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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Mon, 9 April 2018

History was busting out all over the show in Kowie this weekend, culminating in the biggest wins in their pro surfing careers for SA's Jordy Maree and Argentine Josefina Ane.


KOWIE RIVER MOUTH: This was the first WSL event here since the 90s. Photo WSL / Thurtell

After the first QS longboarding event to be held in Africa, won by veteran two-time ISA World Longboard Champion Matthew Moir, Maree and Ane clinched the men’s and women’s titles at the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic presented by Quiksilver.

The inaugural event, a WSL QS1,000 and the second stop on the 2018 WSL Africa Tour, enjoyed cranking waves at East Pier in Port Alfred, bringing WSL competition back to Kowie for the first time since the 1990’s.

Moir celebrated his first victory in a WSL rated event by defeating former WSL #2 Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) in a high performance final. On a day when goofy-foots dominated (all six spots in all three finals), Jody Maree led the charge with an outstanding win over red hot Australian Jordan Lawler.

MathewMoir Longboard0

HANGING IN: This was the first QS longboard event ever held in Africa. Photo WSL / Thurtell

Maree opened his final with two massive backhand turns followed by a close-out re-entry to earn 7.25 - ultimately the highest score of the heat. He continued to build with mid-range scores, but Lawler blasted back with a 6.0 and took the lead with a 6.90 with seven minutes on the clock.

Holding his nerves and using the priority system intelligently, Maree waited for a wave that peeled down the sandbar and hooked into two huge backhand blasts that were rewarded with a 6.45 to regain the lead. Needing a 6.81 with just two minutes remaining, Lawler went for broke on a high flying aerial manoeuvre but couldn’t land it and Maree claimed the win.

“I’m really happy to win my first QS event and want to thank all the people that made the event possible,” said Maree on the podium. “I also want to thank all those who have supported me – my coach, my sponsors, my family and my girlfriend. Thank you so much for helping me get this win.”

JordyMaree Mens-Winner2

BACK ATTACK: Goofy footers dominated with all six surfers in three finals. Photo WSL / Thurtell

Maree was very fortunate to advance from his first heat in the event when he was penalised for a priority interference but managed to progress with a single ride score of 6.75. On finals day he outpointed established QS surfer Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) in the semis and scored a narrow win over another seasoned traveler in Slade Prestwich (Durban) in the quarters.

His victory earned Maree R12,000 and 1,000 points on the QS and regional rankings which sees him jump to the top of the WSL Africa leaderboard (combined with his 560 points for 3rd in PE last week).

Lawler eliminated Cape Town junior Max Elkington (Kommetjie) in the quarters and then delivered the only perfect 10 point ride of the event in his semi-final win over Greg Emslie (East London), one of South Africa’s most celebrated surf stars. The Australian had already posted an excellent 8.0 score and finished with a heat tally of 18.0, the highest in the entire men’s event.

JosefinaAna WomensWinner0

ARGENTINE ANE: Josefina Ane was fresh from a runners up at home. Photo WSL / Thurtell

Josefina Ane arrived fresh off a career-best runner-up finish in a QS1,000 event in her hometown of Mar del Plata. The 19-year-old was elated to secure her first title by defeating 14-year-old standout Zoe Steyn (East London) yesterday. Steyn usually competes in the junior events but was unfazed by older opponents. She ousted women’s longboard winner Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) in their quarter-final and reached the final by eliminating Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) in the semis.

The result saw the youngster leapfrog into joint first place on the WSL Africa women’s rankings after two events.

The highest QS ranked woman in the event at #56, Argentinean Ane ousted reigning WSL Africa Junior and QS champions Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) and Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) in the quarters and semis respectively. In the finals, she selected great waves and used her exciting backhand attack to build what became an insurmountable 13.75 point total that her younger rival could not match.

