Mon, 11 March 2019

African surfing is on the rise with the addition of Senegal to the WSL Qualifying Series, and the rollout of the flagship of the 2019 City Surf Series - the biggest women's QS on the continent.


RISING SHINE: The City Surf Series has streamlined its offering of events in 2019. Photo Ian Thurtell

The WSL will hold the first men and women's QS event in Dakar, Senegal later this month (March 27-31). The QS1,500 event is part of the WSL Africa tour, and according to the WSL will "offer an incredible opportunity for surfers to discover an exciting new location as well as a first time experience for locals to compete with professional athletes".

Surfing is not new to the west African country. The capital Dakar is a growing surf destination, with good waves and weather all year round.

Meanwhile, the City Surf Series has announced that its fourth out of four events - the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing presented by Hurley at Pollock Beach in Port Elizabeth from 13 to 17 June - will be a QS3,000 for women, which is quite a big deal, because it will be the biggest QS event in Africa.

The City Surf Series has aligned strongly with Nelson Mandela Bay Pro this year. The PE municipality recognises the value that surfing brings, hosting two out of the four events in the series. The first event is the Nelson Mandela Surf Pro from 18 to 20 April with the SA Open the finale. The other two events take place in Port Alfred and Durban. Cape Town and East London are no longer in the mix for the series.


AFRICAN RISING: Senegal organiser Oumar Seye lays into it on home turf. Photo WSL / Masurel

The SA Open will see the likes of former WSL Championship Tour (CT) surfer Bianca Buitendag, current WSL CT surfer Silvana Lima (Brazil) and former Women’s World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) on the entry list. To boost junior surfing, and celebrate Youth Day on 16 June 2019, WSL Junior champions will be crowned. Volkswagen has again put its name down as headline sponsor, as well as being the official vehicle brand behind the City Surf Series.

“Volkswagen People Movers, particularly the Kombi, is synonymous with the surfing in this country so for us, renewing our sponsorship with the City Surf Series for the third year made perfect sense,” said Andile Dlamini, General Manager for Group Communications. “Not only do the CSS events support our economy, the events give back to the community and environment by incorporating Learn to Surf Initiatives as well as Community Clean-the-Beach programmes, which supports our VW For Good CSI campaign.”

With the aim to further develop surfing in the leadup to the 2020 Olympic Games, as well as attract foreign athletes to our shores, each City Surf Series event will feature WSL QS internationally rated Men’s, Women’s as well as Pro Junior Men’s and Pro Junior Women’s divisions, and local SSA Longboard Men’s and Women’s divisions.

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OUTSIDE DAY: Bianca Buitendag will surf some real waves at the SA Open. Photo WSL / Cestari

oceanpledgeDirector of Sport and Recreation in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Mrs Charmaine Williams was excited: “The fact that it is the biggest Women’s WSL Qualifying Series event on the African continent ties in well within the City's strategic vision to position itself as a preferred destination to host national and international sporting events."

The series has partnered with Ocean Pledge to assist in making their events sustainable. There will be dedicated recycling zones, water stations, environmentally friendly vendors as well as educational activation areas. Ocean Pledge's Diony Lalieu said: “We supply guidelines and educational materials to event organisers, spectators and vendors, consulting in best practice when it comes to creating plastic-free events. We will have a bright gazebo up on the beach encouraging spectators and athletes to learn more about single-use plastic and encouraging responsible commitments to making small but positive changes in the form of an Ocean Pledge.”


CAPE TOWN OUT: The Jordy Smith event in Cape Town will not take place this year. Photo Thurtell

The City Surf Series also partners with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), who will run activations on ocean safety and ocean awareness. Andrew Ingram, NSRI’s Drowning Prevention Manager stated: “Sea Rescue is acutely aware that even children who can swim drown. There is an urgent need for public education regarding basic water safety and peer rescue.

“Surfers have often participated in peer rescues, probably more than any other group, because they spend so much time in the water and have a real understanding of rip currents. NSRI’s Water Safety programme looks forward to collaborating with City Surf Series to reach underprivileged youth interested in taking up this sport.”

Dedicated to uplifting and growing surf communities in all event locations, the City Surf Series gives back to the local surf community by working alongside the national controlling body of the sport – Surfing South Africa (SSA) and incorporating SSA Learn to Surf Initiatives designed to foster and encourage surfing among young people. A community Beach Clean Up forms part of each CSS event itinerary. Schedules will be posted on the City Surf Series social media platforms.

2019 City Surf Series Event Schedule

  • Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro (18-20 April) – Port Elizabeth
  • Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic (22-24 April) – Port Alfred
  • Durban Surf Pro (10-12 May) – North Beach, Durban
  • VW SA Open of Surfing presented by Hurley (13-17 June) – PE

Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/citysurfseriesza
Twitter: @citysurfseries_
Instagram: @citysurfseriesza

To enter an event, click here or contact the WSL Africa regional office 021-534 5738.

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