Fri, 19 April 2019

South Africans are dominating the first South African event in the WSL Africa Tour - the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro, which is underway in small surf in PE, and ends tomorrow.


SUN RISING: Small onshore conditions greeted surfers at the Nelson Mandela Pro. Photo Thurtell

Day 1 yesterday kicked off with tricky two foot onshore conditions and light rain at Pollock Beach. The Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro is the second stop of a seven-event tour after the historic inaugural Senegal Surf Pro in West Africa last month.

The event features WSL Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 rated events for Men and Women and JQS1,000 events for Junior Men and Women aged 18-and-under. For the men, only two non-South Africans are in the top 16. Defending champion David Van Zyl joins Luke Thompson, Chris Frolich, Chad Du Toit, Joshe Faulkner, Simo Mkhize, Tide-Lee Ireland, Paul Sampson, Luke Slijpen, Eli Beukes, Koby Oberholzer, Jarred Veldhuis, Dylan Lightfoot, and Angelo Faulkner.

For the junior women, Zoë Steyn is looking good and is joined in the quarters by Sarah Scott, Tayla De Coning, Aimee Du Preez, Ceara Knight, Daniella Finlayson, Anastasia Venter, Kayla Nogueira, S'Nenhlanhla Makhubu, and Leila Steytler, with two spots to be determined today.

In the junior men, Luke Slijpen joins Karl Steen, Aya Gericke, Saxton Randall, Luke Thompson, Bryce Du Preez, York Van Jaarsveldt, Mitch Du Preez, Eli Beukes, Dillon Hendricks, Thomas Lindhorst, Max Elkington, Ntando Nqdala, and Angelo Faulkner.

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WAVEY DAVEY: David van Zyl pulls into a barrel in PE. Just kidding. This was Hawaii. Photo WSL

The annual tour crowns the WSL Africa regional Men’s, Women’s and Junior champions with points earned also counting towards international QS rankings for the open surfers and towards the selection of the squad to represent Africa at the World Junior Surfing Championships in December.

The Nelson Mandela Bay event is followed closely by the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic, 150km up the coast at the mouth of the Kowie River, which runs from Easter Monday to Wednesday (22-24 April). That is followed by stops in Durban (May), Lamberts Bay on the West Coast and then back to Port Elizabeth (both June) before culminating at Ballito on the KwaDukuza coast of KwaZulu-Natal in July.

David van Zyl (Glenashley), the 2018 Nelson Mandela Bay Men’s champion, will be back to defend his title, as will Junior Men’s champ Dillon Hendricks (Cape Town). However, the Women’s and Junior Women’s events will crown new champions this year as Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay), who won both titles in 2018, is currently overseas.


MAXIMUM RETURN: Angelo Faulkner from J-Bay reveled in the onshore bumps. Photo Thurtell

A solid contingent of international competitors will be participating in the first four events on the SA leg before scores of the world’s best surfers arrive for the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing in June, where the QS3,000 Women’s event is the highest rated event for females on the continent, and for the QS10,000 Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill which celebrates its 51st edition in July.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro is also the first of four events in the City Surf Series (CSS) which includes the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic, the Zigzag Durban Surf Pro and the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing. Alongside the world-class surfing action, the CSS events also embrace sustainability and transformation programs such as the Surfing South Africa Learn To Surf outreach project in collaboration with Caltex, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and Ocean Pledge.

Ocean Pledge will assist in creating ‘Blue Events,' while the NSRI will be educating members of the public, competitors, local schools and surf outreach programs about ocean safety and ocean awareness. More info, results and images will be available from www.worldsurfleague.com and on the free WSL App and the final day action will be webcast live.

2019 WSL Africa Tour schedule
March 27-30: Senegal Pro Dakar, Senegal M&W QS1,500
April 18-20: Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Port Elizabeth, M&W QS1,000 / M&W JQS1,000
April 22-24: Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic, Port Alfred, M&W QS1,000 / M&W JQS1,000
May 10-12: Zigzag Durban Surf Pro, Durban, M&W QS1,000 / M&W JQS1,000
May 31-1 Jun: Vans Surf Pro Classic, Lamberts Bay, M QS1,500 / W QS1,000 / M JQS1,000
Jun 13-17: Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing, Port Elizabeth, W QS3,000 / M QS1,000 / M&W JQS1,000
Jun 27-July 7: Ballito Pro pres. by O’Neill, Ballito M QS10,000 / W QS1,000 / M&W JQS1,000

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