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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa
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Mon, 19 June 2017

South Americans, and a Hawaiian, were the first names on the inaugural John Whitmore trophy after the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing presented by Hurley in Durban yesterday.


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Ribbing: Alex Riberio won the inaugural VW Open of Surfing. Photo WSL / Thurtell


South Americans were the dominant force, mostly from Brazil. The WSL Qualifying Series 3,000 rated event attracted a huge international field of surfers who possibly saw the cheap cost of living and beach breaks similar to Brazil as key attractions, along with the chance to nail some more points in the 10,000 rated Ballito event coming up.

Alex Ribeiro, 28, defeated fellow Brazilian and good friend Hizunome Bettero in the action-packed final held in Brazilian-like conditions - 3ft onshore waves. South Americans dominated the final day with 10 advancing to the last 16, six to the last eight and all of the top four coming from the either Brazil or Peru.

Hawaiian teenager Zoe McDougall was crowned Women's Champion at the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres. by Hurley at Dairy Beach in Durban on Saturday, winning the closely fought final held in contestable shoulder-high waves.

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2 X ZOE: Zoe McDougall pulled off a rare double. Photo WSL / Thurtell


McDougall, who also won the junior women's title on Friday, completed a rare World Surf League double triumph by securing back-to-back victories at the same event, an honour that will be recorded for posterity on the inaugural John Whitmore Cup. Mateus Herdy from Brazil took the junior men's.

In the men's event, Ribeiro was chaired from the water’s edge to the awards area by an ecstatic group of Brazilian Storm peers. “I’m stoked to win here and share the final with my friend Hizunome.”

Ribeiro is determined to re-qualify for the elite tour, where he was last year. “The points are great here. Now I will be focusing on the super important Ballito and Japan events and hopefully get a win there also,” he commented.

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ZEBRA STRIPES: Mikey Feb was unable to keep up his momentum of late. Riberio Photo WSL / Thurtell


“It’s great to start the first competition in South Africa like this. Now I have a lot of time to visit some other places in SA and I know there are some good waves here,” said Bettero. “This was a really important result for me and will give me more confidence for the next competitions like the big event coming up at Ballito. Congrats to Alex and thanks for everyone who organised this comp.”

Ribeiro will have his name engraved on the brand new John Whitmore Cup along with junior champions Mateus Herdy of Brazil and Zoe McDougall of Hawaii who were crowned on Friday (Youth Day). McDougall’s name will appear twice as she also won the QS1,000 women’s event on Saturday.

The trophy is named to honour the immense contribution to the development and growth of the sport in the 1950’, ‘60’s and early ‘70’s by the late surfing pioneer and administrator who was referred to as the ‘Doyen’ of South African surfing.

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Small Beachbreaks: Just like Brazil. Photo WSL / Thurtell


Whitmore’s association with Volkswagen saw him own the first Kombi made in South Africa and fittingly the trophy was presented to Ribeiro by his daughter Chele, alongside Nico Fourie from Volkswagen and Ockie Fourie from Hurley

Five WSL Africa members reached the last 32 but none advanced beyond that round. Beyrick de Vries, the country’s highest ranked QS surfer for the past three years, said “From a personal side, I’m not really pleased with my results, but for Durban it’s a big win, and the growth in the number of internationally rated events here is awesome."

An outreach programme was conducted at the event by Surfing South Africa (SSA) with the initiative involving twenty four surfers from Trafalgar on the KZN South Coast who recently lost all their equipment when their storage hut was set alight by arsonists.

They were joined by surfers from the Sisonke Surf Club in a Tag Team contest. Eight teams competed in two semis and a final with the top four teams awarded gold, silver, bronze and copper medals.

All the results and news from the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres. by Hurley can be found on www.worldsurfleague.com and on the WSL App.

The Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing is proudly supported by Hurley, Tsogo Sun, Durban Tourism, Skullcandy, El Jimador, Yesman, California Dreaming, World Surf League, Surfing South Africa and Accelerate Sport.

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CUP OVERFLOWS: The inaugural John Whitmore Cup on display. Photo WSL / Thurtell


Men’s Final Results
1. Alex Ribeiro (Brazil) 15.67 US $12,000 3,000 pts
2. Hizunome Bettero (Brazil) 11.57 US $6,000 2,250 pts

Men’s Semifinal Results
SSF1: Alex Ribeiro (Brazil) 17.37 def. Victor Bernardo (Brazil) 16.23
SF2: Hizunome Bettero (Brazil) 14.80 def. Miguel Tudela (Peru) 13.60

Women’s Final Results
1. Zoe McDougall (Hawaii) 12.74 R8,000 1,000 pts
2. Lucy Callister (Australia) 11.60 R4,000 750 pts
3. Sophia Fulton (Australia) 11.54 R2,500 560 pts
4. Ariane Ochoa (Basque) 9.47 R2,000 525 pts

Women’s Semifinal Results
SF1: Zoe McDougall (Hawaii) 15.84, Sophia Fulton (Australia) 12.13, Peony Knight (Great Britain) 7.36, Nagisa Tashiro (Japan) 6.26
SF2: Ariane Ochoa (Basque) 14.34, Lucy Callister (Australia) 10.50, Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) 8.27, Reika Noro (Japan) 7.20

Junior Men’s JQS1,000 Final Results
1. Mateus Herdy (Brazil) 15.17 R8,000 1,000 pts
2. Lucas Vicente (Brazil) 13.00 R4,000 750 pts
3. Ford van Jaarsveldt (Kommetjie) 5.96 R2,500 560 pts
4. Adin Masencamp (Strand) 4.94 R2,000 525 pts

Junior Women’s JQS1,000 Final Results
1. Zoe McDougall (HAW) 15.16 R4,000 1,000 pts
2. Pacha Luque-Light (AUS) 10.50 R2,000 750 pts
3. Sopia Fulton (AUS) 10.43 R1,110 560 pts
4. Kayla Nogueira (uMhlanga) 7.87 R 900 525 pts

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