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Bianca Buitendag runner up as Courtney Conlogue and Felipe Toledo clinch Oi Rio Pro titles

May 17th, 2015 No comments
Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay) shows the form that saw her finish second in the Oi Rio Pro, the fourth stop on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, on Sunday  Image: (c) WSL / Smorigo

Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay) shows the form that saw her finish second in the Oi Rio Pro, the fourth stop on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, on Sunday  Image: (c) WSL / Smorigo

South African Bianca Buitendag cut a swathe through the world’s best female surfers as she advanced to the Final of the Oi Rio Pro before finishing runner-up to Courtney Conlogue (USA) in one metre waves at Barra da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro today (Sunday).

Felipe Toledo (BRA) sent the partisan home fans into raptures of delight by convincingly defeating veteran Bede Durbidge (AUS) to capture the men’s title at the fourth stop on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT).

After beating Alessa Quizon (HAW), Lakey Peterson (USA) and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) earlier in the event, Buitendag, 19, from Victoria Bay came into the final day facing a quarter-final rematch with Peterson. She dispatched the American to equal her event best result in Rio – third place in her Rookie season in 2013.

Buitendag then went on to outpoint two-time World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in their Semifinal clash, leaving the current Jeep rankings leader requiring an excellent 8.03 for the heat victory, and qualifying for the second Final of her career.

Conlogue got off to a fast start in the 35 minute finale, keeping the South African in a combination situation and needing to replace both her counting scores until just four minutes remained, and eventually triumphed by 14.50 to 11.10.

“I’m blown away by the passion that the Brazilians have,” said Buitendag. “It’s such a privilege to be here and I just want to say thank you to everyone that came down. I’m not that familiar with going left so it’s been a big surprise for me how far I’ve come in this event. I’m so grateful to be here and be able to do what I love every day.”

The 8 000 points she earned moved Buitendag up two spots to No. 9 on the Jeep Leaderboard that is still dominated by Moore. Conlogue’s second successive victory saw her cement second spot on the rankings while Tyler Wright (AUS) is a distant third.

“The passion of the Brazilians is unbelievable,” said Conlogue after completing her third career victory. “They’ve been screaming and it really makes me want to do well. I haven’t ever had two wins in a season so it’s a great start. I’m feeling good and I want to keep this momentum going into Fiji. I can’t wait for that wave, I haven’t surfed it since I was 11 and it’s going to be so fun.”

Filipe Toledo (BRA) claimed the second CT victory of his career today following his inaugural win at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast at the start of this season. The 20 year-old from Ubatuba and continued his exceptional run of form with a win at the WSL Qualifying Series 10,000 event in Lower Trestles earlier this month.

Previously at third place on the rankings, the result sees Toledo move up to second place on the Jeep Leaderboard behind Adriano de Souza (BRA). The blistering aerial manoeuvres of the young Brazilian in each Round of the competition kept the fans enthralled and Toledo was on top form throughout the event, winning each of his heats en route to Final with consistently high heat totals.

“I don’t know what to say,” said Toledo. “The first thing I did was cry because look at the crowd, I’ve never seen anything like that before. It’s been such a blessed week and I have such amazing friends and family. I need to be grateful for everything I have and everything God has done in my life.”

Tour veteran Bede Durbidge (AUS) has been part of the Top 34 since 2005. The result today is his best since 2010, where he made a Final at the Rip Curl Search event in Puerto Rico, and moves him up one place to 10th on the Jeep Leaderboard. Durbidge previously defeated Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Josh Kerr (AUS) and Keanu Asing (HAW) before facing Toledo in the Final.

“It’s amazing this crowd and I knew it would be a tough heat here against Filipe (Toledo),” said Durbidge. “I knew he’d take it to me straight away and he did with that 10. I just had fun at the end and enjoyed this crowd and Rio. Filipe is only 20 and he’s going to be hard to stop but it feels good to be back on the podium so I’m stoked. This definitely gives me more confidence.”

South African Jordy Smith, winner of the 2013 Rio event, was eliminated by Rookie Ricardo Christie (NZL) in Round 2 this year. Smith’s best result in 2015 has been fifth place at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach at Easter. His 25th place finish in Rio sees him drop five places to 14th in the rankings

Highlights from the Oi Rio Pro are available at WorldSurfLeague.com

The next stop on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour will be the Fiji Pro from May 31 – June 19, 2015.

