COOLANGATTA, Queensland/AUS (Sunday, March 19, 2017) - Owen Wright (AUS) and Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) claimed victory today at the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast, the opening stop on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), in four-to-six foot (1 - 2 m) waves at the world-famous Snapper Rocks. An incredible finals day delivered two Australian event champions, and both Wright and Gilmore will take the coveted Jeep Leaders’ Jersey heading into the next event on the CT, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
Wright claimed his third CT victory today by defeating close friend and teammate Matt Wilkinson (AUS) in what was one of the most inspiring comebacks in surfing history. Wright sat out the entire 2016 season due to a career-threatening, traumatic brain injury he suffered on Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii in 2015 and the Quiksilver Pro marked his triumphant return to the Championship Tour after accepting the injury wildcard for 2017. The win today is his best ever result on the Gold Coast and earns Wright the top spot on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“At the start of February, I was sitting in the doctor’s office and there were question marks on the year,” Wright said. “So to be sitting here right now, we just pushed hard and went hard. I confronted every fear of getting back into it. There were a lot of fears I needed to push through in order to get back into the sport and back into what pretty much took me out and could have taken me out forever. I kept going and kept doing it. I am just so stoked.
“I couldn’t have done it without all the support of my friends and family, including my partner and my little baby boy,” continued Wright. “We just kept going and the team just kept saying, ‘Keep breaking it down,’ and ‘Keep going Owen, keeping getting back there.’ This is what I love. This is what I love doing.”
The Quiksilver Pro final saw Wright take on Wilkinson in a thrilling battle of the goofy-footers. Both surfers went wave for wave, but it was Wright who claimed the win with an excellent 8.33 and 6.33 by showcasing his powerful backhand snaps. Wilkinson, with two 6-point rides, was not able to deliver the required scores to defend his event title.
Defending event winner Wilkinson dispatched world champions Joel Parkinson (AUS) and John John Florence (HAW) en route to his second consecutive Gold Coast Final. With two previous CT wins under his belt, the runner-up finish takes Wilkinson up from 5th to 2nd on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“To be in another Final here is a dream,” said Wilkinson. “I obviously wanted to win but Owen [Wright] has made me cry about five times this week. To see him last year was one of the toughest things I’ve ever seen and for Owen to be in the this event is one of the most amazing things, but to go and win is incredible. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to beat me. He’s inspired me so much and to come back and do this is unreal.
“Coming into the event this year I did have a sneaky bit of confidence but you do think about all the work that the others have put in on the off season,” continued Wilkinson. “Now I guess I feel a lot more confident and I feel like my surfing is the best it’s ever been so I’m really excited to go for the World Title.”
2016 WSL Champion Florence was eliminated by eventual runner-up Wilkinson by a narrow margin of 0.40 in the Semifinals. Florence’s 3rd place finish is his best result on the Gold Coast and most successful start to the Championship Tour season. Florence will go into the next event ranked 3rd on the Jeep Leaderboard with the goal of reclaiming the Jeep Leader Jersey from Wright.
“In heats like that, there is isn’t too much that I could’ve done differently,” Florence said. “It is funny because almost the identical thing happened to me last year against Stuart Kennedy, but I am stoked. Third place is the best I’ve done here at Snapper. We’ve got such a long year ahead. Anything can happen and I’m excited. I’m happy. I am going to head over to Margaret River early and try to get barreled before everyone gets there.”
Wright took out 2014 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) in an intense Semifinal match-up. Compared to his 13th place result last season, Medina’s 3rd place finish offers a strong start to his 2017 World Title campaign. Medina is now ranked 3rd on the Jeep Leaderboard.
The six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) claimed her sixth Roxy Pro title today after defeating Lakey Peterson (USA) in the Final. Today’s win marks Gilmore’s 25th elite tour victory and her first since the Cascais Women’s Pro in 2014. The result will move Gilmore up from 6th to 1st on the Jeep Rankings.
