Archive

Archive for April, 2015

KwaDukuza welcomes world’s best surfers for Ballito Pro in June

April 30th, 2015 No comments
Jordy Smith (Durban) in action in the spectacular waves at Willards Beach, Ballito during the 2011 edition of the event  Photo: (c) WSL / Cestari

Jordy Smith (Durban) in action in the spectacular waves at Willards Beach, Ballito during the 2011 edition of the event  Photo: (c) WSL / Cestari

Surfing’s elite performers will return to KwaDukuza for a seventh successive year when the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong, a QS10,000 rated event on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS), runs from 29 June to 5 July.

The third of nine events that carry the highest ranking on this year’s QS, the Ballito Pro offers a US $250 000 (approx. R3 million) prize-purse and an invaluable 10 000 points on the world rankings. It will feature a 96-man field of the world’s best surfers from every corner of the planet, all of whom are striving to qualify for a spot on next year’s WSL Championship Tour (CT).

“As the host and Licence holder of the Ballito Pro event, we as KwaDukuza are very pleased to take the event forward together with the World Surf League and our new partners,” said the Mayor of KwaDukuza, Cllr Ricardo Mthembu. “The Ballito Pro International Surf Festival event is a key economic and tourism driver for our region, and together with the communities of KwaDukuza we look forward to expediting yet another successful event come 28th June.”

Continuing its 46 year legacy as the world’s longest running professional surfing event, starting when Port Elizabeth teenager Gavin Rudolph won the Gunston 500 in 1969, all aspects of the Ballito Pro will be bigger and better this year with the support of global apparel and equipment giant Billabong which has come onboard as presenting sponsor for the main event and the trials.

“Billabong is really excited to be the presenting sponsor of the 2015 Ballito Pro,” said Billabong SA Group Marketing Manager, Chad D’Arcy. “It is such an iconic event and an integral part of the history of competitive surfing in South Africa. We’re looking forward to being part of another world class event on African shores.”

With more than a month to go until it closes, the entry list already includes a dozen CT surfers, headed by current world No. 9 Jordy Smith, along with another 40 highly rated competitors from 15 countries. Smith, the 2010 event winner and 2013 runner-up, grew up in Durban and is always happy to compete in his home surf.

“Yea I’m super excited to come back home and compete,” said Smith from his new home in California. “It’s my favourite time of year in KZN, so hopefully we get great waves!”

The event provides the local WSL Africa registered surfers with the priceless opportunity to earn prize-money and highly coveted rankings points with the advantage of competing in their home surf.

“It’s fantastic for South African surfing, KwaDukuza, Ballito and the WSL that we are able to host the biggest WSL QS event at this superb venue for the seventh year in a row,” says WSL Africa Operations Manager, Colin Fitch. “Ballito has become a truly world class surfing destination and I look forward to seeing 96 of the world’s best surfers put on an spectacular display of high performance surfing in Africa again this year.”

While the surfers ride the waves, the Ballito Pro Festival is set to turn up the heat in KwaDukuza offering the best in beach, music and extreme sports entertainment. Locals and holiday-makers will be spoilt for choice with an action packed programme planned for the week-long festival that includes: daily doses of beach soccer and volleyball, regular stage performances by local dancers, singers and performers and an exciting retail area.

In addition to this, the extreme sports programme is guaranteed to thrill with Freestyle Motocross displays by Monster Le Riche brothers; a Monster Surf Expression Session powered by Zig Zag and a Monster Beach Surf Movie Night. Crowd favourite, the Coastal Living Bru Food & Wine Festival, returns to La Montagne for a ‘flavoursome’ few nights, playing host to the artisan food market, a wine and coffee showcase and the return of the popular cooking competitions.

Music lovers won’t be disappointed either with 5FM taking over the music reigns, bringing some of South Africa’s most talented music acts to the stage with Crush Night Club after-parties continuing the celebrations late into the night.

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centres in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Surfing South Africa
The Ballito Pro and the Ballito Pro Trials are registered with Surfing South Africa, recognised by the Dept. of Sport and Recreation as the national controlling body for the sport and a member of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

KwaDukuza Municipality and Organizers of the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong
Contact: Collette Bundy
Mobile: 072 287 9839
Email: collettebundy0@gmail.com

For more information about the beach festival, music concerts and Food & Wine festival please contact:

Olivia Jones Communications
Cell: 083 653 1720
Work: 031 303 9341
Email: media@oliviajones.co.za

Michael February finishes runner-up at Martinique Surf Pro : Rockets to No. 16 on QS rankings

April 26th, 2015 No comments
Michael February (Kommetjie) throws buckets of spray as he cuts back on his way to second place in the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

Michael February (Kommetjie) throws buckets of spray as he cuts back on his way to second place in the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

South Africa’s Michael February finished runner-up to Joshua Moniz (HAW) in the inaugural Martinique Surf Pro, a QS3 000 rated event and the eighth stop on the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS), on Saturday.

The result, February’s best in three years on the QS, earned the 21 year-old from Kommetjie US $10 000 (approx. R120 000) and 2 250 points which saw him rocket up 61 places to No. 16 on the latest rankings, the highest by a South African.

February, who posted one of the only two perfect 10 point rides in the event during the Quarters on Friday, did not let an excellent score by Moniz on the first ride of the Final alter his motivation and kept battling all the way to the final countdown in search of the 9.37 he needed to take the win.

“This is the best result I’ve ever had so I’m super happy,” February said. “Unfortunately that last wave didn’t give me enough to do enough turns and maybe I made a few mistakes, but I tried my best and I’m super happy to have put together a good contest again.”

