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Thu, 31 October 2019

South Africa's David Van Zyl just became the first international athlete to win the Vans Pro at Sunset Beach. Boks, Davey just made history. You just need to repeat a bit of yours !


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HISTORICAL LIP SERVICE: Van Zyl is the first international to win this event. Photo WSL / Heff


The surf was proper - 8-10 foot - and Van Zyl, who hails from the hollow slabs and sandbanks of Durban, ousted a 112-man field to take an incredible win. He is only the second non-Hawaii surfer to win the Vans Pro, but the first international to take the title. He beat former event winner, Sunset machine and #28 on the CT, Ezekiel Lau, into second place. Big wave style maestro Jack Robinson and top local Barron Mamiya earned third and fourth.

I just wanted to surf and get a few wavesThis is his biggest professional win, Van Zyl, and the 26-year-old was understably quite stoked: "I can't believe it, I'm so stoked, I went into the Final just so stoked to have made the Final," said Van Zyl. "I just wanted to surf and get a few waves, I wasn't really planning on winning or doing anything crazy. I just wanted to get good scores and good waves. I was a bit nervous at the start, I actually was comboed for pretty much half the heat so to come back at the end was really special."

The result rockets Davey to 83 on the QS leaderboard, a massive leap of 90 places. Sadly, he only banked 3,000 to move up to a total of 5,310 points. If it were a QS10,000, the win would have catapulted him into 21st place!

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PROPER: Sunset Beach was going off for the event with solid 10 foot sets. Photo WSL / Heff


Lau looked in command after attacking the 30-minute heat with an opening 7.67 layback hack, while Mamiya and Robinson collected decent results. Lau got a nice backup - a 6.50 for an opening turn and perfectly timed closing maneuver. Robinson caught up after a foam-faced repertoire for an 8.37 and with less than five minutes left on the clock, Mamiya increased his scoreline with a 6.27 on a set wave to back up his 6.43.

But in a win for the ages, the underdog victory was secured after Davey climbed out of a combo situation into priority to scoop a 6.67 for an aggressive, well-timed turn in the critical part of the section. He sealed it near the end of the heat when he went vertical on two turns to score an 8.00.

"All these guys are insane," Van Zyl commented of his fellow finalists. "Obviously Zeke, he's won this event before. He's so powerful and he knows this wave really well. Jack Robbo, he's a master out here, he's so good. He's not Hawaiian but he pretty much is, he just rips this wave. And Barron is probably one of three or four top guys out there, he's really good and rides small boards. So coming into that final I was just so happy to have made it and it's just really special."

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THE FIRST 10: Jack Robinson got a perfect 10 for this deep barrel in Round 4. Photo WSL / Heff


Van Zyl is staying on the North Shore for two months with friend and countryman Benji Brand, who earned the event's first perfect 10-point ride (Robinson earned the second and last in Round 4), and is looking to gain experience at Pipeline, Sunset and Haleiwa.

Runner-up Lau had a marathon five-heat day but stayed composed and strong. With multiple wins at Sunset Beach (2018 and 2013 at the Vans World Cup, 2011 at the Vans Pro and 2013 at the Pro Junior) he was the man to beat. He is in his third consecutive year on the Championship Tour (CT), where his 28th ranking suggests a needs a strong finish this season to secure a spot next year. He is #48 on the QS.

"It's been a long year for me and I haven't found that much luck on the road so to come home and go straight into the first event and be in the final, that's huge for me, for how I'm feeling and my momentum," Lau continued. "I just want to carry this on and keep going through the whole Vans Triple Crown. I'm looking at clinching that Triple Crown for Sunny (Garcia) this year, I want to bring that trophy home to him."

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LAU LIP LOOK: Ezekiel Lau is huge name to take down on his home surf. Photo WSL / Chlala


A legendary athlete at Sunset Beach, Sunny Garcia was honored during the Vans Pro awards presentation as the most successful Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Champion in history, with an unprecedented six titles to his name.

The North Shore season now heads into the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, three iconic and defining surf contests that are the cultural epicenter of surfing from November 13 - December 20: The Hawaiian Pro QS10,000 event at Haleiwa Ali'i Beach, the Vans World Cup of Surfing and the jewel in the crown, the Billabong Pipeline Masters.

This heritage surf series celebrates the sport's historic past and redefines where its future is headed. From skaters to surfers, shapers to photographers, artists to industry notables, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is where careers are made, where legends are solidified, and where the next generation tests their talent against the old guard in the mecca of surfing - the North Shore of Oahu.

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PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN: Now we just need the Boks to win the world cup on Saturday.


 

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