Saffa Seesaw


Fri, 22 November 2019

Jordy Smith is out of the Hawaiian Pro to nurse sore ribs as a precaution for Pipe, but the big news is that Matt McGillivray is on the cusp of CT qualification writes Spike.

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ON A MISSION: Kelly Slater has never won here, and is zeroing in on it. Photo WSL / Heff

jordy-ribsMcGillivray is virtually assured a spot in 2020 on surfing's biggest stage if he makes the final tonight.

Beyrick de Vries is the other Saffa through to the quarter-finals, and a win would suddenly propel him into contention too, although still with work to do.

Epic long period swell filled in yesterday evening and this morning ZA time, with broken boards and big wipeouts in 10-15ft Haleiwa. WSL claimed it to be the best swell in 10 years. It was a dramatic day of surfing that saw Smith withdraw because of injury, and huge results opening the door for some athletes to make the 2020 Championship Tour.

"Thanks for all the messages wishing me well. Hurt my ribs surfing yesterday," said Smith on Facebook. "It's really not that bad. Just landed funny and woke up a bit tender so I decided to pull out of Haleiwa. Its a goal of mine to win the Triple Crown but my focus this year is Pipeline - just going to let the ribs heal up and see how I feel for Sunset."

The South African contingent started the day strong with McGillivray, David Van Zyl, Dylan Lightfoot and De Vries all moving into Round 4, with De Vries and McGillivray not only surviving Round 4, but winning their four-man heats against top oposition to get into the quarter-finals.

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STYLE MAESTRO: Mikey Feb bowed out of the event despite a stylish display. Photo WSL / Heff

Michael February (ZAF) bowed out in the first heat yesterday against two-time Vans Triple Crown Champion Slater in Round 3 after a stylish performance and the second highest wave of the heat, a 6.50. Later, in Round 4, Slater narrowly dodged elimination after hammering a critical section on a 15 foot wave face to overtake Jacob Willcox (AUS) by less than half a point.

Slater ended the heat with the one-manoeuvre ride and waited on the beach as judges deliberated for his final result. To the applause of beach fans, he earned a 6.93 to advance into the Quarterfinals behind Luel Felipe (BRA).

Currently #14 on the QS with 14,240 points, McGillivary finds himself in similar qualification contention (top 10 go through with other wildcard permutations) as Barron Mamiya (HAW), who topped his Round 3 heat with a brilliant 9.60, and then won his Round 4 heat over Michel Bourez (FRA), Jadson Andre (BRA), and Billy Kemper (HAW) to advance to the quarters.

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INTO THE QUARTERS: Beyrick de Vries tore up Haleiwa to advance to finals day. Photo WSL / Heff

“I’m so stoked, to be able to make both my heats and to be in Finals day tomorrow is incredible,” said McGillivray. “It’s such a huge opportunity for me, I’m stoked to be here, stoked to be surfing another heat out at Haleiwa.”

An all-time West swell at Haleiwa Ali’i Beach made for staggering surf "arguably the best conditions competition has seen in ten years. Wave heights pushed 20ft+ for Day 4 of the WSL Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 event to set the stage for finals day at the first gem of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing", which is likely to run tonight ZA time. There are only two days left in the window, and although stiff easterly offshore trades are forecast, the swell should still be pumping in the eight foot range.

Felipe, a regular-footer from Porto de Galinhas, Brazil, is a QS veteran and his win in Round 4 over Slater puts him in the qualification conversation after reaching the quarters.

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INTO THE QUARTERS: JBay local Matt McGillivray flourished in the chunky surf. Photo WSL / Heff

With only seven heats left in the 2019 Hawaiian Pro, a winner will be crowned the next time competition is called back on and a Vans Triple Crown title frontrunner will emerge ahead of the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach.

The Vans Triple Crown has been running for 37 consecutive years on Oahu's North Shore and determines the best competitive surfer at three defining and world-class waves: Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline. The Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa Ali'i Beach has a holding window from November 13-24 and will see a winner emerge to take the lead on the VTCS rankings. The second stop of the series is the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach from November 25 to December 7, and the final event is the Billabong Pipe Masters at Banzai Pipeline from December 8-20.

Witness the action LIVE via state-of-the-art broadcast on,, and on the free WSL app.

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