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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Fri, 18 May 2018

Fond memories of the Gunston 500 return to Durban’s North Beach today after the Zigzag Durban Surf Pro presented by G-Force was moved here at the last minute.

Brandon-Jackson IanThurtell

EARLY BIRD: Brandon Jackson enjoys the landbreeze this morning. Photo Ian Thurtell

It's been a while since the Gunston 500 graced the promenade of Durban, and organisers are calling this biggest surfing event to be held in Durban for quite some time. True to form, crisp offshores and a fun 2-3' swell was running across the famous sandbank.

“The current dredging of sand along the Durban Promenade has worked in the favour of the surfers, with organisers moving the event to North Beach literally 48 hours prior to it starting,” said multiple South African Masters surfing champion and former SA junior team coach, Tasha Mentasti.

She said North Beach was a more consistent break than New Pier after they extended the harbour wall a few years back and thanks to the pumping of sand over the last two weeks, the North Beach sandbanks were looking exceptional.

The Zigzag Durban Surf Pro presented by G-Force is the perfect event to highlight the quality of waves Durban experiences during the winter months and hopefully this will entice more international surfers to visit Durban in 2019 and beyond.


SURF CHECK: Watching the surf early this morning at new venue North Beach. Photo Thurtell

“Friday 18th May is looking like a picture perfect day and with 24 heats to get through on day 1 we will be seeing an extremely high level of surfing from the start."

Saturday & Sunday both have some onshore winds predicted but this will not deter the surfers who will be utilising the onshore winds to get the boards above the lip of the waves with crazy aerial antics and testing both themselves and their boards with this technical display of surfing,” said Mentasti.

With the addition of Surfing South Africa (SSA) men’s and women’s longboarding invitationals, a Two Star rated SUP race as well as a fun social race and a SSA CSI programme, the Zigzag Durban Surf Pro, presented by G-Force is a festival of surfing, offering something for the entire family. This World Surfing League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rated event is the fourth of six events that make up the City Surf Series.

Durban’s Davey van Zyl is the big draw card from the local Durban scene. Not only is he the highest seed in the men’s event but he also won at the first top of the City Surf Series in Nelson Mandela Bay.

BryceBurness IanThurtell1

FAMILIAR NAME: Bryce Burness smacks one off the top. Remember that name? Photo Thurtell

Current number one ranked WSL Africa women’s surfer, Nicole Pallet is the local girl for this weekend. Pallet, who is the current Skullcandy series ratings leader, reclaimed the top spot in Africa after winning at the third event in the City Surf Series in East London in April.

Hawaiian local, Zoe McDougall is the top ranked international seed in the women’s event. She is currently sitting at number 32 on the QS and she won the Pro Jnr Hawaii region title in 2017. This is her first year competing full time as a QS Women’s competitor and her goal is to qualify for the WSL Championship Tour (CT).

The City Surf Series presents a unique opportunity for South African riders to accumulate international ranking points on home shores without having to travel abroad on the flimsy local currency. The series gave last year’s runaway success, Michael February the local springboard he needed to catapult himself onto the Championship Tour (CT), reserved for an elite group of only the top 34 surfers on the planet who get to compete for the world title along with surfing royalty like John John Florence, Julian Wilson, Mick Fanning and Jordy Smith.

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