Moniz, 18, could not have started the final any better, catching an excellent wave in the opening seconds, to deliver a series of exciting forehand turns and collect a 9.07. The Hawaiian didn’t take his foot off the gas and continued to capitalise on every opportunity he got to finally net an 8.87 as a backup and win the event.

“I was so nervous going into that heat, I knew to win it I’d have to get big scores,” Moniz said. “I’m so stoked, this is my first QS win. Coming off another win in a Pro Junior in Hawaii I had a lot of confidence and I’m on kind of a little roll so hopefully I can keep it going.”

Despite posting big scores all week, Moniz was in the underdog position up until his quarterfinal matchup where he dispatched South Africa’s Beyrick De Vries (Umhlanga), 22. The Hawaiian then emerged as a potential threat for the event crown, and convincingly surfed two more brilliant heats to take the title home.

“I got a lot of confidence from that win over Beyrick,” Moniz continued. “I thought if I beat him well I can maybe go all the way. Everyone’s been super nice and helpful here and all the locals very supportive. My family and friends have been staying up late as well to watch me and texted me after every heat, I’m just tripping out I won.”

Joshua Moniz (Left) and Michael February on the podium and the end of the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

Joshua Moniz (Left) and Michael February on the podium and the end of the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

February opted to go local in terms of accommodation and stayed with a Martinican family to immerse himself into the local vibe. Supported during all his heats by an excited crowd, February has won the hearts of many Basse-Pointe locals today.

“The people here are really good and they welcomed me so nicely,” February continued. “I’ve been getting really good food from the people I stayed with, tried new stuff and they also drove me to all the little secret spots. It’s just been a beautiful experience, I met some incredible people and I can’t wait to be back.”

In his Semifinal February surprised everyone including himself when needing 7.70 with just seconds remaining he elected to ride left on the righthand point. Taking to the sky as the wave closed out, he successfully landed a high-flying ‘Hail Mary’ 360 aerial manoeuvre that the judges rewarded with 7.87 and gave him a berth in the Final.

“Sure it’s a little frustrating to go out like that but I made a mistake,’ said Tudela who finished third overall. “I had priority and let him go. I never thought there was any scoring potential on a left and he proved me wrong, so hats off to Michael! I’m stoked to have made the semis here, like I said before this is probably the best event I’ve ever been to and I’ll be back for sure to Martinique, contest or no contest.”

Michael February takes to the air with the 'Hail Mary' 360 backhand aerial that earned him a spot in the Final of the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

Michael February takes to the air with the ‘Hail Mary’ 360 backhand aerial that earned him a spot in the Final of the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

Cooper Chapman (AUS), 20, fell short of a mere 0.34 in second Semifinal after an exciting final exchange with Moniz in the last moments of the heat. Chapman improved both his counting rides including an impressive 9.03 on his final wave, but he couldn’t match Moniz’s flair and rhythm.

“Waves were great again today and I knew I was going to have to put down another 17+ score,” Chapman reflected. “As soon as Josh got his 9 I knew it would take another huge score but I had faith I’d get another opportunity. I got that last wave, got a 9 but he got the next wave behind me and beat me. I’ve had a great time here, the waves were perfect, some of the best I’ve ever had in an event. The place is beautiful, I can’t wait to be back next year!”

South Africa’s de Vries finished equal fifth when he was eliminated in the Quarterfinals while Dale Staples (St Francis Bay) and Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) finished ninth and 13th respectively after Round 5 exits.

All the news, results, photos, videos and more from the Martinique event can be found at http://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2015/mqs/1228/martinique-surf-pro

MARTINIQUE SURF PRO FINAL RESULTS:
1- Joshua Moniz (HAW) 17.94
2- Michael February (ZAF) 16.10

MARTINIQUE SURF PRO SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Michael February (ZAF) 14.80 def. Miguel Tudela (PER) 14.63
SF 2: Joshua Moniz (HAW) 17.80 def. Cooper Chapman (AUS) 17.46

World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) Rankings (After Martinique)
1 Andino, Kolohe (USA) 8260 points
2 Muniz, Alejo (BRA) 7550
3 Freestone, Jack (AUS) 6050
4 Gouveia, Ian (BRA) 5030
5 Hiquily, Mateia (PYF) 4920

South Africans (Top 100)
16 February, Michael (Kommetjie) 3390
38 Staples, Dale (St Francis Bay) 2195
43 De Vries, Beyrick (Umhlanga) 2030
70 Lightfoot, Dylan (Jeffreys Bay) 1450

ENDS

About the World Surf League

The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Perfect 10 point rides for Mikey February and Beyrick de Vries at Martinique Surf Pro

April 24th, 2015 No comments
Michael February (Kommetjie) takes to the air on his way to a place in the Semifinals of the Martinique Surf Pro  Image: WSL / Poullenot  

Michael February (Kommetjie) takes to the air on his way to a place in the Semifinals of the Martinique Surf Pro  Image: WSL / Poullenot

Mikey February (Kommetjie) and Beyrick de Vries (Umhlanga) recorded the only perfect 10 point rides of the inaugural Martinique Surf Pro as a quartet of South African surfers made a strong showing on Day 4 of the first World Surf League QS3000 event to be run in the Caribbean.

Friday’s action ran in excellent 1 to 1.5 metre waves at Basse Pointe with all four South Africans advancing from Round 4 to the last 16 in Round 5. February, Dale Staples (St Francis Bay) and Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) were all safely through before de Vries blew up with the highest heat total of the day.

