Sunday saw a full day of high performance surfing competition at the Buffalo City Surf Pro presented by Reef Wetsuits as local and international participants battled to stay in contention for the finals day on Easter Monday.
The competitors revelled in the 1-1.5 metre waves that continued to pour through at Nahoon Reef producing big scores for some and upsetting several of the favourites who struggled to find two good rides or broke their surfboards in the still powerful surf.
The day’s proceedings started with the remaining four heats in the Junior Men’s event before the opening round of the Women’s event, the Men’s Round of 32, the quarter-finals of Junior Women and Men and finished up with two heats of the Women’s Round of 16.
Sebastian Williams (Durban) and Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) dominated the Men’s results, delivering near perfect single ride scores of 9.33 and 0.17 respectively and heat totals or more than 15 out of 20. Top seeds and international campaigners, Dylan Lightfoot and Matthew McGillivray, both from Jeffreys Bay, were ousted when they snapped their boards and lost time by returning to the shore to get backup equipment.
Current rankings leader Michael February (Kommetjie) suffered the same fate, but managed to get back out and secure first place in his heat.
Local chargers Luke Malherbe and Michael Monk (both East London) benefited from priority interference penalties incurred by the favourites in their heat, Brandon Jackson (Durban North) and Jordy Maree (Kommetjie). Each had one of their counting scores deducted and subsequently finished third and fourth and failed to advance to the last 16.
Sixteen-year-old Williams, Luke Slijpen (Cape Town) and reigning WSL Africa junior champ Adin Masencamp were the standouts in the 18-and-under junior men’s quarter-finals. They advanced to Monday’s semi-finals along with the Elkington brothers, Jake and Max, and fellow Kommetjie surfer Eli Beukes, Angelo Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay) and Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach).
Hometown heroine Nikita Robb and top seed Tayla Hanak (AUS) fought a close battle for supremacy in the first of the women’s quarter-finals with the former elite WSL Championship Tour (CT) campaigner taking the heat win despite the Australian producing the highest score for a single ride, an excellent 8.50, which matched the highest in the event recorded by Kirsty McGillivray in Round 1.
Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) will be defending the Skullcandy rakings leader’s zebra striped vest when she comes up against reigning WSL Africa women’s and junior women’s champions, Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) and Sophie Bell (Salt Rock), in their quarter-final clash, which will be the first encounter on Monday’s schedule.
Bell faces a strong challenge for her regional junior women’s title with Taghiti Gericke (Wilderness), Gaby Lailvaux (Westbrook) and last week’s winner Kayla Nogueira (Durban) all finished within one point of each other as they posted the best results in Saturday’s action.
The Buffalo City Surf Pro presented by Reef Wetsuits features World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS)1,000 rated events for men and women alongside JQS1,000 events for men and women aged 18-and-under. It is the second of five stops on the City Surf Series that started in Port Elizabeth last weekend and also visits Durban and Cape Town.
An outreach programme conducted by Surfing South Africa (SSA) at Nahoon Beach on Easter Monday morning will feature 60 young surfers from the Unstressed Surf School in Cintsa and Laureus Sports Awards winners Waves 4 Change. The participants will be involved in beach activities, water coaching, a tag team contest, beach relays and an Easter egg hunt with all participants receiving breakfast, lunch and a commemorative medal.
The programme will be run by SSA Development Officer Danielle Johnson and her Swot team to highlight transformation projects in the Buffalo City district and is supported by the Buffalo City Surf Pro, Reef Wetsuits, Volkswagen and the National Lotteries Commission.
Picture of Williams in action courtesy of WSL/Thurtell