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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Tue, 19 June 2018

History will be made in Port Elizabeth this weekend with the news that the women's event has been upped to a QS3,000, which makes it the biggest in Africa, and one of just five in the world.


THE FUTURE IS HERE: Pauline Ado from France will be surfing this weekend. Photo WSL / Sproule

Sponsors Volkswagen South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality have upped their support, making this a WSL first: a women’s division will take centre stage at the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing, presented by Hurley, which starts tomorrow.

With 3,000 points on offer in the World Women's QS, a top contingent of international surfers have entered. These include CT campaigner and current QS #1, Pauline Ado from France. They will surf against South Africa’s best surfers, including Bianca Buitendag and Sarah Baum.

The men’s division, a WSL QS1,500, will play second fiddle, although it has also attracted an array of international entries from Europe, North and South America, Australia, Asia and Hawaii. The top seed is Portuguese regular footer, Vasco Ribeiro, a former junior European champion, and former WSL world junior champion who is #6 on the QS. The points would boost his quest for a berth on the CT.


ACTIVE AUSSIE: Philippa Anderson of Australia is the top seed in PE. Photo WSL / Masurel

With Paige Hareb (NZL) picking up an injury, Philippa Anderson from Australia takes the top spot on the seeding list. Anderson finished 2017 in 12th on the WSL QS but has since climbed nine spots to third and will be hunting for every available point to get onto the CT.

Seeded second is Dominic Barona, an exciting and competitive surfer from Ecuador. Barona is a seven times national champion, a triple Bolivarian Games gold medalist, three times Latin American champion and two-times ISA World Championships runner-up. She is an Ecuadorian Toursim Ambassador and finished 2017 13th on the WSL QS.

Goofy footer Bianca Buitendag (Vic Bay), who finished #4 in the world in 2015 and finishing runner-up in Rio, Fiji and California that year, has dropped off the CT, finishing 2017 at number 18. Buitendag will fight tooth and nail for a win as she claws her way back to permanent full-time CT status.

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POOLING AROUND: Bianca Buitendag is hungry for a return to CT status. Photo WSL / Cestari

Sarah Baum, originally from Durban but now living in Australia, is one of South Africa’s most talented surfers. Still flying the South African flag, Baum won earlier this year in Australia and is on a mission to add this crown to her tally.

Peruvian Sofia Molanovich is a former world champion and the first Latin American to win a WSL world title (2004). She got to the semi-finals at the fifth stop of the City Surf Series in Cape Town last weekend and will be using her vast experience and skill to take podium top spot in NMB on Sunday and net 3000 world ranking points.

Also in the mix is Africa’s number one ranked surfer, Nicole Pallet from Durban, Zoe Steyn (East London), Josefina Ane (Argentina), Zoe McDougall (Hawaii) and Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay) who has five City Surf Series titles under her belt and is frothing for a sixth.

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HACKING IT: Matthew McGillivray wants to join Mikey and Jordy on the CT. Photo AVG

Jeffreys Bay surfer, Matthew McGillivray is currently ranked 10th on the WSL QS and in a favourable position to join Jordy Smith and Michael February on the CT. He is also South Africa’s top seed in the contest and keen to add the title to his QS wins earlier in the year in Israel and Lamberts Bay. Completing the Jeffreys Bay trio of contenders are Dylan Lightfoot and Joshe Faulkner.

While the men’s premier division champions will be crowned on the Saturday, the junior winners will be decided tomorrow (Wednesday 20 June). Max Elkington form Kommetjie is the top junior men’s surfer in Africa and local favourite to take the title. He surfed in the finals of the fifth stop of the City Surf Series last weekend in Cape Town and will hone in on the silverware.

Jeffreys Bay’s Dillon Hendricks has had a great year in the City Surf Series and is a contender. He won at the first stop of the series that took place at the same wave as this week’s contest, which will give him a confidence boost going into the event.SA-Open-of-Surfing-2018

NEW DAY DAWNS: The upgrade bodes well for the growing City Surf Series. Photo Thurtell

Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay) is the hands down favourite in the pro junior women’s division. She is currently the number one ranked junior surfer in Africa and has accumulated nearly double the number of points as her nearest rival, Zoë Steyn from East London. She has also won four out of five City Surf Series junior titles this year and one premier division title.

The contest venue is Pipe at Pollock Beach with a roaming option. The sixth and final stop in the City Surf Series will also feature the men’s QS1500, men’s and women’s JQS 1000 events along with Longboarding LQS men’s and women’s events and Volkswagen activations and CSI programmes.

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