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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Sat, 11 June 2016

Steve Sawyer has won a berth into the World Surf League JBay Open after a blistering performance at the JBU Supertrial presented by RVCA in cranking Supertubes in JBay.

Supertrial AlanvanGysen-winners

FINALISTS: Sawyer, with Dale Staples, Dylan Lightfoot & Shaun Holmes on podium. Pic AVG

Sawyer, who is the son of popular local JBay shaper Des, won the SA longboarding championships earlier this year, and is a renowned musician, with an album out.

The swell had jacked perfectly for the event, with cooking double overhead walls, much to the relief of organisers who were eyeing the storm behind the swell with some trepidation as the models bounced around from one verdict to another as each model run morphed into another. for a change, the storm winds upgraded and the swell filled in beautifully overnight Friday, with Saturday dawning brisk and feathering 4-6' in crisp offshore and freezing beanie-wearing JBay winter conditions.

The 24 invited surfers were blessed with consistent and perfect Supers waves all day. There were long tube rides, and some powerful rail surfing from some of the best JBay surfers in the country, but it was the local who emerged victorious. Sawyer, the only goofy-footer in the final, was trailing in second place behind Dale Staples, when he picked up a long wave near the end of the heat. Performing some big turns on the open face, and getting a tube-ride, he secured the score that he needed to win.

Supertrial AlanvanGysen-winners

STYLE MAESTRO: Sawyer combined rail to rail power with fluid style. Pic AVG

The first semi was won by Dale Staples, who won every heat he surfed until the final. Staples and Sawyer went through, while Slade Prestwich and Ryan Payne lost out. In the second semi, Holmes took the win, with Dylan Lightfoot joining him in the finals, while Matt McGillivray and Davey van Zyl lost out.

Waves were pouring through by the time the finals took place at around 3pm, with the offshore easing slightly. Sawyer was on top form, with his languid style, which flows into some explosive moves, providing judges with plenty to score about.

“I had no idea that I had won,” said an elated Sawyer on the beach immediately after the final. “I didn’t think I had the lead, but I am so stoked. I have wanted to surf in the JBay Open since I was a little kid and now I get my chance.”


WHO ME?: Sawyer exits after winning, oh about 120 grand (JBay Open minimum). Photo AVG

Sawyer, who had a slow start in the final, admitted that he didn’t win the final with his best performance. “Well, I didn’t win by posting nines,” said Sawyer, “I didn’t do that much out there, but did enough to win. I have never been so happy to win an event.”

Dale Staples was in the lead for much of the final, but couldn’t hold at the end, succumbing to Sawyer’s late charge, and ended in second place. The 2014 JBU Supertrial winner Dylan Lightfoot was in third place, and Sean Holmes was in fourth.

Holmes, one of the most successful wildcards at JBay suffered a big wipeout in the beginning of the final that rattled him a little. Holmes went for broke on a big set wave, and came unstuck at the top, falling through the air and barely missing his board. “I really got thrashed out there,” said Holmes afterwards. “My vest got pulled right off me, and I was totally winded.”

The most prestigious invite-only event in the country, the JBU Supertrial presented by RVCA gives the winner an immediate slot into the main event of the World Surf League's JBay Open Championship Tour contest, to be held in July. The prerequisite for the Supertrial is that invitees must have a good track record surfing Supers.


BARREL BRU: Mixing it up with the traditional moves. Like longboarding really. Photo AVG

1 Steve Sawyer 2 Dale Staples 3 Dylan Lightfoot 4 Shaun Holmes

Heat 1: 1 Dale Staples, 2 Steve Sawyer, 3 Ryan Payne, 4 Slade Prestwich
Heat 2: 1 Sean Holmes, 2 Dylan Lightfoot, 3 Matt McGillivray, 4 Davey Van Zyl

Heat 1: 1 Steven Sawyer, 2 Slade Prestwich, 3 Greg Emslie, 4 Beyrick de Vries.
Heat 2: 1 Dale Staples, 2 Ryan Payne, 3 Dan Redman, 4 Remi Peterson.
Heat 3: 1 Sean Holmes, 2 Dylan Lightfoot, 3 Matt Bromley, 4 Shaun Payne.
Heat 4: 1 Dave van Zyl, 2 Matt McGillivray, 3 Mikey February, 4 Simon Fish.

Best Wave: Davey Van Zyl (DBN)
Best Barrel: Remi Peterson (JBay)
Best Carve: Sean Holmes (CT)
Toilet Award: Calvin Goor (DBN)


SINGING ALONG: Another barrel. Another angle. Same song sheet. Photo Grant Scholtz


GIVING IT LIP: Shaun Holmes is always a standout at Supers. Photo AVG


SUPERS TUNE: Steve Sawyer was imperious in cranking Supers. Photo Grant Scholtz

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