Oi Rio Men’s Pro Final Results:
1- Filipe Toledo (BRA) 19.87
2 – Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.70

Oi Rio Men’s Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.83 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 6.34
SF 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.63 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 8.23

Oi Rio Women’s Pro Final Results:
1- Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.50
2 – Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 11.10

Oi Rio Women’s Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 13.50 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.84
SF 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.16 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.17

Oi Rio Women’s Pro Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 13.27 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.16
QF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.60 def. Keely Andrew (AUS) 10.06
QF 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.67 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 11.50
QF 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.50 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 10.20

World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) Rankings (After Rio de Janeiro)
1 Adriano De Souza (BRA) 26250 points
2 Filipe Toledo (BRA) 25700
3 Mick Fanning (AUS) 20950
4 Josh Kerr (AUS) 17450
5 Nat Young (USA) 16500
14 Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11450

World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Championship Tour (CT) Rankings (After Rio de Janeiro)
1 Carissa Moore (HAW) 34500 points
2 Courtney Conlogue (USA) 31700
3 Tyler Wright (AUS) 23400
4 Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 21050
5 Lakey Peterson (USA) 20800
9 Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 18250

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

Ballito Pro to host Women’s and Pro Trials events in June

May 13th, 2015 No comments
Tanika Hoffman (Hout Bay), South Africa’s highest ranked World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) female competitor, shows the form she will bring to the Ballito Women’s Pro presented by Billabong in June Photo: (c) Billabong / Patterson

Tanika Hoffman (Hout Bay), South Africa’s highest ranked World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) female competitor, shows the form she will bring to the Ballito Women’s Pro presented by Billabong in June
Photo: (c) Billabong / Patterson

Internationally rated women’s surfing returns to the shores of South Africa for the first time since 2008 with the announcement that the Ballito Women’s Pro presented by Billabong will be run at Willard Beach in KwaDukuza, just north of Durban, on Sunday 28 June.

This QS1000 rated event offers prize-money totalling R30 000 along with priceless points on both the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rankings and the WSL Africa regional women’s rankings.

First run in Durban back in 1992 when the event was known as the Gunston 500, the women’s event established a proud tradition over the next 17 years with former winners including World Champions Layne Beachley, fellow Australian Stephanie Gilmore and Sofia Mulanovich (Peru).

Run once in Ballito, in 2008 when gigantic waves and inclement conditions forced the cancellation of the event with 32 women still in contention, South Africa’s top female surfers are ecstatic about the return of the Ballito Women’s Pro.

“I’m so excited to be competing in the Ballito Women’s Pro and it’s great for women’s surfing in South Africa to have a Qualifying Series event in our local waves,” said Tanika Hoffman, SA’s highest ranked QS surfer. “The event will be an excellent stepping stone for local up-and-coming girls to get valuable QS experience and points without having to travel too far!”

The organisers and sponsors are also elated to be involved in making top-class women’s surfing available again for both the local competitors and spectators.

“It’s a great privilege to be part of such a prestigious event,” said Vangie Boettger, Women’s Marketing & Team Manager for Billabong SA. “Internationally the standard of women’s surfing is at an all-time high and an event of this calibre will help raise the bar amongst the local South African contingent. We are excited to be part of an awesome team to bring back an International women’s competition to the South African shores.”

Organisers are hoping that the country’s top international competitor Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay) will compete in the event. Buitendag, ranked No. 11 after the opening three events on the 2015 WSL Women’s Championship Tour (CT), is currently competing in the Oi Rio Women’s Pro in Brazil.

Willard Beach will also host the Ballito Pro Trials presented by Billabong on Sunday 28 June, giving up to 32 men the chance to clinch the two coveted trials slots in the elite 96-man field who will contest the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong that starts the next day and runs until Sunday 5 July.

The field for the trials is made up of the next 16 highest placed surfers on the QS rankings who missed the cut for the 94 competitors in the R3 million, QS10000 main event. These 16 will be joined by the 12 highest ranked WSL Africa members plus two Billabong wildcards and two surfers to be selected by Surfing South Africa (SSA).

This gives local surfers an invaluable opportunity to earn rankings points that will enable them to qualify for higher rated events internationally and prize-money to help finance their travel costs. The recipients of the two trials slots are guaranteed a minimum of 550 points plus US $750 (about R9 000) in Round 1 of the main event

While the surfers ride the waves, the Ballito Pro Festival is set to turn up the heat in KwaDukuza by offering the best in beach, music and extreme sports entertainment. Locals and holiday-makers will be spoilt for choice with the week-long festival featuring an
extreme sports programme, the Coastal Living Bru Food & Wine Festival and an exciting retail area while 5FM brings some of South Africa’s most talented music acts to the stage.

The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong is proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, Billabong, 5FM, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).

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: 082 699 4493
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

Fifth place for Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker at Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational in Chile

May 2nd, 2015 No comments
Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban) in action during his semi-final victory in the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational in Chile on Friday  Photo: WSL / Azocar

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker (Durban) in action during his semi-final victory in the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational in Chile on Friday  Photo: WSL / Azocar

Durbanite Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker placed fifth in the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational which was won by Makuakai Rothman (HAW) in huge 10 – 13 metre (30 – 40 foot) waves at Punta De Lobos in Peru on Friday.

The 24-man field was given the green light for the event to run on Thursday but the predicted swell did not materialise until late in the day. Organisers eventually got the event underway in 5 to 8 metre waves at 3pm and completed all four Round 1 heats before dark.

Baker, the 2013 World Big Wave Champion, was in the first heat of the day and won the six-man clash convincingly. He recorded scores of 8.83 and 8.33 (both out of 10) on his two counting rides for a heat total of 25.99 points (out of 30) as the highest single score for each competitor is doubled in value.

Capetonian Frank Solomon, who had only arrived at the contest site at 4am that morning after his surfboards were lost in transit, just failed to advance to the semis when he finished in fourth place behind Baker, local and defending event champion Marcos Monteiro (CHL) and Koa Rothman (HAW).

The swell filled in overnight and the semi-finalists were greeted by enormous walls of water peeling down the left-breaking point at first light on Friday. Baker again dominated his encounter, posting rides of 8.83 and 6.57 to finish five points ahead of eventual event runner-up Cristian Merello (CHL) and eight ahead of event winner Rothman.

In the second semi, local standout Ramon Navarro rode what was considered the biggest wave of the day, a massive 15 metre mountain of water that earned the Chilean a near perfect score of 9.70.

The final belonged to Rothman who rode a total of six waves including a pair of eight pointers. Baker was only in position to ride two waves and finished behind Merello, Navarro and American Nic Lamb. Australian Mark Mathews was sixth.

The Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational was the first event on the 2015 / 2016 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT). Two more events in Peru and Mexico are scheduled for the period May 15 to October 31.

Those are followed by four events in Oregon, Baja California, Maui and the Basque country during the period October 15 to February 28, 2016 before the 2015/16 world champion big wave surfer will be crowned.

See all the results plus photos and video footage from the Punta De Lobos event at http://bit.ly/1OOK0g5

Results of the Quiksilver Ceremonial Big Wave Invitational
FINAL
1. Makuakai Rothman HAW 24.29
2. Cristian Merello CHL 23.17
3. Ramon Navarro CHL 22.31
4. Nic Lamb USA 20.74
5. Grant Baker ZAF 19.79
6. Mark Mathews AUS 17.97

Semifinals (Top 3 to final)
SF1: 1. Grant Baker ZAF 24.23, 2. Cristian Merello CHL 19.77,3. Makuakai Rothman HAW 16.67,4. Koa Rothman HAW 16.49,5. Marcos Monteiro BRA 15.19, 6. Mark Healey HAW 14.24
SF2: 1. Ramon Navarro CHL 26.30,2. Mark Mathews AUS 25.93, 3. Nic Lamb USA 25.34, 4. Damien Hobgood USA 24.49, 5. Diego Medina CHL 19.77, 6. Carlos Burle BRA 6.37

Round 1 (Top 3 to semi-finals)
H1: 1. Grant Baker (ZAF) 25.99pts, 2. Marcos Monteiro (BRA) 25.21pts, 3. Koa Rothman (HAW) 25.00pts, 4. Frank Solomon (ZAF) 19.54pts, 5. Federico Mekis (CHL) 15.57pts, 6. Gabriel Villaran (PER) 8.34pts
H2: 1. Mark Healey (HAW) 26.83pts, 2. Cristian Merello (CHL) 24.47pts, 3. Makua Rothman (HAW) 24.23pts, 4. Renialdo Ibarra (CHL) 21.40pts, 5. Nathan Fletcher (USA) 18.87pts, 6. Miguel Tudela (PER) 10.27pts
H3: 1. Nic Lamb (USA) 27.49pts, 2. Mark Mathews (AUS) 24.00pts, 3. Ramon Navarro , CHL) 22.37pts, 4. Fernando Zegers (CHL) 20.67pts, 5. Alex Gray (USA) 20.16pts, 6. Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 13.06pts
H4: 1. Diego Medina (CHL) 23.31pts, 2. Carlos Burle (BRA) 20.21pts, 3. Damien Hobgood (USA) 19.63pts, 4. Josh Kerr (USA) 17.97pts, 5. Jamie Sterling (HAW) 12.34pts, 6. Anthony Tashnick (USA) 3.66pts

2015/16 WSL Big Wave Tour Rankings
1. Makuakai Rothman HAW 12,500
2. Cristian Merello CHL 10,416
3. Ramon Navarro CHL 8,680
4. Nic Lamb USA 7,234
5. Grant Baker ZAF 6,029
6. Mark Mathews AUS 5,024
=13. Frank Solomon ZAF 1,089

ENDS

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