Starting his heat with a mid-range score, de Vries then decimated a long wall with searing rail work and progressive fins-free turns to earn the first perfect 10 point ride of the event. Two rides later he added a 9.0 for a near perfect heat tally of 19.0 out of 20.

De Vries also racked up the highest heat total of Round 5, waiting patiently for the best waves and then producing error-free, high-risk surfing that was rewarded with an 8.07 followed by a 9.0 and then a 9.67 that gave him a two-wave tally of 18.67 and a berth in the Quarterfinals.

February sneaked through his Round 5 heat with a 7.33 and an average 4.33 that was just enough to give him second place and a spot in the last eight while Lightfoot, fourth in his heat, and Staples, third in a high scoring encounter behind de Vries and Thiago Camarao (BRA), were eliminated from the event.

The format changed to man-on-man heats for the Quarters and February got off to a spectacular start with a turbo-charged ride on one of the biggest waves of the day. Taking off deep in the lineup, the lanky 21 year-old swooped through a series of top to bottom carves punctuated by arcing cutbacks and finished with a committed re-entry that the judges awarded a perfect 10.

Adding a 7.17 soon thereafter, MFeb was able to cruise during the second half of his encounter, using priority strategically to keep his dangerous opponent Francisco Bellorin (VEN) from catching two waves with high scoring potential. February will take on Miguel Tudela (PER) in the Semifinals when the contest resumes.

“I think I just got lucky to get that wave, I haven’t had a 10 in a contest in a long time so it felt great,” February reflected. “It’s been a long day but I’ve been trying to eat properly and drink lots of water and relax. I’m excited for tomorrow; hopefully the waves are as good as today. Everyone’s on fire so I’ll just have to focus on my game, pick up the best waves and surf them as well as I can.”

De Vries stayed patient in his Quarterfinal while Joshua Moniz (HAW) built up a sizeable lead before the South African posted his first good score, a 7.50. Moniz continued to find the better waves and de Vries was left needing a near-perfect 9.77 when the heat ended, finishing the event in equal fifth place overall.

“It’s been a long day in the sun and everyone’s feeling tired,” de Vries commented. “I feel like I’m surfing really good and this board I’m riding is great, so that’s good going into Trestles. I made some silly little decisions in that last heat but Josh was surfing incredible and if I wanted to lose to anyone it’s him, so I’m stoked. I’m flying out to California tomorrow but I’ll definitely be surfing early in the morning. I love the Caribbean; it’s one of my favourite destinations in the world.”

Moniz will contest the second Semifinal against Cooper Chapman (AUS) who narrowly defeated Camarao in their clash.

The Martinique Surf Pro has a waiting period that runs until Sunday with just the Semifinals and Final still to be run. All the news, results, photos and videos from the event can be found at http://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2015/mqs/1228/martinique-surf-pro

UPCOMING MARTINIQUE SURF PRO SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS:
SF 1: Miguel Tudela (PER) vs. Michael February (ZAF)
SF 2: Cooper Chapman (AUS) vs. Joshua Moniz (HAW)

MARTINIQUE SURF PRO QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Miguel Tudela (PER) 16.33 def. Kiron Jabour (HAW) 13.37
QF 2: Michael February (ZAF) 17.17. Francisco Bellorin (VEN) 15.06
QF 3: Cooper Chapman (AUS) 17.73 def. Thiago Camarao (BRA) 17.14
QF 4: Joshua Moniz (HAW) 17.27 def. Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 10.50

MARTINIQUE SURF PRO ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Miguel Tudela (PER) 14.36, Michael February (ZAF) 12.06, Thiago Guimaraes (BRA) 10.70, Reo Inaba (JPN) 10.56
Heat 2: Francisco Bellorin (VEN) 16.96, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 15.83, Luel Felipe (BRA) 12.54, Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) 7.66
Heat 3: Cooper Chapman (AUS) 16.90, Joshua Moniz (HAW) 14.90, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 14.50, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.50
Heat 4: Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 18.67, Thiago Camarao (BRA) 17.16, Dale Staples (ZAF) 16.10, Hiroto Arai (JPN) 14.16

MARTINIQUE SURF PRO ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Michael February (ZAF) 14.34, Francisco Bellorin (VEN) 12.57, Alan Donato (BRA) 11.73, Evan Geiselman (USA) 10.86
Heat 2: Miguel Tudela (PER) 17.40, Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) 15.46, Dimitri Ouvre (BLM) 15.20, Renato Galvao (BRA) 8.76
Heat 3: Luel Felipe (BRA) 14.34, Reo Inaba (JPN) 14.27, Michael Dunphy (USA) 12.24, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 7.10
Heat 4: Kiron Jabour (HAW) 16.94, Thiago Guimaraes (BRA) 15.67, Leandro Usuna (ARG) 13.44, Paulo Moura (BRA) 7.07
Heat 5: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.50, Hiroto Arai (JPN) 14.16, Cory Arrambide (USA) 13.96, Timothee Bisso (GLP) 12.30
Heat 6: Hodei Collazo (EUK) 15.50, Thiago Camarao (BRA) 11.97, Ian Gentil (HAW) 11.93, Andy Criere (FRA) 11.07
Heat 7: Dale Staples (ZAF) 16.24, Joshua Moniz (HAW) 14.40, Joshua Burke (BRB) 14.40, Jake Halstead (USA) 11.10
Heat 8: Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 19.00, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 18.10, Steven Pierson (PYF) 15.33, Victor Bernardo (BRA) 13.40

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Fifth place for Bianca Buitendag as Courtney Conlogue wins Drug Aware Margaret River Women’s Pro in Australia

April 22nd, 2015 No comments
Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay, South Africa) cuts back at Main Break on her way to fifth place in the Drug Aware Margaret River Women’s Pro in Australia on Wednesday.  Image: © WSL / Cestari

Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay, South Africa) cuts back at Main Break on her way to fifth place in the Drug Aware Margaret River Women’s Pro in Australia on Wednesday.  Image: © WSL / Cestari

South African Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) placed equal fifth overall in the Drug Aware Margaret River Women’s Pro in Western Australia as Courtney Conlogue (USA) clinched victory at the third stop on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) on Wednesday.

With Main Break continuing to offer double overhead waves and stiff offshore winds organisers had no hesitation in getting the Quarterfinals underway this morning and the world’s best female surfers fought through an exciting Finals day.

Buitendag’s quarterfinal match-up with Malia Manuel (HAW) started slowly with the Hawaiian recording a pair of mid-range scores and the South African just a throw-away 0.57 in the first 20 minutes. A series of powerful sets rolling through the break saw the rest of the 30 minute heat produce a back and forth duel as Buitendag grabbed the lead with scores of 7.0 and then 7.60 to put Manuel into a combination situation.

But the Hawaiian kept her composure and answered back with a 5.13 and a 6.90. Needing 7.70 for the heat win and a berth in the semis, Manuel found a great wave in the dying minutes and finished her ride with a powerful re-entry to post an excellent 8.50.

Buitendag was unable to find the 7.81 she needed and was eliminated. Her fifth place result earned 5 200 points which combined with her 13th and ninth place results in the opening two events of the year saw the 21 year-old from Victoria Bay move up one spot in the WSL rankings to No. 11.

The Final produced an epic showdown with Conlogue claiming her third CT victory and ending the amazing run of form from two-time World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW).

“It’s just phenomenal,” said Conlogue. “Carissa’s been on such a stellar run and I was thinking, maybe I can end it. I had a bit of a tricky start to this event and was feeling out of rhythm. On the off days I just went surfing a lot and have a bunch of fun and I think that it got me all psyched and happy for the end of the event.”

The win today sees Conlogue steadily improve on her performance this year, having previously claimed fifth place on the Gold Coast and a third at Bells Beach. The result moves her to second place on the WSL rankings going into the fourth event of the year, the Oi Rio Pro next month.

Conlogue drew first blood in the Final for a modest score, a 5.33, and an early lead. An uncharacteristic priority mistake from Moore with 20 minutes remaining left Conlogue with her pick of the waves but Moore came back to take an inside wave, unload two big turns and earn an excellent 8.50. The Californian answered back with a big layback hack to reclaim the lead and then took a set wave for an excellent 8.43.

The Hawaiian was left without priority needing a 6.60 and found only a 4.63 at the six-minute mark. Conlogue had four minutes remaining to control the lineup and hold off the two-time World Champion and found a big righthander, delivering three solid terms to improve her scoreline with an 8.50, and take the win.

“I’ve spent a lot of time out here and I have great support,” said Conlogue. “This is our last stop on the Australian leg of the Tour and it’s been really amazing. Carissa is such an amazing talent and to be able to compete against her and all the other amazing talent is just wonderful and really pushes me to get better. The world title is everyone’s dream and I’m just going to try my best and keep surfing as well as I possibly can.”

The second-place finish today from Moore and her third consecutive final of 2015 sees her retain the Jeep leader yellow jersey and no. 1 spot on the rankings. Moore, who got the better of Tyler Wright (AUS) in both 2014 and 2013 to claim consecutive victories at Margaret River, defeated both Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) before facing Conlogue in the Final.

“I’m so stoked with this result,” said Moore. “The waves were really good today and Courtney did an amazing job. She’s such a hard worker and I couldn’t be happier for her. It’s been an amazing Australian leg for me but I’m very excited to get back home. Thanks to everyone for putting on this event.”

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Final Results:
1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 16.93
2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.13

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.73 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.27
SF 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 17.53 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 15.87

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.84 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.73
QF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.37 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 9.07
QF 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) 15.40 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.80
QF 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.70 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.96

World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Championship Tour (CT) Rankings (After Margaret River)
1. Carissa Moore (HAW) 28 000 points
2. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 21 700
3. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 19 300
4. Tyler Wright (AUS) 16 900
5. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16 300
11. Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay, South Africa) 10 250

The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro runs from April 15 – 26, 2015 and the men’s Semifinals will get underway when competition resumes. Watch the unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of professional surfing live at WorldSurfLeague.com.

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Semifinal Match-ups:
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Nat Young (USA)
SF 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Bianca Buitendag charges into quarterfinals at Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Australia

April 19th, 2015 No comments
Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay, South Africa) carves a backhand bottom-turn on a double overhead wave at Main Break on her way to the quarterfinals of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro on Sunday  Image: © WSL / Cestari

Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay, South Africa) carves a backhand bottom-turn on a double overhead wave at Main Break on her way to the quarterfinals of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro on Sunday  Image: © WSL / Cestari

South African Bianca Buitendag charged her way through three gruelling 30 minute heats in double overhead waves at Main Break to reach the quarterfinals of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Western Australia on Sunday.

After the men’s Semifinalists in the third Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) event of the year had been decided in giant surf at the Box and Main Break on Saturday, organisers opted to run three rounds of Women’s competition earlier today, reducing the field of the world’s best female surfers from 18 to just eight.

Buitendag started her campaign in the first heat of the day where she posted a pair of 7 point rides to edge Nikki van Dijk (AUS) and progress to a three-woman, Round 3 clash with Tyler Wright (AUS) and Courtney Conlogue (USA). Despite recording the highest single ride of that encounter – 8.83 out of 10 – Buitendag’s second ride was a mid-range 4.37 which saw her finish third in that heat and facing a Round 4 duel with Silvana Lima (BRA) for a place in the Quarters.

The 21 year-old from Victoria on the Cape South coast started strongly against Lima, racking up successive 8 point rides through the middle of the duel. This put her opponent into a combination situation where the Brazilian needed to improve on both her scores, which she only managed to do in the last minute and was left needing another excellent 8.72 for the victory.

Following 13th and 9th place finishes in the opening two events of the 2015 WSL CT, Buitendag has reached the last eight in an event for the first time this season. When competition resumes she will take on Malia Manuel (HAW) with the winner advancing to the Semis.

Those who progressed directly to the Quarterfinals by winning their Round 3 match-ups earlier today were current ratings leader Carissa Moore (HAW), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Manuel and Tyler Wright (AUS). They were joined by Round 4 winners Lakey Peterson (USA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Courtney Conlogue (USA) and Buitendag.

“For me, I never let my foot off the gas in a heat,” Moore, the two-time defending event champion said. “These girls they’re too good and are capable of getting two tens. I’m feeling really psyched to be on tour at the moment with these girls and I feel like I’ve got nothing to lose. Life can’t get any better.”

Reigning WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) was forced to withdraw from the competition following a knee injury sustained during a freesurf yesterday. More scans are required before she will know full extent of the injury but she’s hopeful of returning to competition at the next event in Brazil. Conlogue received a ‘walk-thru’ into the Quarterfinals following Gilmore’s exit.

The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro runs from April 15 – 26, 2015. Watch the unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of professional surfing live at WorldSurfLeague.com starting at approximately 1am SA Time daily.

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 2 Results (1st to R3, 2nd = 13th):
Heat 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.80 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 13.90
Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) 13.74 def. Alessa Quizon (HAW) 10.66
Heat 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) 15.60 def. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 6.80
Heat 4: Johanne Defay (FRA) 16.50 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 15.50
Heat 5: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 18.30 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 8.44
Heat 6: Coco Ho (HAW) 15.83 def. Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 8.73

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 3 Results (1st to QF, 2nd & 3rd to R4):
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 18.80, Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.00, Coco Ho (HAW) 11.67
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 19.23, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 17.26, Johanne Defay (FRA) 15.77
Heat 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) 15.53, Silvana Lima (BRA) 11.40, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 00.00 *Did not surf
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.97, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.20, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 13.20

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 4 Results (1st to QF, 2nd = 9th):
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 17.16 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.00
Heat 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 17.26 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 13.13
Heat 3: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 17.44 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 11.40
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) *Heat did on surf

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Match-ups:
QF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)
QF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
QF 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
QF 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Semifinal Match-ups:
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Nat Young (USA)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Jordy Smith advances to Round 3 in monster surf at Drug Aware Margaret River Pro

April 15th, 2015 No comments
Jordy Smith (ZAF) crouches under the lip of a wave at The Box on his way to victory in his Round 1 heat at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Australia on Wednesday  Image: © WSL / Cestari

Jordy Smith (ZAF) crouches under the lip of a wave at The Box on his way to victory in his Round 1 heat at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Australia on Wednesday  Image: © WSL / Cestari

South African Jordy Smith (Durban) won his opening heat and advanced directly to Round 3 at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, the third stop on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) in Western Australia today.

Huge waves reaching five metres at times greeted the world’s best surfers and the opening 7 heats of Men’s Round 1 saw the world’s best surfers tackling The Box, one of the world’s most challenging and infamous hollow waves.

Smith, No. 5 in the WSL rankings coming into the event, was selective in his approach to waves at The Box in the second heat of the day, pulling into a couple of tube rides and finishing ahead of Jadson Andre (BRA) and Brett Simpson (USA) in a low-scoring 30-minute match-up.

“You have the possibility of breaking your board and hurting yourself out there,” said Smith in his post-heat interview. “So if you feel like you might not make it, you’ve still got to go. But if you definitely won’t make it – then you don’t go.”

John John Florence (HAW), who won the Margaret River Qualifying Series event in 2012, opened the day’s competition with a 7.83 for his first wave. Florence threw himself over the ledge and demonstrated his skill and commitment to take a convincing Round 1 heat win. Despite some big wipe-outs Florence maintained his charging attitude to secure his place in Round 3, easily defeating Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) and Dusty Payne (HAW).

“When we got down here this morning we saw some really good waves,” said Florence. “There’s an end step, which makes it really challenging. It’s hard to pick the right waves and it’s really gnarly if you don’t. It’s definitely scary but I’m so stoked because it’s fun to surf some clean, bigger waves and amazing to get barrelled at The Box.”

Kelly Slater (USA), the 11-time World Champion, won his heat comfortably by charging fearlessly on multiple waves. Despite relatively low scores, with just a 4.50 and a 3.70 (each out of a possible 10), Slater delivered some amazing surfing in waves of consequence, putting himself on the line. Slater defeated Kai Otton (AUS) and rookie Ricardo Christie (NZL) who will surf again in elimination Round 2.

“It’s fun and exciting out here today,” Slater said. “I didn’t come out for an early surf and when John John (Florence) came in after his heat he said it was gnarly so I was excited. I fell on those two waves and if I watch the highlights I’m going to watch the ones I fell on, those were insane.”

Three-time World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) took to the water wearing the yellow Jeep rankings leader’s jersey following his win last week at Bells Beach and survived a tough heat against dangerous local surfer and trials winner Jay Davies (AUS) and Matt Wilkinson (AUS). Fanning opened early with an excellent 8.63 to control the heat and Davies challenged with a 7.50.

