Home > Contests, Girls Surfing, Longboarding, SSA, WSL > Testing Conditions Challenge Competitors on Day 1 of Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic pres by Quiksilver

Testing Conditions Challenge Competitors on Day 1 of Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic pres by Quiksilver

April 6th, 2018

Dillon Hendricks (Jeffreys Bay) was one of the standout performers on the opening day of the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic pres. by Quiksilver Photo: WSL / Thurtell

Conditions that started out sublime, deteriorated into a gale-force buster and then returned to gentle offshore challenged the top class field on the opening day of the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic pres. by Quiksilver in the Eastern Cape on Friday.

Organisers ran through the opening rounds of the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) men’s and women’s events and the Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) men’s and women’s events in an attempt to get as much of the contest as possible completed before Sunday when a huge swell is predicted to slam into the area.

It was the women who created the highlights and the biggest upsets with reigning WSL Africa champion Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) producing the ride of the day, a near-perfect 9.25 out of 10 for a series of high performance manoeuvres. The top seed could only add a 4.35 to her total and was pushed all the way by eventual heat runner-up Josefina Ane from Argentina.

Ane’s 12.10 point heat tally was enough to upset Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay), winner of both the women’s and junior women’s events in Port Elizabeth last weekend, and the young South American in her first season on the QS is certainly an emerging talent.

Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) accumulated the highest heat total of the women’s rounds – 13.70 out of 20 – and East London teenager Zoe Steyn earned an excellent 8.0 for a dynamic performance on her backhand.

There was also a major surprise in the women’s longboard event when SA champion Christy Gilmour (Durban) was eliminated in her first heat by Marishka Myers (Jeffreys Bay). Tarryn King (Cape Town) was the top scorer in the opening round and will face shortboard ace Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) in the semi-finals while Myers will be up against newcomer Mia Baard.

The longboard men were competing when the buster threatened to blow the contest infrastructure away, but Ryan Lightfoot persevered and seamlessly combined modern and traditional manoeuvres to net a pair of seven point rides and the heat win over fellow Jeffreys Bay resident and former World No. 2 Steven Sawyer. Sawyer was determined to compete despite the pain of stitches having recently been removed from his foot.

Thomas King produced an excellent 8.25 to claim the top single ride of the opening round and also claimed the highest heat total of 14.0, while fellow Capetonian and former two-time ISA World Champion Matthew Moir showed his class with a comfortable heat winning performance.

The QS1,000 men’s event saw the contenders whittled down to the last 16 who advanced to meet the top 16 seeds in Saturday’s Round 4. Longtime East London standout and WSL Championship Tour (CT) veteran Greg Emslie showed that the years have not diminished his competitive juices or his ability as he confidently progressed from his opening heat.

Others to stay in contention included a mixed bag of up-an-coming youngsters and established campaigners with former multiple SA champion Wayne Monk (East London) advancing alongside the likes of Dillon Hendricks (Jeffreys Bay), Calvin Goor (Salt Rock) and Luke Malherbe (East London) who posted the division’s top heat total of 14.25.

The Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic also hosts activities designed to foster and encourage surfing among young people, regardless of their background. These are coordinated by Surfing South Africa, the national controlling body for the sport, and run by SSA Development Officer, Danielle Powis.

Organisers will meet at East Beach at 7.30 am local time on Saturday to make a call on when to get the contest underway, with an 8 am start anticipated.

Live scoring, results, photos and video footage will be available on www.WorldSurfLeague.com and on the WSL App, with highlights on the WSL QS Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

ENDS

About 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 League, 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 in excess of 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 world champions in Men’s, Women’s across all divisions within the tour.

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

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com

About Surfing South Africa
Surfing South Africa is recognised governing body for Surfing in South Africa by the Department of Sport and Recreation. SSA is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).

Issued on behalf of:

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

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