“I can’t believe it, I’ve been visualizing holding that trophy so much,” Gilmore said. “It was so hard against Lakey [Peterson]. I’m so happy to have all the support from everyone here and there’s nothing better than winning at home.”
Gilmore previously dispatched three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in the Quarterfinals with a perfect 10-point ride and compatriot Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in the Semifinals. Moore, who came into the event ranked third in the world, will move to fifth. Fitzgibbons’ Semifinal berth will see her climb up five places to third on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I haven’t had the yellow jersey for a while and it’s going to feel so good to put that on,” continued Gilmore. “Getting to win an event again was really cool and it feels really rewarding to win. It’s so far from here but I’d love to win another World Title. It’s the greatest feeling in the world to win here, in the greatest place on earth in my eyes.”
The Roxy Pro Final saw Gilmore and Peterson do battle for the win. Peterson got to work early, posting two mid-range scores, but local favorite Gilmore kicked things off with a commanding 7.93 on her opening ride. Gilmore continued to pull out all the stops with big fin-throws and sharp turns to earn an excellent 8.67, putting more pressure on the Californian, who was not able to answer back. This Final marks the pair’s fourth head-to-head match-up, with Gilmore taking the win each time.
Peterson has been on a tear throughout the competition, posting consistently high scores including a perfect 10 in Round 2 and the two highest heat totals of the Roxy Pro. Peterson previously defeated Johanne Defay (FRA) in the Semifinals and reigning WSL Champion and defending event winner Tyler Wright (AUS) in the Quarterfinals en route to the Final.
With one event win so far during her six year career on the Championship Tour, at the US Open of Surfing in 2012, today is her best result at Snapper Rocks, having previously made the Semifinals in 2014 where she was defeated by Bianca Buitendag (ZAF). Today’s result sees her move up from 13th to 2nd place on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I can’t complain too much with the result,” Peterson said. “I just missed it by one spot so it keeps the fire lit in me. It stings a little, but I really think I put together a great contest and did my absolute best. It was a really fun time and I’m so stoked the waves worked out as well, we got pumping surf for this event. To compete against Stephanie [Gilmore] here gives me chills and is one to remember.
“Margaret River is a big shift, but I’m excited this year,” Peterson continued. “I feel pretty comfortable in the bigger stuff now so I hope we get some waves. Everyone is surfing so well this year so it’s really fun to be part of it. I want to win the World Title for sure. After sitting on the sidelines and watching Tyler [Wright] dominate last year, I wanted to tap into that and come out guns blazing.”
Reigning WSL Champion and defending event winner Tyler Wright (AUS) was eliminated by Peterson in the Quarterfinals. Wright, with a 9.93 two-wave combined score, could not find the waves to escape Peterson’s near-perfect 9.27 and 7.83. Wright’s 5th place result will move her from first to 5th on the Jeep Leaderboard heading into the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
“We really missed Lakey [Peterson] on tour last year so it’s amazing to have her back,” Wright said. “She came out hard and put me on the back foot and I never really got back on the front. This is a new year so I’m not going to focus too much on last year. It was tough but all and all I’m pretty happy with how I surfed.”
In their eighth head-to-head match-up, Medina earned his sixth win over 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in the all-star Quarterfinal heat. The battle for the win came down to the dying seconds where both put all on the line in their last ride. Medina came away with the win after being awarded a near-perfect 9.17 to Slater’s 7.50. The four-time event winner will be eliminated with a 5th place result to kickstart his hunt for a 12th World Title.
2017 CT Rookie Connor O’Leary (AUS) put up a solid fight against Owen Wright in the Quarters. With a slow start to the heat, the critical exchanges came down to the final minute where Wright got the edge to take the win. As the only rookie to make it this far in the men's event, O’Leary’s Rookie of the Year campaign is looking strong. He will head into the next event moving up to 5th on the Jeep Leaderboard.
En route to the Semifinals, Florence knocked out Brazilian challenger Italo Ferreira (BRA) in the Quarterfinals. Ferreira will earn an Equal 5th place finish, his best ever result on the Gold Coast.
Highlights from the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast are available at WorldSurfLeague.com.
The next stop on the 2017 WSL Championship Tour is the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Western Australia from March 29 to April 9. The event will be broadcast LIVE via WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and the WSL’s Facebook page as well as Fox Sports in Australia, Sky NZ, SFR Sports in France, Sport TV in Portugal, EDGE Sports in China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and other territories and on Globo TV in Brazil.
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 - Owen Wright (AUS) 14.66
2 - Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.50
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results (1st to SF, 2nd = 5th):
SF 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.90 def. John John Florence (HAW) 15.50
SF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 15.74 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.44
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results (1st to SF, 2nd = 5th):
QF 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.00 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.37
QF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 14.86 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.33
QF 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.00 def. Connor O'Leary (AUS) 11.76
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.34 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 13.83
2017 WSL Men’s Jeep Leaderboard (After Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast):
1 - Owen Wright (AUS) 10,000 pts
2 - Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 8,000 pts
3 - John John Florence (HAW) 6,500 pts
3 - Gabriel Medina (BRA) 6,500 pts
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.60
2 - Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.66
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results (1st, 2nd):
SF 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 18.60 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.70
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.27 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.86
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results (1st to SF, 2nd = 5th):
QF 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.44 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 9.50
QF 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 17.10 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 9.93
QF 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.00 def. Keely Andrew (AUS) 13.63
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.50 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.83
2017 WSL Women’s Jeep Leaderboard (After Roxy Pro Gold Coast):
1 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10,000 pts
2 - Lakey Peterson (USA) 8,000 pts
3 - Johanne Defay (FRA) 6,500 pts
3 - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6,500 pts
Photo credits: WSL/Cestrai/Sloane
Pollock Beach in Nelson Mandela Bay to host the South African Grommet Surfing Games for the 25th year.
Over 120 surfers representing eight Districts out of three Provinces will compete in the historical 25th edition of the Billabong South African Grommet Games presented by Sea Harvest, at Pollock Beach in Nelson Mandela Bay from Saturday to next Tuesday (March 18th to 21st).
This unique surfing tournament is supported by Billabong, Sea Harvest, the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and the National Lotteries Commission and will get under way on Friday March 17th at 7.00pm when the official opening function takes place in the Victoria Park Grey Primary School Hall in Walmer.
The SA Grommet Games began as the Development Championships and was Introduced into South African surfing culture after unification in 1991 as part of Surfing’s commitment to transformation and development. The objective of the event in 1991 was to give young surfers from different backgrounds, communities and cultures the opportunity to participate in a an event that not only had a competitive element but also focused on fun and camaraderie.
Many South African surfers who began their competitive surfing careers at this event have gone on to compete at National and International level and are evidence that the strategy behind the presenting of the annual grommet Games is sound.
The Billabong SA Grommet Games presented by sea Harvest continues to be a premier event on the annual surfing south Africa calendar and is regarded by Surfing South Africa as a vital and important tournament. It certainly takes its place with distinction alongside other major National events and is a defining tournament on the Surfing South Africa calendar.
The Grommet Games features eight divisions for girls and boys with the youngest surfers in the contest competing in the Under 8 Division and the oldest taking part in the competitive Under 16 Boys and Girls group.
The Grommet Games highlights the ongoing transformation process within Surfing South Africa and Districts are set strict criteria by Surfing South Africa when it comes to selecting their teams.
While much of the focus is on surfing, events such as a paddle battle, beach flags and the Sea Harvest Aloha Cup tag team surfing competition are included in the activities that take place over the four days.
The Team with the highest points total will take home the Mandela Bay Trophy, which has been won by Cape Town Surf riders since 2014 while the team that displays the most spirit and support during the contest will win the coveted Team Spirit Trophy.
Teams competing at this year’s event are from the City of Cape Town Surfriders, Cape Winelands Surfriders, Eden Surfriders, Buffalo City Surfriders, eThekweni Surfriders, Ugu Surfriders, the newly formed iLembe Surfriders and the hosts, Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders.
