Tue, 23 April 2019

Joshe Faulkner and Minami Nonaka clinched the Nelson Mandela Surf Pro on Sunday, with Nonaka completing a rare double - the women's and junior women's titles.

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THREE FOR FOUR: Joshe Faulkner, Minami Nonaka and Eli Beukes celebrate. Photo WSL / Thurtell

An indication of the rising power of Japan in surfing before next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Women’s event was an all Japanese affair for the first time in a QS event outside their home country. Nonaka, who won the Cape Town Surf Pro in the Mother City last year, also took out the Junior Women’s event while Eli Beukes (ZAF, Kommetjie) was crowned the Junior Men’s champion.

The final day‘s action was held in solid head high waves and gusty offshore winds at Pollock Beach in Port Elizabeth. The Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro, Stop No. 2 on the WSL Africa Tour, comprised Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 rated events for Men and Women and JQS 1,000 events for Junior Men and Women aged 18-and-under.

Despite Faulkner’s (ZAF, Jeffreys Bay) good start to the men’s final, the result was in the balance until the last ride when Australian teenager Dylan Moffat had a chance to grab victory, but the wave closed out and he couldn’t get the 7.15 point score he needed for victory and had to settle for third place.

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TOP OF HER GAME: Nonako surfed in an historic all-Japanse final, a record. Photo WSL / Thurtell

Faulkner, who chose to sit away from the other three finalists, steadily built his lead throughout the 30 minute encounter, adding a 6.40 to the 6.75 he had secured earlier for a title-winning total of 13.15 out of 20.

"This is the best thing ever," said an emotional Faulkner on the podium. "Throughout the years I sometimes make the semis and then the next event I get knocked out in the first round, so I am super-stoked to have my first QS win under the belt."

Durbanite Chad Du Toit, the only finalist over the age of 20, forced his way into contention with the best ride of the final, for which he earned an excellent 8.25 and briefly took the lead, but he couldn’t find another good second score and ended runner-up. Koby Oberholzer (ZAF, Warner Beach) appeared to peak in the semis and could only muster a pair of threes and finished fourth overall.

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BEUKES BOOST: Eli ramps off a Pollock Beach platform enroute to victory. Photo WSL / Thurtell

Nonaka was in a class of her own in the final, opening her account with an excellent 8.0 and then waiting patiently for the best waves while her three rivals chased anything that broke throughout the lineup. She sealed it with a 7.25 on the final ride of the heat.

Julie Nishimoto, who also reached the final of the Junior Women’s event, clawed her way into contention to grab second place while Ren Hashimoto, who had earned the highest score of the entire event, a near perfect 9.65, on the opening day, started the final slowly and had to settle for third spot with Shino Matsuda was a distant fourth.

Eli Beukes (ZAF, Kommetjie) captured the hotly contested Junior Men’s crown with a dominant performance from start to finish. Two good rides put the Kommetjie local into the lead and he then dropped a 9.0 that left his peers scratching for second.

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PIPE PADDLE: Is the reason it is named The Pipe due to the wave? Photo WSL / Thurtell

Durban’s Luke Thompson came closest, completing a couple of powerful rail turns followed by an innovative tail reverse on his last ride that impressed the judges sufficiently to award him 7.75 which was enough for the runner-up berth. Fellow Durbanite Karl Steen and surprise finalist Ntando Nqdala (ZAF, Muizenberg), who is shining example of the great work being done by the Rising Stars surf outreach programme in Cape Town, were left needing to replace both scores when the final ended.

Nonaka reigned supreme in the Junior Women’s final, compiling a heat total of 12.95 despite a much improved Ceara Knight (ZAF, Kommetjie) flying the flag for the South African contingent with a pair of good rides that were rewarded with a well merited runner-up berth. Julia Camargo (BRA) took third place and Julie Nishimoto (JPN) finished fourth in the first of her two finals on the day.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro doubles as the first of four events in the City Surf Series (CSS) which, alongside the world-class surfing action, also embrace sustainability and transformation programs such as the Surfing South Africa Learn To Surf outreach project in collaboration with Caltex, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and Ocean Pledge, who assist in creating ‘Blue Events’, while the NSRI will be educating members of the public, competitors, local schools and surf outreach programs about ocean safety and ocean awareness.