The introduction of Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) events to the WSL Africa schedule added a new dimension to the contest and the performances by the top men and women suggests a hotbed of talent in SA. The highest heat total of the event – a near perfect 18.50 – was delivered by Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) in his semi-final win over Michael Hill.

CrystalHullett Longboard

CRYSTAL VOYAGER: Winner of the women's longboarding, Crystal Hullet. Photo WSL / Thurtell

Moir has been at the top of the worldwide longboard scene for two decades and put on a master class to capture the LQS men’s title by defeating Sawyer by 15.25 vs. 13.90 in a pulsating final that saw both men effortlessly combine traditional and new school manoeuvres on their nine foot longboards.

“It’s amazing that the sponsors let longboarding be part of a shortboard contest,” said Moir. “It is also so good that the World Surf League recognises longboarding again in South Africa. The contest was extremely well and I’m just stoked to win it.”

The final of the LQS1,000 women’s event was run on Saturday with Crystal Hulett taking the win over Marishka Myers (Jeffreys Bay).

The event also hosted activities designed to foster and encourage surfing among young people, regardless of their background. These were coordinated by Surfing South Africa, the national controlling body for the sport, and run by SSA Development Officer, Danielle Powis.

Men’s Final
 1. Jordy Maree (Cape Town) 13.70
2. Jordan Lawler (Australia) 12.90

Men’s semis
 SF1: Jordy Maree (Cape Town) 14.40 def. Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) 13.25
SF2: Jordan Lawler (Australia) 18.00 def. Greg Emslie (East London) 12.50

Women’s Final
 1. Josefina Ane (Argentina) 13.75
2. Zoe Steyn (East London) 7.50

Women’s semis
 SF1: Josefina Ane (Argentina) 11.25 def. Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) 3.70
SF2: Zoe Steyn (East London) 9.75 def. Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) 5.05

Men’s Longboard Final
 1. Matthew Moir (Cape Town) 15.25
2. Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) 13.90

Men’s Longboard semis
 SF1: Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) 18.50 def. Michael Hill 14.50
SF2: Matthew Moir (Cape Town) 17.85 def. Thomas King (Cape Town) 11.75

Women’s Longboard Final
 1. Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) 11.25
2. Marishka Myers (Jeffreys Bay) 9.50

Women’s Longboard semis
 SF1: Marishka Myers (Jeffreys Bay) 10.0 def. Mia Baard 4.15
SF2: Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) 10.75 def. Tarryn King (Cape Town) 9.25

WSL Africa – Men’s QS Rankings
 1 Maree, Jordan (Cape Town) 1560
2 Van Zyl, David (Glenashley) 1420
3 Masencamp, Adin (Strand) 1050
4 Lightfoot,Dylan (Jeffreys Bay) 980
5 Kidd,Richard (Ballito) 745

WSL Africa – Women’s QS Rankings
 1 Pallet, Nicole (La Lucia) 1310
1 Steyn, Zoe (East London) 1310
3 Woolf, Kai (Jeffreys Bay) 1300
4 Smith, Emma (Jeffreys Bay) 955
5 Hogg, Teal (uMhlanga) 860

2018 WSL Africa Schedule of Events
 Completed: Volkswagen Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro pres. by Billabong
Completed: Royal St Andrews Port Alfred Classic pres. by Quiksilver
Apr 13-15: Mitchum Buffalo City Surf Pro pres. by Reef Wetsuits
May 18-20: ZigZag Durban Surf Pro pres. by G-Force Surfboards
Jun 1-3: Lamberts Bay Vans Surf Pro Classic
Jun 14-17: Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro pres. by O'Neill
Jun 19-24: Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres. by Hurley
Jun 22-24: Ballito Billabong Junior Series #1
Jun 25-1 Jul: Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong
Aug 29-2 Sep: Senegal Pro (Tentative)
Sep 4-9: Casablanca Anfaplace Pro Casablanca
Sep 27-30: Cape St Francis Billabong Junior Series #2
Jan 1-31: Cell C Good Wave

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