The Billabong SA Grommet Games is supported by Billabong, Sea Harvest, the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and Lotto.
The event is presented and produced by Surfing South Africa and hosted by the Nelson Mandela Surfriders.
Surfing South Africa is the recognized governing body for the sport in South Africa and a member of the South African Confederation of Sport and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).
Wednesday 1 March 2017
Launch of City Surf Series heralds Africa’s Best Ever Year for WSL Surfing
- WSL Africa to Host 13 Events Offering Prize-Money Totaling R13 million in 2017
- Participants Include Men, Women, Junior Men, Junior Women and Outreach Programmes
Africa’s best ever year for professional surfing was launched yesterday (Tuesday) when the 2017 WSL Africa schedule featuring 13 events totaling R13 million in prize-money was unveiled at a media function in Durban to announce the inaugural Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing presented by Hurley.
Taking place at locations that range from Lamberts Bay on the West Coast to Durban on the East Coast, and including an event in Morocco co-sanctioned with WSL Europe, the schedule comprises events for men, women, junior (18-and-under) men and women and also incorporates outreach programmes designed to spread the stoke of surfing.
The local events will be a huge benefit to South Africa’s current and future surf stars who will be able to accumulate prize-money and coveted World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) ranking points at their home breaks and without having to incur exorbitant international travel costs. The points will also qualify them for entry into the major events overseas.
The season starts with the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro presented by Billabong from April 7-9, the first WSL rated event ever to be staged in Port Elizabeth. Featuring QS1,000 rated events for men and women plus JQS1,000 rated events for junior men and women, the three-day tournament offers a total prize-pool of R80,000 and is the first of five events in the City Surf Series.
Next up is the Buffalo City Surf Pro presented by Reef Wetsuits over the Easter weekend (April 15-17), where pro surfing returns to East London for the first time in a decade, and the Corona Durban City Surf Pro presented by Quiksilver (April 21-23), both offering the same format and prize-money as the Port Elizabeth event.
May 20-21 sees the BOS Cape Crown presented by Billabong in Cape Town, the first of three stand-alone JQS1,000 events for junior men and women that include the Billabong Junior Series events at Ballito (June 27-29) and Cape St Francis (Sep 22-25). Points from these events will also count towards the 2017 WSL Africa Junior titles and selection of the four men and two women who will represent the region at the World Junior Championships in Australia next January.
The second annual Vans Surf Pro Classic at Lamberts Bay (June 2-4) has added a QS1,000 women’s event to the men’s and junior men’s events this year before the focus moves back to KwaZulu-Natal for the inaugural Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing in Durban (June 14-18) where the men’s event carries a QS3,000 rating and a R1 million prize-pool alongside QS1,000 women’s and junior men’s and women’s events.
Competitors in all four categories will be logging up the air miles as they return to Big Bay in Bloubergstrand for QS1,000 and JQS1,000 rated events in the Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro presented by O’Neill (June 23-25) under the iconic landmark of Table Mountain.
Then it’s back to the mid-winter warmth of KZN for the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong where the women’s event runs June 30 to 2 July and the R3.3 million, QS10,000 rated men’s event will feature 100 of the world’s best surfers from July 3 to 9.
All of the world’s top 34 ranked surfers will be in action at Jeffreys Bay from July 12 to 23 in the newly named Corona Open J-Bay, the sixth of 11 stops on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, where they compete for a share of R7.5 million and ranking points in the race for the 2017 world surfing title.
The final WSL Africa event for men and women is the co-sanctioned Anfa Place Casablanca Pro in Morocco from September 12 to 17 which offers QS1,500 rated events for both categories.
“I’m proud and honoured that WSL Africa has now grown to the point where the country’s current and future surf stars can compete in locally based events and advance their careers by earning enough rankings points and prize-money to qualify for major events elsewhere without having to spend a small fortune chasing around the globe,” said long serving WSL Africa Operations Manager, Colin Fitch.