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TOP TURN: Koby Oberholzer smacks the top off a chunky Kowie section. Photo WSL / Thurtell

Stop No. 3 on the WSL Africa Tour, and No. 2 on the CSS, is the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic, which started yesterday and runs until tomorrow Wednesday 24 April at East Beach in Port Alfred. The contest will feature QS1,000 rated events for Men and Women and JQS1,000 events for Junior Men and Women.

Seasoned South African pro surfer Beyrick de Vries put on a clinic in the pumping, overhead waves at Kowie yesterday, racking up a 17.50. The uMhlanga based 26-year-old has been one of the country’s highest placed surfers on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rankings since he was a teenager.

De Vries left his three opponents in a combination situation and needing to improve on both their counting scores to overtake him as he advanced to the quarter-finals. He was joined by heat runner-up Bryce du Preez (East London).whose heat tally of 12.75 out of 20 would have been enough to win any of the other seven heats in Round 2.

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TURN FOR THE BETTER: Nonako at it again in cooking Kowie. Photo WSL / Thurtell

The Women’s QS1,000 rated event was again dominated by the contingent of Japanese girls who filled all four places in the final in PE this past weekend. Minami Nonaka, who won both the Women’s and Junior Women’s events, was once more the standout, surfing fast and fluidly to earn an 8.0 and a heat total of 12.45, the highest of the Round.

Organisers are anticipating a strong onshore (Easterly) wind and large waves today and will meet at 7 am at Eastern Beach in Port Alfred to decide on when to get the contest underway, and what events to run. The schedule includes quarter-finals for Men and Women, and for Junior Men and Women aged 18-and-under.

Full results, news, images and video footage from the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro visit www.worldsurfleague.com

Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Men’s Final
1. Joshe Faulkner (ZAF, Jeffreys Bay) 13.15 points
2. Chad du Toit (Durban) 12.50
3. Dylan Moffat (AUS) 9.85
4. Koby Oberholzer (ZAF, Warner Beach) 7.20

Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Women’s Final
1. Minami Nonaka (JPN) 15.25 points
2. Julie Nishimoto (JPN) 11.50
3. Ren Hashimoto (JPN) 10.15
4. Shino Matsuda (JPN) 8.25

Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Junior Men’s Final
1. Eli Beukes (ZAF, Kommetjie) 15.0 points
2. Luke Thompson (ZAF, Durban) 14.25
3. Karl Steen (ZAF, Durban) 8.25
4. Ntando Nqdala (ZAF, Muizenberg) 6.15

Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Junior Women’s Final
1. Minami Nonaka (JPN) 12,95 points
2. Ceara Knight (ZAF, Kommetjie) 12.10
2. Julia Camargo (BRA) 8.75
3. Julie Nishimoto (JPN) 7.25

WSL Africa Rankings (After Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro)
1. Faulkner, Joshe Jeffreys Bay 1000 points
2. Lightfoot, Dylan Jeffreys Bay 840
3. Du Toit, Chad Durban 750
4. Maree, Jordan Kalk Bay 560
5. Oberholzer, Koby Warner Beach 525

1. Hogg, Teal Shakas Rock 620 points
2. Hoffman, Tanika Cape Town 580
3. Makhubu, S'nenhlanhla Durban 485
4. Bell, Sophie Salt Rock 400
5. McGillivray, Kirsty J effreys Bay 395

WSL Africa Junior Rankings (After event #1 – Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro)
Junior Men:
1. Beukes, Eli Kommetjie 1000 points
2. Steen, Karl Durban 750
3. Thompson, Luke Durban 560
4. Nqdala, Ntando Muizenberg 525

Junior Women
1. Knight, Ceara Kommetjie 750 points
=2. Nogueira, Kayla uMhlanga 420
=2. Steyn, Zoe East London 420
=4. Scott, Sarah Kommetjie 395
=4. Venter, Anastasia Melkbosstrand 395

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