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Record Setting Eight South Africans in Top 100 on 2018 Yearend WSL Rankings

December 12th, 2018

Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) carves off the top of meaty Sunset Beach wave on his way to ninth place in the Vans World Cup of Surfing in Hawaii Photo: WSL / Keoki

– Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) Highest Ranked Saffa at No. 30
– McGillivray, David van Zyl, Adin Masencamp and Dylan Lightfoot Crack Top 100 for First Time

A record-setting eight South African surfers have ended the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) ranked in the Top 100, improving on the five in 2017, three in 2016 and just two in 2015.

The annual rankings are based on each surfer’s best five results after 64 events rated from QS1,000 to QS10,000 on all five continents and featured a total of 1384 surfers. The top 10 in the rankings automatically qualify for the following year’s elite Championship Tour (CT). Qualification for the limited fields in the biggest QS events for the first half of 2019 also will be based on the 2018 rankings.

Matt McGillivray is the country’s highest ranked QS campaigner, ending the season at No. 30. Thanks to his victory in the first event of the year, a QSS3,000 in Israel, the Jeffreys Bay surfer was well seeded in events through the first half of the year. He finished 17th in the QS6,000 Burton Automotive Pro in Australia and won the QS1,500 Vans Surf Pro Classic at Lamberts Bay.

McGillivray went on to take 17th place in QS10,000 EDP Pro Ericeira in Portugal and finished the season strongly with 9th place, and a season’s best haul of 3,800 points, in the QS10,000 Vans World Cup held in giant waves at Sunset Beach in Hawaii last week.

Jordy Smith (Durban) has been a fixture among the world’s Top 32 on the CT for the past 11 seasons and only competed in three QS events this year, finishing No 38 overall after grabbing fifth and 13th place results in the two QS10,000’s in Hawaii along with a low 73rd place for his token appearance at the Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong in June.

Currently CT No. 6 on the CT, Smith is out of contention for the world title heading into the season ending Billabong Pipe Masters, but still has a mathematical chance of becoming the first South African male to clinch the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS) title if he can better his career best fifth place result at Pipeline.

Smith was awarded the VTCS Rookie of the Year title in 2007, while back in 2001Heather Clark (Port Shepstone) won the VTCS women’s crown and she remains the only Saffa to claim the accolade which is second only to the World Champion title in status.

Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) retained his position in the Top100 for the sixth consecutive year, finishing 49th this year after being the country’s top QS surfers from 2013 to 2016. The KwaDukuza based 25 year-old’s strong performances in Hawaii, where he famously scored a perfect 10-point ride for what has been described as the ‘best tube ride in a contest at Sunset Beach’, saw him maintain his seeding for the major events next year.

Indeed, the Hawaiian performances of all the Saffas was really encouraging as the QS season wraps up with back-to-back QS10,000’s where career-changing qualification hopes and preferential seeding can be realised or dashed on a single heat result.

McGillivray’s familiarity with the powerful island waves has developed exponentially thanks to the amount of time he spends with his Hawaiian girlfriend Zoe McDougall on the North Shore of Oahu and this will stand him in good stead for future campaigns. Hawaiian based Capetonian Benji Brand is a standout there and has already won several events and also earned a coveted wildcard into last season’s Billabong Pipe Masters.

Michael February (Cape Town) will complete his rookie CT season at Pipeline over the next week and the difficulty of competing on both tours showed in his QS results as he dropped from 15th to 50th this year, while David van Zyl (Glenashley) has become a force to be reckoned with at both the Hawaiian venues of Haleiwa and Sunset Beach.

QS rookie Adin Masencamp (Strand), who clinched the WSL Africa junior title in 2017 and franked his contest credentials by claiming the region’s open men’s title this year, showed great promise in his maiden visit to Hawaii and has ensured he will qualify for big events next year with 87th place ranking.

Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) secured his Top 100 status with his 49th place result in the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa while Slade Prestwich (Durban) showed the benefits of his busy international travelling schedule and earned his best points haul when he reached the final of QS3,000 HIC Pro at Sunset, finishing fourth behind third placed Beyrick de Vries.

The significant improvement in the ranking of South African surfers can be attributed to the expanded series of regional events organised by WSL Africa Operations Manager Colin Fitch whose tireless efforts to provide local surfers with the opportunities to make surfing their career have really paid off in the last two years.

After more than five years as WSL Africa’s marketing agents, Accelerate Sport have created an exciting package for local businesses which has seen six events added to the regional calendar, encompassing juniors (18-and-under), open and longboard events for both men and women.

The WSL Africa membership base has also increased dramatically to more than 150 and the prize-money on offer has kept pace with over R6 million up for grabs this year. Much of that comes from the QS10,000 rated Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong which crowned it’s 50th champion this year and has the distinction of being the world’s longest running professional surfing event.

With the likes of Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) clinching the 2018 WSL World Longboard Surfing title, Grant ‘Twig’ Baker (Durban) heading the WSL Big Wave Tour rankings with just one event to go, Jordy Smith a perennial threat for the WSL Men’s World Title and rapidly improving results being achieved by the QS warriors, professional surfing in the region heads into 2019 in robust good health.

See www.worldsurfleague.com for more information

2018 WSL Qualifying Series (QS) – Yearend Rankings
1 Kanoa Igarashi JPN 26800
2 Griffin Colapinto USA 24300
3 Seth Moniz HAW 22300
4 Ryan Callinan AUS 21660
5 Peterson Crisanto BRA 20750

South Africans (Top 150)
30 Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 11550
38 Jordy Smith (Durban) 9450
49 Beyrick De Vries (uMhlanga) 8080
50 Michael February (Cape Town) 8050
60 David Van Zyl (Glenashley) 6900
87 Adin Masencamp (Strand) 5350
93 Benji Brand (Kommetjie/Hawaii) 4910
98 Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) 4695
115 Slade Prestwich (Durban) 3860
129 Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay) 3435


About the WSL
The World Surf League (WSL) is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The organization, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, annually running more than 180 global events across the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the 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, and in doing so crowns the undisputed Men’s and Women’s World Champions across all tours.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, John Florence, Lakey Peterson, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most dynamic field of play of any global sport.

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com


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
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za


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