“My sincere appreciation goes to the local authorities and the SA surfing industry for their support and we welcome the contribution from sponsors like Volkswagen, Corona, Red Bull and Jordy Smith. Huge thanks also to our marketing agents, Accelerate Sport, and to Surfing South Africa and its Districts who are great partners in this region. And finally, this goal could not have been reached without the input of WSL Africa’s dedicated staff and of course our surfers whose continuing support is the reason we now have one of the WSL’s strongest regional schedules of events.”
The Cell C Goodwave, an invitational event that holds a one year waiting period for the best waves at New Pier in Durban, has received a specialty sanctioning from the WSL. The one day event offers a R100,000 prize-purse to the winning surfer.
The five events making up the City Surf Series will each host activities coordinated by Surfing South Africa, the national controlling body for the sport, and run by the outreach projects in the various locations, designed to foster and encourage surfing among young people, regardless of their background.
2017 WSL Africa Schedule of Events
Apr 7-9 Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro pres. by Billabong
Apr 15-17 East London Buffalo City Surf Pro pres. by Reef Wetsuits
Apr 21-23 Durban Corona Durban City Surf Pro pres. by Quiksilver
May 20-21 Cape Town BOS Cape Crown pres. by Billabong
Jun 2-4 Lamberts Bay Vans Surf Pro Classic
Jun 14-18 Durban Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres. by Hurley
Jun 23-25 Cape Town Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro pres. by O'Neill
Jun 27-29 Ballito Billabong Junior Series #1
Jun 30-Jul 9 Ballito Ballito Pro Women & Men pres. by Billabong
Jul 12-23 Jeffreys Bay Corona J-Bay Open – Men’s WSL Championship Tour
Sep 12-17 Casablanca Anfa Place Casablanca Pro
Sep 22-25 Cape St Francis Billabong Junior Series #2
Jan 1-Dec31 Durban Cell C Goodwave
See more about the WSL schedule of events at www.WorldSurfLeague.Com and on the WSL App
About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly 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, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy 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.
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 Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.
Surfing SA Press Release
The SWOT Surf Club A team has won the 2017 Billabong SA Interclub Surfing Championships beating 2016 runners up CYOH Surf Club by a mere 4,4 points in tough conditions at the Seal Point beach break in Cape St Francis yesterday. (Sunday February 12th).
The Muizenberg based Club, whose full name is “Surfers With Original Talent”, travelled to the national Interclub Championships with an A and B side determined to improve on their semi final result last year. Determination, team spirit, good organization and hands on coaching paid off and the SWOT Club returns home knowing that the 2018 National Interclub Championships will be hosted at a venue of their choice. Led by Danielle Johnson, the winning team included her brother Craig, Brandon Benjamin, Papi Makanyane and Dillon Fernandez and was coached by Mark Powiss. The SWOT B Team also did well to finish 10th overall.
This was the third year in a row that Port Elizabeth based CYOH Surf Club has finished as runners. They pushed 2016 champions and hosts Seal Point Surf Club into third place while the JBay Boardriders Surf Club of Jeffreys Bay, came fourth.
Durban based Sisonke Surf Club A team put together a massive performance to reach the semi finals and had to settle for joint fifth place with newcomers Tripout Surf Club of Buffels Bay but Sisonke improved on their seventh place result in 2016.
A record twenty four teams representing twenty surf clubs from as far afield as Johannesburg participated in this annual club get together which has grown in numbers over the last six years.
The event was hosted for the second year in a row by two time champions, Seal Point Boardriders,.
The South African Interclub Championships is a Surfing South Africa event made possible support from Billabong and Sport and Recreation South Africa.
Surfing South Africa (SSA) is a member of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA). SSA is the governing body for all surf riding in South Africa and is recognized as such by Sport and Recreation South Africa.
1. SWOT SURF CLUB A TEAM 139,1pts
2. CYOH SURF CLUB 134,7pts
3. JBAY BOARDRIDERS CLUB 127,0pts
4. SEAL POINT BOARDRIDERS A TEAM 120,9pts
5. SISONKE SURF CLUB A TEAM
5. TRIPOUT SURF CLUB
7. KOWIE BOARDRIDERS
7. JBU SURF CLUB
7. VIC BAY SURF CLUB
10. EDEN UPRISING CLUB
10. SWOT SURF CLUB B TEAM
10. BLUFF SURF CLUB
13. JEFFREYS BAY SURF CLUB
13. SEAL POINT BOARDRIDERS B TEAM
13. SISONKE SURF CLUB B TEAM
13. JAMMIN SURF CLUB
13. MADIBAZ SURF CLUB
19. JOHANNESBURG SURF CLUB
19. SUBMERSIBLES SURF CLUB
19. 9 MILES SURF CLUB A TEAM
19. 9 MILES SURF CLUB B TEAM
19. GRAVITAS SURF CLUB
19. GROMBLITZ SURF CLUB
Defending Champions Seal Point Boardriders host the Billabong South African Interclub Championships for the second time this weekend.
A record twenty five teams representing twenty one surf clubs from all parts of South Africa will be in action at Seal Point in Cape St Francis this weekend in the sixth annual Billabong SA Interclub Championships.
Eighteen heats and 14 hours of competition will make this the biggest Interclub Surfing Championships ever held as representatives of surf clubs from the Western Cape, Southern Cape, Eastern Cape, KZN and Gauteng compete for the National Interclub Trophy.
The Billabong SA Interclub Championships an important Surfing South Africa tournament which is supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and hosted for the second time by the Seal Point Boardriders Surf Club who won the tournament at at Seal Point last February.
In winning the 2016 Interclub Championships the Seal Point Boardriders earned the right to not only chose their “stadium” for this year contest but were also entitled to enter two teams into the two day clash.
This year the Eastern Cape is well represented by a total of nine surf clubs while the Southern Cape has six clubs in the mix. Three clubs from the Western Cape,two from KZN and one club from Gauteng will make the journey to Cape St Francis.
The 2017 Billabong SA Interclub Championships presented by Sport and Recreation SA will use the Aloha Cup “tag” format which sees teams of four men and one woman competing against each other in 45 minute heats. In this team styled surfing contest all the points scored by each of the surfers count towards the final team score.
As usual competition will be fierce in the water but the annual Interclub Championships is an extremely social affair once the heats are over. While there is no Opening function this year there clubs will be able to relax at the St Francis Brewing Company on Saturday evening where they will be able to enjoy live music from the likes of top Jeffreys Bay based longboarder and well known musician Steve “Steezy” Sawyer.
Grant Beck, the Billabong Team & Events Manager is stoked that so many clubs are competing this year. “ We are really looking forward to this year’s Billabong Interclub Championships and we are really happy that so many clubs have entered. This event is pretty special as it gives surfers from clubs from all parts of South Africa the opportunity to get together with fellow competitors, friends and family. It is great to partner with Surfing South Africa and the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and we look forward to staying involved in club surfing well into the future”.
Teams must meet at the Seal Point Car Park at 7.30am on Saturday for the official briefing. The heats will start at 8.00am on Saturday and end at approximately 2.30pm on Sunday.
The heats and format are posted on the Surfing South Africa website www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za .
Surfing South Africa is a member of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA). SSA is the recognized governing body for all surf riding in South Africa and is recognized as such by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa.
The groms had their 2nd NMBS trial at Pipe on the weekend. Kiff waves for the lighties to show their stuff. Well done to all those who surfed, and to the organisers and judges for making it happen.
All images Petronel Posthumus
Some lekker conditions for the lighties in the first NMBS Grom Trial of 2017.
