Event organiser Gregg Clarke gives us the wrap on a great weekend's surfing:
"With about a week to go, I double click, “windguru Port Elizabeth”……oh kak! Pumping SE winds for the final day! So I phone a couple of the boys and I tune we must pray, so we did…and the winds never came, but the swell did! We scored cooking Cobbles in the 2-3ft region, with no real wind and sunny skies- the perfect conditions for a logging extravaganza!
With over 30 contestants out of town, we were really hoping that Cobbles would show off a little! She did. O’s were tuning that these were some of the best longboard waves that they had ever surfed, quite a compliment for little old PE!
It is also the only contest were someone will get knocked out of the event only to be sitting 5 minutes later on the beach with a big smile on their face watching the classic surfing that goes down. This is the driving force within me, which keeps me amping to organise this event! As long as surfing is celebrated here, I will continue to do it. This is definitely not a place for the ego in surfing- just look at some of the o’s short shorts! So ugly, but funny, therefore so cool! Guys were really so stoked to all hang out together and look at the different boards, appreciate the subtle differences in styles and learn more about the art of styling a classic longboard.
Another highlight of the event, was to have, in my opinion the 3 best classic longboard shapers in South Africa watching and judging the event. Greg Smith, Des Sawyer and Mikey Meyer. Listening to them chat to one another sharing ideas and surfing values was truly an amazing experience. These guys have like almost 100 years of combined shaping experience!! They have tried it all, new school old school and they all confess that every day they are still learning! That stuck with me- a life lesson for all- no matter how much you know or how well you surf- you are still just learning!
Anyway lets get down to the surfing! The standard this year was incredible. Much higher than last year with pretty much every heat loaded from about the 5th round.
So lets pick it up from there. If you made this round you jumped straight into the quarters or if you lost, you found yourself in the last of the repo rounds. Names to mention at this stage who never made it past the quarters: Ryan Anderson, Milo Gilham, Matt Macleod and Dennis Can Der Zee. Anyone of these surfers could have made the final, with all of them scoring rides well into the excellent range of 8.5. The biggest shock at this stage was having the reigning champ Ludi, bow out. He was on fire throughout the event, but found himself a wave short in the quarters.
The semi’s saw the Smith family call it a day (Galad and Greg), the last non local Alphonso Peters (from Cape Town) and myself. The waves were so fun in the semi’s with some easily 200m rides being had! Heat totals again were well into the excellent range with not much between the surfers. I had a cracker 300m ride that saw me do the run around, but not even that wave was enough to beat the top loggers.
The final saw two familiar faces from last years final, Craig Cuff and Jamie Morris. These o’s just cruise their way into the finals. New faces were Steven Sawyer and Dean Simpson. Dean started off a bit slow with a couple of dud waves, giving Craig a comfortable lead halfway through the heat. Steve Sawyer had to swim in to collect his board a couple of times, courtesy of the no leashes rule. This put him on the back foot throughout the heat. Dean eventually started to find the right waves and ended the heat with a throw away 9!
Craig was hot on his heels with Steven and Jamie battling for third. Jamie couldn’t find the same critical waves the others could and although his surfing oozed style and class, he had to settle for fourth. The jam packed beach was treated to a truly world class final by our local boys! There were high fives all round and four stoked surfers were greeted by the equally stoked crowd, who gathered on the famous Cobbles rock to take the traditional annual group photo- to remind us that surfing is to be shared and enjoyed by all.
The ladies final saw completely new faces from last years final, with only one local Magreet Wibblelink (from Jbay). The rest were from Cape Town and flipping Australia! And yes, the bladdy Aussie won! Well done to Lucy Small from Oz, she has surfed heaps of logging contests back home and entered the Cobbles Classic for a laugh. It’s the second year in a row that a foreigner has won the Cobbles Queen title, last year Shannon Bolotin from the States was crowned the champ. Margreet grabbed second place with an impressive display of traditional surfing, from the more high performance focussed surfer. Susanne Leigh pipped Theressa Russel for third.
In the Classics division we saw a repeat of last years first and second place, with Greg Smith claiming the honours and Paul O Connel (from CT) coming in second. Greg Smith was untouchable in the final! I’m sure the open division was glad to see the back of him when he was knocked in the semi final, a clear contender for both divisions. In third, we saw Dave Macgregor (who flipping put me in the repo rounds of the open division!) and fourth the legend Johnny “one note” Macleod.
I need to again mention a few of the stand outs of the event. Ludi (Cobbles King 2013), Alphonso Peters (Style Master 2014), Dean “Porp” Simpson (the King), Lucy Small (the Queen), Greg Smith (Classics King), Dennis Can Der Zee (surfers surfer), Kye Macgregor (surfers surfer), Bernie Shelley (67 years old and current Divas SA champ) and Miles Gilham (the most amped logger in the West!). It’s the people like this who make a contest like this so sick! Truly my favourite contest in SA.
A quick thanks to the following sponsors:
O Neil- main sponsor of the event
Von Zipper- associate sponsor
Sector 9 skateboards
Signature Surf & Skate
The Boardwalk Hotel
Greg Smith Surfboards
The prizes this year were amazing with a combined value of about R 40 000! Again an event like this is simply not possible without the involvement from the sponsors, so ja, on behalf of the 90 odd surfers a big thank you all!!!
Till next year,
If you'd like to purchase shots from the event (huge selection incl lifestyle), check out Kody McGregor's full gallery here: