On the Charge!


Thu, 28 November 2019

The Saffas are charging hard at Sunset Beach in the Vans World Cup as a fresh west swell filled in for Jordy Maree and Beyrick de Vries who earned berths in Round 3 earlier today.

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WILL COAX: Jacob Wilcox carves a big line and blasts a big move off the lip. Photo WSL / Heff

Matt McGillivray, who is on the cusp of qualification for the WSL Championship Tour 2020, will join them in his bid to prompt an official announcement. Mikey February, who earned a wildcard through Vans, will also surf in Round 3, making for a strong South African contingent of four surfers.

But we have a ways to go considering how many other countries have in the Round of 64: Australia (15), Brazi (14), Hawaii (11), and France (7) although the US only has five, not counting the Hawaiians. The finale of the QS season is a biggie worth 10,000 points and the second gem of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. One of the most feared athletes in the draw, Jack Robinson (AUS), confirmed he belongs among the best by achieving the highest heat total of the event, a 16.07 in Round 2 Heat 9, in the clean 6-8ft surf.

With powerful frontside surfing and stylish bottom turns, Robinson hammered an 8.67 for a power act and took the heat win from Charly Martin (FRA), who also advanced in second. After losing early in the first gem of the Vans Triple Crown – the Hawaiian Pro – Robinson hopes to put that result behind him and continue his journey to the 2020 Championship Tour (CT) with a massive victory at the big-wave venue.


SUNSET LINES: A birds eye view of the lineup at Sunset Beach. Photo WSL / Heff

Sitting #22 on the QS, Robinson would need a win to be at the 23,000 points cut off, which is the new unofficial benchmark for CT qualification. With a supernatural knack for big, powerful surf, thanks to growing up in Western Australia’s Margaret River, this is not outside of the question for the confident surfer. With two wins at Sunset and four final appearances, Robinson is on a roll on the North Shore after a victory earlier this year at the Volcom Pipe Pro.

Heavy upsets peppered the competition as top QS contenders fell out of the draw, their qualification hopes wrecked for 2020. Jake Marshall (USA) entered the event in the No. 9 position on the QS but fell victim to a freak wave-starved Heat 3 that saw him tally only one ride, a 4.00. Hawaiian Josh Moniz (HAW) also missed out on advancement in Heat 3 while Sunset champion Billy Kemper (HAW) and alternate Joaquin Del Castillo (PER) earned the nod into the next round.

Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) performed well under pressure and committed to the peak after paddling into position to earn a 7.50 and 6.83 for the heat win. The Frenchman sits in the No. 11 spot on the QS and has had this matchup on his mind for weeks, especially since he didn’t get the result he was hoping for at the Vans Pro Men’s QS 3,000 last month (49th).

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KA-BOOM! A huge off-the-top move by American Nolan Rapoza. Photo WSL / Keoki

After coming agoniSingly close to qualification in 2018, Couzinet arrived early to Hawaii to warm up for the season. During a solid west swell in October, he was caught between the West Peak at Sunset and the Boneyard section further north on a freesurf session and came close to drowning after a two-wave hold-down.

Costa Rican QS veteran Carlos Munoz (CRI) has been covertly collecting heat wins over the course of his professional surf career. However, even an experienced competitor still feels the nervous energy as they come face to face with the chance of securing their dream of CT qualification.

True to form, Sunset Beach plays no favoUrites and has a way of making and crushing dreams all within the same set of waves. Painfully close to qualification at No. 12 on the QS, Samuel Pupo (BRA) fell victim to the elements and couldn’t secure advancement out of his Round 2 heat after scoring a two-wave total of 9.40, just .20 points behind fellow Brazillian Alejo Muniz (BRA). A nail biter of a heat, multiple waves were ridden at the very end, which kept athletes waiting on the sand for results. With priority during the final sets of the heat, Samuel caught a wave with less than 30 seconds left but fell on his last turn at Vals Reef and came just short of the score needed to advance.

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WAY TO GO: Jordy Maree sets up the section on a meaty Sunset chunk. Photo WSL / Heff

The drama continued throughout the last heat of the day as former CT athlete Nat Young (USA) surfed for his career and earned an 11.97 combined heat total with his venomous backhand. The Santa Cruz, California native needs a first or second place to be at the unofficial points cut-off for the 2020 CT and sitting at No. 18 on the QS, this would be a massive, albeit obtainable, leap. Separating himself from the pack, Young had a heavy punch that earned him a 6.07 and 5.90 to move into first, proving why he belongs on the CT and moving one step closer to qualification with radical fin blasts through the lip.

Contest organizers are eyeing the new N swell anticipated to build Saturday and peak on Sunday with waves in the 8-12ft range. The Vans World Cup will not run today due to Thanksgiving.

Witness the action LIVE via state-of-the-art broadcast on www.WorldSurfLeague.com , www.VansTripleCrownOfSurfing.com, www.Facebook.com/wsllive and on the free WSL app.

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