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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa
StevenSawyer Longboarding-Ian-Thurtell

Sat, 7 April 2018

SA hosts its first ever WSL Qualifying Series longboard event, and its in the kiff little town of Kowie in the Eastern Cape. Here's a rundown of the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic.

StevenSawyer Longboarder-Ian-Thurtell

EASY STEEZY: Steven Sawyer is into the semi-finals of the longboarding. Photo WSL / Thurtell

If you needed proof that the City Surf Series is a massive boost for South African surfers who want to make a career out of surfing, consider that in the men's quarter finals that were decided today at the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic presented by Quiksilver, seven out of eight are South Africans.

With solid 6-8ft swell due tomorrow, the last eight in the WSL QS Men's event are going to have their work cut out. Jordan Lawler (AUS) is the odd man out, with Slade Prestwich, Jordy Maree, Matt Pallett, Dylan Lightfoot, evergreen Greg Emslie, Davey Van Zyl, and Max Elkington still in the hunt for 1,000 QS points. In the women's, South Africans Nicole Pallet, Emma Smith and Zoë Steyn are into the semis tomorrow, with Josefina Ane (Argentina) making up the numbers.

In SA's first QS longboarding event, four Saffas will contest the semis tomorrow: Michael Hill, Steven Sawyer, Thomas King and Matthew Moir - all South Africans. In the women's longboarding two Saffas contested the final. Crystal Hulett came out winner against Marishka Myers.

Conditions so far have been an extraordinary mix. Yesterday, it was sublime for a while. Then it deteriorated into a howling gale-force buster before that dropped off into a gentle offshore. Today was super fun in the morning, with the hollow banks of Kowie delivering some sweet barrels.

EmmaSmith women-rnd-20

GUN SMITH: Emma Smith got the highest combined heat score yesterday. Photo WSL / Thurtell

Yesterday, reigning WSL Africa champion Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) produced the ride of the day, a near-perfect 9.25 but could only add a 4.35, and was pushed by eventual heat runner-up Josefina Ane from Argentina. Ane’s 12.10 point heat tally was enough to upset Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay), winner of the women’s and junior women’s events in Port Elizabeth last weekend, and the young South American in her first season on the QS is certainly an emerging talent.

Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) accumulated the highest heat total of the women’s rounds, 13.7, and East London teenager Zoe Steyn earned an excellent 8.0 for a dynamic backhand blast.

The buster threatened to blow the contest infrastructure awayThere was also a major surprise in the women’s longboard event when SA champion Christy Gilmour (Durban) was eliminated in her first heat by Marishka Myers (Jeffreys Bay). Tarryn King (Cape Town) was the top scorer in the opening round but fell to shortboard ace Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) in the semi-finals while Myers defeated newcomer Mia Baard in their semi.

The longboard men were competing when the buster threatened to blow the contest infrastructure away, but Ryan Lightfoot persevered and seamlessly combined modern and traditional moves to net a pair of seven point rides and the heat win over fellow Jeffreys Bay resident and former World No. 2 Steven Sawyer. Two of the three went through. Lightfoot then fell to Michael Hill in the semi. Sawyer was determined to compete despite the pain of stitches having recently been removed from his foot.

NicolePallett women-rnd20

PALLET-ABLE: Nicole Pallet got the highest single wave score yesterday. Photo WSL / Cestari

Thomas King produced an excellent 8.25 to claim the top single ride of the opening round and also claimed the highest heat total of 14.0, while fellow Capetonian and former two-time ISA World Champion Matthew Moir showed his class with a comfortable heat winning performance.

The QS1,000 men’s event saw longtime East London standout and WSL Championship Tour (CT) veteran Greg Emslie showed that the years have not diminished his competitive juices or his ability as he confidently progressed from his opening heat.

The Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic also hosts activities designed to foster and encourage surfing among young people, regardless of their background. These are coordinated by Surfing South Africa, the national controlling body for the sport, and run by SSA Development Officer, Danielle Powis. Live scoring, results, photos and video footage on www.WorldSurfLeague.com

Social media 

Facebook https://web.facebook.com/citysurfseriesza
Twitter @citysurfseries
Instagram @citysurfseriesza
Live scoring www.worldsurfleague/events/2018

2018 City Surf Series Event Schedule

  • Volkswagen Nelson Mandela Bay Pro Surf presented by Billabong (31 Mar – 2 April)
  • Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic presented by Quiksilver (inaugural event, 6-8 April)
  • Mitchum Buffalo City Surf Pro presented by Reef Wetsuits (13-15 April)
  • ZigZag Durban Surf Pro presented by G-Force (18-20 May)
  • Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro presented by O’Neill (14-17 June)
  • Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing presented by Hurley (19-24 June)

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