“If you think its good you just have to take off and hold on,” Fanning said. “It was pretty wild and it’s big and ugly out there, it’s radical but fun. I took a wave that I thought was going to be a good one but it just crumbled and I hit a boil and creased the board so I changed it out.”

Left needing a 6.50 to take the lead Davies couldn’t find the score and will face Gabriel Medina (BRA) in a highly-anticipated Round 2 match-up while Fanning moves through to Round 3. Medina lost his Round 1 heat earlier in the day to Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW).

After a morning of deep tube rides and terrifying wipe-outs, a switch in wind direction saw the competition moved to Margaret River’s Main Break where the remaining heats of Round 1 were run in waves that featured triple-overhead faces.

The remaining five heats of Round 1 saw Miguel Pupo (BRA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF) and Julian Wilson (AUS) use longer surfboards in the giant surf to post wins and earn a pass directly to Round 3.

Parkinson looked in-form today in his heat against Adam Melling (AUS) and Kolohe Andino (USA). The 2012 World Champion locked in the day’s highest two-wave heat total, a 15.73 out of a possible 20, to secure the win and a place in Round 3.

“I got out there and I was excited to see some size and some swell,” said Parkinson. “I felt happy and relaxed and when I feel like that I seem to do my best surfing. I hope we get to surf at The Box again, it will be amazing.”

Defending event winner Bourez also won through his Round 1 bout, claiming his first heat win of the year, narrowly defeating Nat Young (USA), who will now have to surf again in Round 2 along with rookie Italo Ferriera (BRA).

“I had such a bad start to the year and that was the first heat I’ve made,” said Bourez. “The conditions here are better for me – big, wild and bumpy – so I’m in my element. I like to surf here a lot.”

The big wave conditions look set to continue and Surfline, official forecaster for the WSL, is predicting:

Very solid SW groundswell will continue on Thursday, easing through Friday. Another exceptionally strong SSW groundswell is on track for Saturday, and could be even larger than the surf for Wed/Thur. Sunday will see dropping surf, with a further drop in surf on Monday. Morning wind conditions look favourable for the next few days, with some periods of side or onshore flow in the afternoons. Going further out, another strong SW swell looks possible around Wednesday the 22nd.

The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be held from April 15 – 26, 2015. Watch the unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of professional surfing live at WorldSurfLeague.com.

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 13.00, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 4.46, Dusty Payne (HAW) 2.60
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 7.73, Jadson Andre (BRA) 3.40, Brett Simpson (USA) 0.50
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 8.20, Kai Otton (AUS) 3.33, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 3.27
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.23, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.50, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 4.40
Heat 5: Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) 4.30, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 3.96, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 3.27
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.00, Jay Davies (AUS) 10.27, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 3.34
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.74, Josh Kerr (AUS) 8.73, Keanu Asing (HAW) 3.33
Heat 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.43, Glenn Hall (IRL) 10.50, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.36
Heat 9: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.00, Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.53, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 8.33
Heat 10: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.73, Adam Melling (AUS) 8.24, Kolohe Andino (USA) 5.00
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.76, Nat Young (USA) 14.70, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 9.93
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.60, Matt Banting (AUS) 8.30, Owen Wright (AUS) 6.80

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 2 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Jay Davies (AUS)
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 5: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 7: Nat Young (USA) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 10: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 11: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA), Johanne Defay (FRA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Dimity Stoyle (AUS)

ENDS

About the World Surf League

The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Jordy Smith places fifth as Mick Fanning wins Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia

April 9th, 2015 No comments
Jordy Smith (ZAF) in action during his quarterfinal defeat at the hands of eventual winner Mick Fanning in the quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia on Thursday  Image: © WSL / Cestari

Jordy Smith (ZAF) in action during his quarterfinal defeat at the hands of eventual winner Mick Fanning in the quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia on Thursday  Image: © WSL / Cestari

South African Jordy Smith placed fifth in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach after advancing to the Quarterfinals at the second stop on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT) before being eliminated by eventual winner Mick Fanning (AUS) in wind affected 1.5 metre waves earlier today.

The lanky former Durbanite who now resides in San Clemente, California, fell behind early in the 30 minute encounter before punctuating a long ride with a series of explosive, fins free manoeuvres. He earned an excellent 8.33 out of 10 but still needed a near perfect 9.44 to advance to the Semifinals when the heat ended,

Smith’s haul of 5 200 points moved him up four places to No. 5 on the WSL CT rankings with two of the 11events on the 2015 schedule now completed.

Fanning went on to defeat Nat Young (USA) in the Semis and then beat Adriano de Souza (BRA) in the closest Final in Championship Tour history. The pair tied on 15.27 points each but Fanning got the nod on a count-back to the highest single ride which the Australian clinched 8.17 vs. 7.57

Fanning is now tied with Kelly Slater (USA) and Mark Richards (AUS) with four Bells Beach wins each. He won his first in 2001 as a wildcard and then again in 2012 and 2014. The three-time World Champion also ties with Andy Irons (HAW), with both having 20 CT event wins.

“I’d never put myself in a category with MR (Mark Richards), Kelly Slater and Andy Irons,” said Fanning. “Those guys are my heroes. MR is a god, Kelly is a king and Andy is forever, it’s awesome.”

The first ever tiebreak Final puts Fanning on a path to his fourth World Title and he will take the gold leader jersey going into the third event on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) in Margaret River. Today’s match-up was the pair’s tenth in CT history, including three at Bells Beach, and Fanning has taken seven wins while De Souza has three.

