Kowie Cooks!

July 29, 2023
WHIP SLASH: Clay Turrel (South Coast), with a powerful backhand whip. Image Louis Wulff

A big storm and fierce buster is heading for East Pier later today after cooking 6ft+ surf on Day 1 yesterday of the Rip Curl GromSearch Port Alfred presented by The Royal St Andrews Hotel.

There are few spots that match this break when its going off, and East Beach was doing that, brushed into perfect barrels by a whisper of light W offshore. It looks more managable today with kiff light NW offshore early, and 4-5ft surf. A big storm looms from the west, and a stiff NW precursor to the buster will kap through from roughly 14:00 this afternoon. It builds into a gale that blows it out tomorrow, so organisers have their work cut out to fit the heats in before the mayhem descends.

Yesterday, Levi Epenetos and Clay Turrel stood out in the U16 Boys in the early rounds, both backhand on the perfect right-handers. There was a strategy at work in the early heats. Surfers picked off the best-looking waves and sometimes kicking out early to get back out before the next monster set.

In the U14 Boys, Ben Esterhuyse was on top form and picked up the highest heat score of the round with 11.20 points out of a possible 20. Esterhuyse survived a massive wipe-out on a huge backhand floater on one of the biggest waves of the morning. Nathan Tayler and Kai Stubbs were the other surfers performing well in this round.

In the U18 Boys Round Two, David Emslie was on top form, impressing the judges enough for 13.84 points, along with an on-form Rory Dace. Dace performed one of the biggest manoeuvres of the day on an outside set wave.

"That wave was about six foot plus, and it was super bumpy on the takeoff," said Dace. "I drove off the bottom, set up for a carve under the lip, and the next section came up, and I connected the lip perfectly with a big crack. I stuck it through the whitewater section, the judges gave me a 6.6, and I got through that heat."

POWER BANK: Rory Dace (Cape St Francis) banks off the top on a solid wave at East Beach. Image Louis Wulff

As the onshore started puffing in the afternoon, the sets were still pouring through, with bigger clean-up sets sweeping through the lineup. Kai Hall and Rory Dace were the two top performers in the U16 Boys with the highest scores of the round, while the U18 boys saw Kai Hall impress again, along with Clay Turrel and David Emslie. Their final heats were accompanied by shouting and cheering from their friends on the pier.

The Rip Curl GromSearch contests are all Premier SAST events, with 1,000 points going to the winners and prizemoney per all Premier events. The U16 division is recognised as the premier division at the Grom Search contests. Event schedule and heat results can all be found HERE.

Kowie Cooks!