan Reynard, an encounter that would play a significant role in future tournaments.

In the subsequent years, Rudolf’s dedication to refereeing earned him spots at various international tournaments, even in cases where he funded his own travel. His commitment to the sport culminated in being selected as part of the referee team for the 2023 World Championships on the Gold Coast of Australia. Notably, he assumed the role of Chief Referee for the Elite World Champs, a crowning achievement in his refereeing career.

With over 150 local games and 50 international matches under his belt, Rudolf Pretorius looks ahead with enthusiasm to more Championships, eager to continue leaving his mark on the world of underwater hockey.

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