“Today is the first time a CT Final has ever been tied, which is radical. As elating as the win is for me I know it’s heartbreaking for Adriano,” continued Fanning. “He’s such a top bloke and he throws his heart into everything and he trains so hard. He’s the elder statesman for the Brazilian storm and he does an impeccable job at leading them.”

“It’s a dream come true to make a Final here at Bells,” said De Souza who moved up to third place on the WSL rankings. “This is such an amazing place for me and it was so special to put my name on this trophy in 2013. Every time I come here it’s a special experience.”

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Final Results:
1: Mick Fanning (AUS) – 15.27 (Fanning wins with the heat’s highest single-wave score, 8.17)
2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) – 15.27

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.84 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.87
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.70 def. Nat Young (USA) 14.23

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.60 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 8.33
QF 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.00 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 7.93
QF 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.76 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.60
QF 4: Nat Young (USA) 15.10 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.86

WSL Championship Tour Rankings (After event #2 – Rip Curl Bells Beach Pro)
1 Mick Fanning (AUS) 15200
1 Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15200
3 Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14500
4 Julian Wilson (AUS) 9750
5 Jordy Smith (ZAF) 9200
6 Josh Kerr (AUS) 8250
6 Nat Young (USA) 8250
8 Miguel Pupo (BRA) 7000

The Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach will likely run tomorrow (Thursday night SA time) and see a champion crowned.

South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay) was eliminated in Round 3 earlier this week, finishing equal ninth overall.

Event organisers will reconvene at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow morning (10.30pm SA time) to assess conditions and make the next call.

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Quarterfinal Match-ups:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 4: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Cape Town excluded as WSL announces 2015 / 2016 Big Wave Tour schedule

April 8th, 2015 No comments
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban) in action at Dungeons in Cape Town in 2009  Image: Kimi Stewart / BillabongXXL.com

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban) in action at Dungeons in Cape Town in 2009  Image: Kimi Stewart / BillabongXXL.com

The World Surf League (WSL) has announced the 2015 / 2016 Big Wave Tour (BWT) schedule that includes two new venues in Mexico and Oregon in the USA but excludes Cape Town, taking the total number of stops that will determine the WSL Big Wave Surfing Champion to seven.

Dungeons, the open ocean reef near Hout Bay that has produced the biggest rideable waves on the African continent, has been removed from the schedule after the Cape Big Wave Trust (CBWT), a group that claims to include surfers from all over South Africa who regularly ride big waves in Cape Town, decided that they did not want the fully funded event to be run in at the break.

After fully supporting the WSL’s offer of the multi million Rand event on last year’s schedule, which did not run due to a lack of suitably large waves, the CBWT members were upset by reports that the number of spots allocated for local surfers would be reduced from six to four this year. This, added to their claim that the BWT did not have a clearly defined criteria for local surfers to qualify to compete in events elsewhere, saw the local group vote to withdraw the Dungeons Challenge from the tour until there was greater clarity on how the BWT system operates.

“A multi million Rand competition may be of benefit to a surfing audience, but given that we surf there (Dungeons) on average only about 5 times a year it can take away the very special experience from the very people that use the wave for their enjoyment,” said CBWT spokesman Barry Futter. “For us to support this we need to see greater clarity on exactly how the BWT system works. There needs to be real opportunity and benefit for local surfers to grow.”

The BWT officials amended their offer to include six spots for locals plus a wildcard for this year’s Dungeons Challenge, which along with the inclusion of 2013/14 BWT Champion Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker from Durban, who qualifies for all the events on the schedule due to his current No. 8 ranking, would have brought the South African contingent in the event to eight, or a third of the 24 man field.

According to the CBWT, communications between WSL BWT Vice President Gary Linden, Contest Director Craig Jarvis and themselves lacked clarity and at their AGM the members voted unanimously that they did do not want a contest at Dungeons at this point.

The decision provoked a digital media furor with many in the SA surfing community unhappy with the outcome, questioning both the CBWT’s motivation and its authority to make the decision. Baker, who would have stood to benefit the most from having a BWT event at Dungeons, which is virtually his home break, diplomatically voted and expressed his solidarity with the locals.

But several SA based big wave luminaries were less accommodating with the likes of legendary Cape Town surfer and Dungeons pioneer Jonathan Paarman and Durban based watermen Jason Ribbink and former Dungeons champion John Whittle criticizing the CBWT decision as short-sighted, selfish and stunting the development of the emerging local big wave chargers by denying them the opportunity to meet, mingle and learn from the world’s best big wave exponents in their home surf without having to incur prohibitive international travel costs.

One silver lining to the BWT announcement was the inclusion of Cape Town big wave charger James Taylor as one of the six qualifiers from last year’s #ProveIt Challenge. Taylor is joined by Trevor Carlson (HAW), Nick Vaughan (USA), Mark Mathews (AUS), Jamie Sterling (HAW) and Derek Dunfee (USA) with two of the qualifiers gaining entry at each stop on the tour.

The 2015 / 2016 Big Wave Tour (BWT) will showcase the world’s premiere big wave surfers, the planet’s most harrowing venues and an unparalleled display of adventure, competitive drama and athleticism, all accessible at WorldSurfLeague.com.

