Benji Brand Into Round 3 at Sunset After Winning Opening Two Heats
Michael February and Beyrick de Vries Bow Out
South Africans Bianca Buitendag and Jordy Smith progressed to Round 4 of their respective World Surf League (WSL) events at Honolua Bay on Maui and Sunset Beach on Oahu in Hawaii on Sunday.
Buitendag, ranked No. 6 on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Women’s Championship Tour (CT) going into the season ending Target Maui Pro, had a forgettable opening encounter in which she struggled to find the best waves and also suffered a broken leash that necessitated a time-consuming change of equipment.
However, the 22 year-old from Victoria Bay in the Southern Cape bounced back in Round 2, using her signature high-performance backhand repertoire to post a convincing victory over Laura Enever (AUS) in the inconsistent but pristine 1.0 to 1.5 metre waves.
After getting off to a great start in her Round 3 clash, Buitendag was overtaken by Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS). Her runner-up finish means Buitendag now faces a do-or-die clash against good friend Johanne Defay (FRA) for a place in the quarterfinals when competition resumes.
Smith, who has slipped to 29th on the men’s CT rankings after an injury plagued season, gained some competitive momentum for the first time since the Margaret River event in April when he placed second in his opening heat in Round 3 of the QS10 000 Vans World Cup of Surfing.
Competing in windswept, unruly 3 metre plus surf at Sunset, Smith’s powerful, carving manoeuvres on the double to triple-overhead waves earned the lanky 1.9 metre Durbanite a heat total of 13.10 out of 20 and a spot in Round 4 along with heat winner Frederico Marais (PRT).
Benji Brand, whose family has homes in Kommetjie and on the North Shore of Oahu and who competes as a WSL Hawaii member, showed the value of experience in the huge ‘playing field’ at Sunset Beach when he convincingly won both his Round 1 and 2 heats on Saturday. A former finalist in junior events at the break, the 19 year-old caught the best waves in his heats and eliminated a quartet of higher ranked opponents.
When competition in the Vans World Cup resumes, Brand will be in the first heat against WSL CT stars John John Florence (HAW) and Kolohe Andino (USA), as well as US Open of Surfing winner Hiroto Ohhara (JAP).
Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) was unlucky in his Round 2 encounter when he was wiped-out as he exited one of the biggest tube rides of the day, earning just 2.60 points out of 10 for what could have been a heat-winning ride. Out of rhythm for the rest of the heat, de Vries ended his 2015 campaign on the WSL Qualifying Series with an 81st place finish. He pocketed US $500 and 500 rankings points that will not factor into his overall ranking which currently stands at No. 50.
Michael February (Kommetjie) was eliminated in his Round 1 heat on Saturday. In his rookie season in the season ending Van Triple Crown of Surfing events in Hawaii, February produced excellent performances to advance through two rounds in the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa last week and will have gained plenty of experience for future campaigns in Hawaii.
Ranked No. 78 going into the final QS event of the year, February will be hoping that the tally of ranking points he has earned from his best five results during 2015 will be sufficient to ensure that he gains a coveted spot in the elite 96-man fields who will contest the QS10000 events next year.
Both the Target Maui Pro and the Vans World Cup can be watched live on www.WorldSurfleague.com starting at 7pm daily.
TARGET MAUI PRO (Honolua Bay, Maui, Hawaii)
UPCOMING TARGET MAUI PRO ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW), Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 4: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Johanne Defay (FRA)
TARGET MAUI PRO ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 15.37, Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.83, Tyler Wright (AUS) 6.83
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.93, Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.83, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 7.30
Heat 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.10, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.44, Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.34
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.60, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 11.67, Coco Ho (HAW) 11.50
TARGET MAUI PRO ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW) 14.37, Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 11.57
Heat 2: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 13.94, Sage Erickson (USA) 11.96
Heat 3: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.23, Dax McGill (HAW) 13.70
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.20, Keely Andrew (AUS) 8.50
Heat 5: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.64, Laura Enever (AUS) 6.53
Heat 6: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 17.73, Silvana Lima (BRA) 15.27
TARGET MAUI PRO ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 15.07, Tyler Wright (AUS) 9.50, Dimity Stoyle (6.67)
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.96, Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.16, Sage Erickson (USA) 13.10
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.73, Silvana Lima (BRA) 10.20, Dax McGill (HAW) 7.00
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 16.50, Keely Andrew (AUS) 12.57, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.57
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.44, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.97, Laura Enever (AUS) 7.76
Heat 6: Johanne Defay (FRA) 16.60, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 14.50, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 2.20
Vans World Cup of Surfing (Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii)
Round of 64 (1st and 2nd advance to next round)
Heat 1: Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.90pts, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.10pts, Seth Moniz (HAW) 12.96pts, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 9.37pts
Round of 96 (1st and 2nd advance to next round)
Heat 1: Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.97pts, Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 10.34pts, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 8.17pts, Charles Martin (GLP) 4.67pts
Heat 2: Benji Brand (HAW) 10.34pts, Seth Moniz (HAW) 8.60pts, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 3.87pts, Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 3.10pts
Heat 3: Jack Robinson (AUS) 11.67pts, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 10.94pts, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 10.34pts, Evan Valiere (HAW) 4.67pts
Heat 4: Kekoa Cazimero (HAW) 8.27pts, Conner Coffin (USA) 7.56pts, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 6.74pts, Kaito Kino (HAW) 6.20pts
Heat 5: Mason Ho (HAW) 12.03pts, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.03pts, Thomas Woods (AUS) 10.43pts, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 9.00pts
Heat 6: Torrey Meister (HAW) 13.84pts, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 12.87pts, Glenn Hall (IRL) 9.84 pts, Gonzalo Zubizarreta (ESP) 8.13pts
Heat 7: Marco Giorgi (URY) 13.50pts, Joan Duru (FRA) 8.87pts, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 5.40pts, Sunny Garcia (HAW) 2.07pts
Heat 8: Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) 12.27pts, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 11.53pts, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 5.73pts, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 5.47pts
Heat 9: Carlos Munoz (CRI) 11.70pts, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 11.67pts, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 9.94pts, Thiago Camarao (BRA) 3.46pts
Heat 10: Soli Bailey (AUS) 13.00pts, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 9.90pts, Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 8.47pts, Michael Dunphy (USA) 4.47pts
Heat 11: Dusty Payne (HAW) 8.84pts, Pedro Henrique (PRT) 7.00pts, Santiago Muniz (ARG) 6.67pts, Mitch Crews (AUS) 2.93pts
Heat 12: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 14.33pts, Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 11.40pts, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 11.34pts, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 9.90pts
Heat 13: Joel Centeio (HAW) 14.86pts, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 11.57pts, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 8.54pts, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 8.06pts
Heat 14: Brent Dorrington (AUS) 15.16pts, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 14.94pts, Makai McNamara (HAW) 9.17pts, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 5.44pts
Heat 15: Miguel Tudela (PER) 13.66pts, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 12.43pts, Olamana Eleogram (HAW) 10.90pts, Evan Geiselman (USA) 5.76pts
Heat 16: Deivid Silva (BRA) 13.84pts, Bino Lopes (BRA) 10.93pts, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 7.10pts, Elijah Gates (HAW) 5.47pts
NOTE: High resolution images are available to Media Outlets on request
About the World Surf League
The mission of the WSL is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global products across the Samsung Galaxy men’s and women’s Championship Tours, Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels; it strives to put the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.
Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already-passionate global fan base with millions around the world tuning-in to see the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle in the most dynamic field of play in all of sports. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.
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