Waves Head for Cape Town Pro

March 15, 2024
THRONG BEACH: Conditions look fun for the first day of the Cape Town Pro this weekend. Photo WSL

The surf is looking great at Long Beach for the first WSL Qualifying Series event in Cape Town for six years, the Cape Town Surf Pro.

A pert low pressure cell off the southwestern Cape today is churning out an a punchy 6-8ft ambient ocean swell that arrives overnight Friday into the first day of the event on Saturday. See full forecast here

Surfers from from Madagascar, Morocco, and Mozambique will join the lineup of top South African surfers, with top seed Luke Thompson leading the local charge.

The World Surf League (WSL) Africa Qualifying Series (QS) event runs over the weekend 16-17 March, and offers 1,000 points toward the 2023/2024 QS season and 2024 Challenger Series qualification. With only two events on the schedule for this season, it's make-or-break for anyone set on qualifying.

The SA Open of Surfing will be held in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape on the weekend of the 23-24 March, marking the resurrection of the City Surf Series. The SA Open of Surfing will also offer 1,000 points for the season and 2024 qualification.

SWELL ETA: The swell fills in on Saturday morning from a pert little storm that peaks today SW of Slaapstad.

Joe Kennedy (MDG) is the first surfer from Madagascar to officially compete in the WSL QS, and the Long Beach event marks his first time competing in South Africa.

"I only began competing internationally in the WSL last year, the first time for Madagascar and this will be my first time in South Africa too, so I am very excited to surf these famous breaks," said Kennedy.

"My goal for this event is to represent my country well and enter Madagascar into the African rankings for the first time."

Waves Head for Cape Town Pro

Adding to other African surfers at the Cape Town Surf Pro, are Morocco's Aboubakar Bouaouda and Nelson Nhamona from Mozambique. As the top seed, Cape Town's Luke Thompson knows there is a target on his back, but is up for the challenge.

"It's a different kind of feeling," Thompson admitted. "Last year I was the underdog and now all the eyes are on me. Pressure is a privilege, I'm grateful for the opportunity and I'm excited to get the contest season started. I learnt a lot last year and I'm looking forward to implementing it this year."

Madagascan surfer to compete for the first time on the Qualifying Series
FIRST MADAGASCAN: Joe Kennedy is the first from Madagascar to compete in the Qualifying Series. Pic WSL / Yanez

The men's draw is a stacked lineup with Adin Masencamp (RSA), Daniel Emslie (RSA) and long-time QS competitor Shane Sykes (RSA) making his return to competitive surfing, alongside a handful of international competitors.

"It's really cool to compete against other international competitors in our regional QS, before you get to the Challenger Series," Thompson said. "To have the likes of Joe and Aboubakar come down to South Africa, it pushes our surfing and challenges us to surf against someone you haven't competed against before in your junior career."

Natasha van Greunen (RSA) will rely on local knowledge and experience as top seed. If she wants to qualify for the Challenger Series again, a good result at the Cape Town Surf Pro is crucial. She will come up against fellow Challenger Series competitor Jessie van Niekerk (RSA), Kira Hofmeyr (RSA) and Danielle Powis (RSA).

The first call for the Cape Town Surf Pro will be on Saturday, 16 March at 07:00 AM local time for a possible 7:30 AM start. The Cape Town Surf Pro is supported by Surfing South Africa, Accelerate Sport, City of Cape Town, O’Neill and Red Bull. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com

TARGETED: Natasha van Greunen must keep to the sharp end of the wedge to defend her seeding. Pic WSL / Tostee