Featuring fields of 24 of the best big wave surfers in the world, the WSL BWT events cover seven different potential venues across three continents all anticipating waves in excess of 25-feet to run. With a global forecasting partner in Surfline, event organizers have allocated the following windows for the various events, each only requiring one day of extraordinary surf to run:

Quiksilver Ceremonial: Punta de Lobos: Chile (April 15, 2015 – August 31, 2015)
Billabong Pico Alto: Pico Alto: Peru (May 15, 2015 – August 31, 2015)
Puerto Escondido Challenge: Puerto Escondido, Mexico (May 15, 2015 – August 31, 2015)
Oregon Challenge: Lincoln City, Oregon (October 15, 2015 – February 28, 2016)
Punta Galea Challenge: Punta Galea, Basque Country Spain (October 15, 2015 – February 28, 2016)
Pea’hi Challenge: Haiku, Hawaii (October 15, 2015 – February 28, 2016)
Todos Santos Challenge: Todos Santos, Mexico (November 15, 2015 – March 31, 2016)

“The Big Wave Tour is entering into its second full year under the WSL banner and the enhancements made to this upcoming season are designed with one goal in mind – run as many events as possible in the largest surf on offer,” Peter Mel, former BWT Champion and WSL BWT Commissioner, said. “The schedule is designed with this in mind and we’re excited about the addition of Puerto Escondido and Lincoln City as full-fledged members of the 2015 / 2016 BWT season. It’s never been a more exciting time for big wave surfing.”

The acquisition of the BWT by the WSL will allow for top WSL surfers such as 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), three-time World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), Hawaiian phenom John John Florence (HAW), amongst others to potentially join respected BWT surfers like Greg Long (USA), Grant Baker (ZAF), Gabriel Villaran (PER), Nic Lamb (USA) and Makua Rothman (HAW) in competition with waves in the 25-foot-and-above range.

The BWT complements the WSL properties of the men’s and women’s Championship Tours, the Qualifying Series, Longboard and Junior Championships as well as the Big Wave Awards on May 1.

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Jordy Smith advances to Round 3 at Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia

April 1st, 2015 No comments
Caption: Jordy Smith (ZAF) performs a fins-free manoeuvre off the lip of a wave on his way to victory in his Round 1 heat at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia on Wednesday   Image: © WSL / Cestari

Caption: Jordy Smith (ZAF) performs a fins-free manoeuvre off the lip of a wave on his way to victory in his Round 1 heat at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia on Wednesday   Image: © WSL / Cestari

South African Jordy Smith won his opening heat and advanced directly to Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach as organisers opted to run the first seven heats of the second stop on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) in one metre waves at Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia today (Wednesday).

Smith, a three-time semifinalist at Bells, had to come from behind to overtake rookie Keanu Asing (HAW) and then staved off a late challenge from Adrian Buchan (AUS) as the 30 minute encounter wound down in the waist-high, crosswind surf at the Rincon section of the iconic Bells Beach line-up.

WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow put the event on hold after Smith’s heat. When conditions did not improve he ended the day’s proceedings without any further action.

Earlier top seeds Kelly Slater (USA) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) won through Round 1 while Mick Fanning (AUS) suffered a shock defeat at the hands of wildcard Mason Ho (HAW).

11-time World Champion and four-time Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach winner Kelly Slater (USA) dominated his match-up with Sebastian Zietz (HAW) and rookie Ricardo Christie (NZL), using his experience to claim two 8-point rides, the highest heat total of the day.

“I watched a couple of heats before to try and judge which waves were the best ones,” said Slater. “I didn’t catch my first wave until 10 minutes but it was a pretty good wave and then I was in sync for the good ones. The tradition here at Bells, winning the trophy and the history here all make it so special. You put everything on the line to try and win here.”

Reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina’s class and composure was the difference as the 21 year-old Brazilian locked in two good scores to take the win over two exciting up-and-coming Australians — 2014 CT Rookie Matt Banting plus trials winner Joe Van Dijk.

“Today isn’t typical Bells, we’re surfing up at Rincon which can be hard to surf so I’m stoked to win that heat,” Medina said. “I’ve got a good board for this wave and I’m feeling good, that’s about all you can do. It’s really hard to win this event, especially against all the regular-footers. All I can do is my best, hopefully I finish with a good result.”

Wildcard Mason Ho (HAW) secured an upset victory over defending event winner and former three-time World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) and Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW). Ho landed a clean front-side aerial rotation to take the win and move directly to Round 3 while Fanning and Patacchia will have to surf again in elimination Round 2.

“I definitely went into the heat aiming to win,” said Ho. “It seemed like anyone could have won that heat but I got lucky. I’m bummed I didn’t get a really good back up score but it’s been challenging out there today.”

Today’s other heat winners included Jeremy Flores (FRA), Brett Simpson (USA) and John John Florence (HAW)

With difficult wind and wave forecasts for the entire 12 day holding period, the organisers will gather at 6am local time tomorrow (approx 9pm Wednesday evening SA time) to decide on whether to get the competition underway. When competition restarts Michel Bourez (PYF) will be up against Nat Young (USA) and Dusty Payne (HAW) in Heat 8 of the men’s event.

The Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach, which runs concurrently with the men’s event, sees South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay) taking on Malia Manuel (HAW) and (ZAF), Laura Enever (AUS) in the opening heat of Round 1.

The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com.

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.33, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 11.73, Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.63
Heat 2: Brett Simpson (USA) 15.00, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.33, Kai Otton (AUS) 6.00
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.67, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.06, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 7.73
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 15.33, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 11.47, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 10.17
Heat 5: Mason Ho (HAW) 13.13, Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.10, Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) 13.00
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.76, Matt Banting (AUS) 11.83, Joe Van Dijk (AUS) 8.23
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.33, Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.44, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.20

Upcoming Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF), Nat Young (USA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Owen Wright (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 6: Lakey Peterson (USA), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Coco Ho (HAW)

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za