All images Petronel Posthumus
BANZAI PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Monday, December 19, 2016) - Michel Bourez (PYF) has won the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, the final stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) after defeating Kanoa Igarashi (USA) in the Final. The win today is the best result of the season for Bourez and only the second time that the Tahitian has made it into the final series this year. Victory today also marks the third CT victory of his career. Bourez earns himself 10,000 points and finishes the 2016 season in 6th place on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I still don’t believe it,” said Bourez. “I’m just happy to be here. Last year I got injured and it was really tricky and tough for me to come back. I almost dropped off tour. I worked really hard at home and tried to stay positive the whole time. I had my baby after Portugal, so I had to travel back and forth during Europe, which was tough. “It never stops - it’s already the end of the year now and it’s going to start again soon,” Bourez continued. “I’m just going to regroup and have a really big party tonight. I’m super tired but the year’s over now. This is huge for me.”
Bourez, who previously dispatched Kolohe Andino (USA), John John Florence (HAW) and Filipe Toledo (BRA) before taking on Igarashi in the Final, can add a win at Pipeline to previous wins at Haleiwa and Sunset. Only Derek Ho and Andy Irons have also achieved this feat. “John [Florence] is incredible,” said Bourez. “I’ve lost the Triple Crown twice because of him so that was a little payback. I knew I had to push my level even higher to beat John so that’s what I did. We had such a good day today - Backdoor was pumping and I’m stoked. This is the biggest event to win for a surfer and I did it!”
The Final match-up saw slower conditions but a dramatic finish, as Bourez took the win over Igarashi by only 1.36 points. Bourez was quick to post scores and settled for a 5.00 early in the heat. Igarashi waited until the five minute warning to make his first move, a combination maneuver for a 4.17. With Bourez holding priority, Igarashi snuck in a 2.00 barrel ride in the dying minutes of the heat. Bourez secured his win with a 2.53 at the buzzer, leaving no time for Igarashi to respond. In his first Pipe Masters appearance,
Igarashi has set the bar for the 2017 rookies. At 19-years-old, Igarashi is the youngest competitor on the CT and made a splash this season. Today’s runner-up finish marks Igarashi’s best result this year after a run of 13th place finishes on tour and a 9th at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Igarashi took down 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) before facing Bourez in the Final. Igarashi moves up to 20th on the rankings.
“This is a dream come true,” said Igarashi. “To be in that Final with Michel [Bourez] was really cool. It is something I will never forget. The one moment that really stands out to me is in the Semifinals with Kelly [Slater]. I kind of rubbed the heat off and he was in his rhythm. A big set came in that closed out everywhere and I thought that was going to be my last chance. Right at the end, this crazy wave out of nowhere came in. I laughed because I did not believe it. I stalled as hard as I could and once I came out I fell into shock. I am really proud of myself and cannot wait for next year.” A nail-biting Semifinal match-up witnessed the rookie take down Slater, the ultimate CT veteran.
Slater looked unstoppable with an excellent 8.10 on his opening ride and solid 6.90. Needing an excellent 8.83, Igarashi sat patiently with priority. With time winding down, it looked to be Slater in the Final. In the last thirty seconds, a set out the back lined up perfectly for Igarashi whose Hail Mary barrel ride earned him the required score, an 8.83, to advance to the Finals. Slater, the most dominant surfer in this event with seven Pipe Masters titles, will end his season with a 3rd place finish. Slater’s 2016 season saw him claim victory at the Billabong Pro Tahiti and a 3rd place result at the Fiji Pro.
The American superstar will start the 2017 season in 6th place on the rankings. “It’s Kanoa’s day, I hope he wins,” Slater said. “It’s his first time in the Pipe Masters and he’s made the Final, which is pretty sick. He just won the Triple Crown for John [Florence] and put Zeke Lau on tour. Both the Finalists have been really on fire today. I did everything I possibly could in that heat to win but the waves just came to Kanoa. I’m excited for next year. I’m feeling pretty good and I’ve been making some headway with getting myself physically into shape. I think I’ve been surfing well. It’s turning more and more into a chess game now and that’s how heats are playing out.”
