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McGillivray, Bulard and Beukes Take Titles at Vans Surf Pro Classic

June 3rd, 2018

Cannelle Bulard (Reunion Island), Eli Beukes (Kommetjie) and Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) took the Women’s, Junior Men’s and Men’s titles in the 2018 Vans Surf Pro Classic at Lamberts Bay on Sunday Image: WSL / Van Gysen

YoYo’s Fires and Performances Soar on Final Day

Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay), Cannelle Bulard (Reunion Island) and Eli Beukes (Kommetjie) took the Men’s, Women’s and Junior Men’s titles respectively at the 2018 Vans Surf Pro Classic in Lamberts Bay on Sunday.

The final day produced incredible high-scoring encounters as YoYos delivered pumping 1.5 to 2 metre waves in clean offshore conditions and even though the wind freshened into a Southerly crosswind later in the day, the final heat of the day saw the event’s highest score.

The men’s event was upgraded to a World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1,500 rating for 2018 and the 64-man field was whittled down to the last eight all of whom had hopes of taking home the R40,000 prize purse and the precious 1,500 points on the international leaderboard.

The final saw Jeffreys Bay buddies and training partners Dylan Lightfoot and Matt McGillivray go head to head with Lightfoot starting the stronger, leaving McGillivray needing to better 14 points before he’d even caught a good wave.

But once McGillivray did get his first lined up righthander, he went ballistic with a couple of strong turns on the outside and then going for broke with a high risk aerial on the inside. The country’s highest QS rated surfer then went from strength to strength, overtaking Lightfoot with a 7.5 and then slamming the door with another gigantic aerial that the judges rewarded with a 9.65

Although Lightfoot was surfing really well, the 19.16 requirement was a bridge too far and it was McGillivray who claimed the title and moved back into the top 10 spot on the QS rankings he has held since winning the first QS3,000 event of the year in Israel.

“The final went really well, the waves were pulsing which gave us plenty of opportunities,” said McGillivray. “Dylan started really well and got two good waves, but I just tried to block that out and focused on my own performance.

“My first good score I did a some turns out the back and then there was a nice section for an air on the inside and although I probably should have played it safe, I decided to risk it and it paid off and I’m really stoked I managed to land the air and get a 9.5. That helped me relax and I took the lead with my next ride and then I added that 9.65 for the win.

“This is another keeper result to help my seeding for the second half of the year and hopefully it will get me a wildcard for the Ballito Pro and then I can work towards the wildcard for J-Bay. Nice to know I’m making progress towards my goals, but there’s still lots of hard work ahead. I’d like to thank the Lord for the wonderful waves he gave us for the whole event, and for helping me. And also Graham, my surfboard shaper, it was cool to have him here giving me advice and being able to bounce ideas off him, and my girlfriend Zoe McDougall for her support and always being there for me.”

McGillivray defeated an inform David Van Zyl (Glenashley) in their semi-final clash and earlier ousted red hot Brazilian junior Eduardo Motta in the quarterfinals. Lightfoot had overcome another Brazilian in Luan Carvalho in the quarters and then event top seed Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) in their semi duel.

The 560 points Van Zyl earned for his third place finish was sufficient for him to overtake Jordy Maree (Cape Town) at the top of the men’s regional rankings heading into stop No. 6 on the WSL Africa Qualifying Series, the Jordy Smith Cape Town Pro, later this month.

The QS1,000 women’s final was a tightly contested encounter that was only decided in the dying seconds when Reunion Island’s former star Cannelle Bulard posted a 7.0, the highest scoring ride of the 25 minute matchup against Nicole Pallet (La Lucia), the WSL Africa rankings leader.

“It was really hard out there and we couldn’t hear anything, so neither of us had a wave at the start,” explained the ever-smiling Bulard, who had been a standout in the powerful Lamberts Bay surf from the outset of the event on Friday.

“I had my first wave on the left and after that long paddle I was so tired I had no more arms. But then I got that good one at the end, a seven, in the last 20 seconds. I’m so stoked, I’ve won some points and some money, it’s so cool!”

Bulard, who was competing in her first event in five years, and Pallet each earned 9.0 point rides in their respective semi-final victories with the Reunion Islander defeating an rising star Natasha van Greunen (Muizenberg), who produced one of her best results. Pallet outpointed perennial rival and former WSL Africa women’s champion Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis)

The Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) 1,000 event for men 18-and-under was a hometown victory of sorts as Eli Beukes, who grew up in Lamberts Bay, but now reside with his family in Kommetjie, beat all comers to clinch a title he had wanted to win for years by successfully landing a Hail-Mary aerial manoeuvre after the siren had sounded.

“I’ve always wanted to win this event because I grew up here in Lamberts Bay so to finally win it is amazing,” said Beukes after his first JQS event win. “I started off making a couple of mistakes because the wind was pretty strong and it was difficult to do turns. But once I got priority I was a bit more confident and then I went for it on that final air.

“I’m stoked to come away with the win and super stoked that I’ve jumped up the rankings because one of my goals for the year is to make it into the top four who go to the World Junior Championships in Australia.”

Like the men’s event, the junior draw resulted in four South Africans and four internationals in the last eight. Beukes defeated Dylan Groen (Germany) in the final after accounting Eduardo Motta (Brazil) in the semis. Groen needed an excellent 8.25 and a 7.50 in his semi-final to oust Brazilian Daniel Templar, who had delivered the highest score of Day 1’s action.

The 2018 Vans Surf pro Classic will be remembered for the huge surf that forced the organisers to move the action inside the shelter of the harbour wall on Friday, and for the outstanding surfing and exceptionally high scores when the event was moved back to YoYo’s on Saturday and Sunday.

Full results, along with news, images and video footage will be available at www.worldsurfleague.com.

The Vans Surf Pro Classic is proudly supported by Vans, Zigzag, Hydro Flask, WSL and SSA.

Vans Surf Pro Classic (Yo-Yo’s, Lamberts Bay, Western Cape)

Men’s QS1,500 Final Results
1. Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 19.15 R40,000 1,500 pts
2. Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) 15.70 R20,000 1,125 pts

Women’s QS1,000 Final Results
1. Cannelle Bulard (Reunion Island) 11.75 R8,000 1,000 pts
2. Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) 8.40 R4000 750 pts

Junior Men’s JQS1,000 Final Results
1. Eli Beukes (Kommetjie) 12.40 R8,000 1,000 pts
2. Dylan Groen (Germany) 9.80 R4,000 750 pts


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Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
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Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

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