2016 WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) was eliminated by Bourez in the Quarterfinals. Florence got off to a quick start with a 7.33 and 6.67, but Bourez flew out of Backdoor barrels for two excellent 8-point rides and the win. Although Florence will end his season with a 5th place at Pipe, the Hawaiian has made history with his win at the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational earlier this year, clinching of the World Surfing Title in Portugal and victory at the Hawaiian Pro, the first event of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Florence will lead the elite 34 coming into the 2017 season, which will kick off on the Gold Coast in March. Florence also capped off his year by winning the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing for the third time in his career.
“It’s been the best year of my life and thank you to everyone that has supported me,” said Florence. “I have had an amazing year and it was a little unfortunate that in that heat I made a couple of mistakes. The waves are really fun right now and I am just stoked to be home and to finish the year. It has been a long year. Now I can just go surfing and take a break for a while.” Kolohe Andino (USA) was also edged out by eventual winner Bourez in a tough Semifinal match-up. Andino took the early lead with a 13.93 combined score, but Bourez locked in a 15.37 for the slight advantage. The American previously dispatched 2010 Pipe Master Jeremy Flores (FRA) in Round 5. Andino’s strong 3rd place finish at Pipe marks his best result at this event. In addition to his great finish on the North Shore, Andino locked in a second place win at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Andino will be one to watch in 2017 and ends this season in fourth place on the Jeep Leaderboard. En route to the Final, Igarashi took down CT charger Smith in the Quarterfinals.
The heat saw a Backdoor shootout as both surfers escaped massive barrels. Igarashi weaved his way through an incredible tube to earn a near-perfect 9.93 and an excellent 8.10. Smith was close behind with a 7.57 and 8.17, but fell short of advancing to the Semifinals. The South African finishes the year as runner-up on the Jeep Leaderboard after his 5th place finish at the Billabong Pipe Masters. “We come here to get barreled and that is what happened,” Smith said. “He [Kanoa Igarashi] just got more barreled than I did. I think it just came down to that one last score. I gave him that wave on the inside that apparently just kept funneling across. The wave looked very small to me when I paddled in, but apparently he got nice and deep. To be honest, all around it has been an amazing year for me. This time last year I did not expect to be here and I just came fresh off an injury. To finish in second is amazing.“ Bourez also dispatched Filipe Toledo (BRA) in Round 5. Toledo, who earned the event’s only Perfect 10 in his heat against Bourez, will finish his year with a 9th place finish and 10th place on the Jeep Leaderboard.
Billabong Pipe Masters Final Results:
1: Michel Bourez (PYF) 7.53
2: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 6.17
Billabong Pipe Masters Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.37 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.93
SF 2: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 15.50 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 15.00
Billabong Pipe Masters Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.87 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.67
QF 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 17.20 def. John John Florence (HAW) 14.00
QF 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 11.50 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.24
QF 4: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 18.03 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.74
Billabong Pipe Masters Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.17 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 4.53
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.80 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.50
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.34 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10.17
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18.10 def. Nat Young (USA) 16.17
Billabong Pipe Masters Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.66, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.16, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 5.00
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 11.00, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.17, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.83
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.24, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 2.77, Nat Young (USA) 1.57
Heat 4: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 12.00, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.34, Kelly Slater (USA) 2.24
Billabong Pipe Masters Round 3 Results:
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.34 def. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 1.93
Top 5 on the WSL Jeep Leaderboard (after Billabong Pipe Masters):
1. John John Florence (HAW) 59,850 pts
2. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 46,400 pts
3. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 45,450 pts
4. Kolohe Andino (USA) 44,150 pts
5. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 39,500 pts
17TH DECEMBER 2016. @ NOORDHOEK.
Ride anything weird. Old boards. Off the shelf items (beds,cupboards,ironing boards),something homemade. Tandem allowed. Anyhting that floats!
5 people per team, R100 a peep. Can also enter as an individual and we will put you in a team.
Winning team take great prize as well as individual prizes.
Enter by phone, facebook or on the beach. Lots of prizes.
Details ph Mervyn 0836556925
Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders had a very successful AGM and award ceremony this past Friday. Check out all those who won the 2016 Special awards, the NMBS Closed results as well as your new Executive for 2017.
All images Petronel Posthumus