VICTORIA BAY, GEORGE (Saturday 22 July 2019)– Home-grown heroine Bianca Buitendag and Slade Prestwich (Durban) won the inaugural Vic Bay Classic Women’s and Men’s QS 1000 titles at Stop No. 7 of eight on the World Surf League (WSL) Africa Qualifying Series (QS) Tour and the final stop on the 2019 City Surf Series (CSS).
The weather gods played along for the Final Day, despite the forecast of strong winds and massive swell. It was a beautiful day with fun 1 – 1.5 meter (3-4ft) waves on offer from start to finish, providing the perfect canvas for high performance surfing.
Prestwich controlled the Men’s QS 1000 final with excellent wave selection and committed surfing. After securing an 8.75 on his opening ride the Durbanite took off on a set wave at the very top of the point and completed three excellent maneuvers that earned a near perfect 9.90 (out of 10) and a heat total of 18.65, putting his opponents in a combination situation. Australia’s Chris Zaffis stayed busy and sneaked into second place with a total of 14.20 while Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) and Adin Masencamp (Strand) had to settle for third and fourth places respectively.
“This feels so good. To win my first QS event is great but to win at Vic Bay is really special,” said Prestwich. “All the boys were frothing and it was so good to surf with such good waves. I knew today that if you wanted to win, you had to take the set waves. That was the plan and it all worked out.”
De Vries and Prestwich were responsible for one of the day’s upsets in the first Semifinal, eliminating Jeffreys Bay surfers Matthew McGillivray and Dylan Lightfoot. In the second Semifinal, Masencamp and Zaffis earned their places in the final ahead of Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) and Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach).
Local knowledge reigned supreme in the Women’s QS 1000 with Buitendag unleashing her powerful backhand attack to win in front of her home crowd. The former CT surfer picked off the best wave of the heat, going vertical with each carve and finishing with a strong hit to the lip before looking towards the judges who deservedly awarded her with a 9.65. A backup score of 7.25 gave her a total of 16.90 and she claimed victory ahead of international contenders Piper Harrison (AUS), Rachel Presti (GER) and Justine Dupont (FRA).
“In a competitive sport like surfing, we lose so much and it’s easy to get discouraged so I’m really happy to win. Having grown up here and with all the local support, it was a really great event. We get waves like this almost every week, so I felt right at home,” said Buitendag, who will spend the next few weeks in Jeffreys Bay before heading to California for the next major QS events in her efforts to re-qualify for the elite CT.
Buitendag peaked in the final after surfing a conservative Semifinal where she won with two-wave total of 12.75, advancing with Presti as the pair eliminated Philippa Anderson (AUS) and rising teenage star Ceara Knight (Kommetjie).
Former Championship Tour (CT) surfer Justine Dupont (FRA) and Piper Harrison (AUS) advanced from the second Semifinal, with Freya Prumm (AUS) and Leilani McGonagle (CRI) sent packing.
The Junior Women were on fire and it was a close tussle between Piper Harrison (AUS) and South African goofy-footer Zoë Steyn (East London). Both surfers ended up with the same total of 13.50, but in the case of a draw, Harrison’s 8-point ride was the highest single wave score and she walked away with the win. Julia Nishimoto (JPN) and Rachel Presti (GER) were in third and fourth places respectively.
The result saw Steyn take the top spot on the WSL Africa Junior rankings from Ceara Knight with just one event still to be run.
The exciting surfing and high scores continued with the Junior Men’s final where Luke Slijpen (Llandudno) earned his second Junior QS win of the year. Slijpen was trailing Luke Thompson (Durban) who had opened his account with two solid scores. But as time ran out Slijpen dragged himself back into contention with a 7.50 and then sealed victory with an outstanding 9.65 which relegated Thompson to the runner-up spot. Durbanites Karl Steen and Saxton Randall had to settle for third and fourth respectively.
Alongside the world-class surfing action, the City Surf Series events also embrace sustainability and transformation programs such as the Surfing South Africa (SSA) Learn To Surf outreach project in collaboration with Caltex EC, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and Ocean Pledge.
Ocean Pledge will assist in creating ‘Blue Events,’ while the NSRI will be educating members of the public, competitors, local schools and surf outreach programs about ocean safety and ocean awareness.
More information, results and images will be available on www.worldsurfleague.com and on the WSL App.
The final events on the 2019 WSL Africa Tour will be the O’Neill SMTH Junior Pro for men and women aged 18-and-under in Ballito from 27-29 June, and the Ballito Pro pres. by O’Neill for men and women in Ballito from 1-7 July
Vic Bay Classic Men’s Final Results
- Slade Prestwich (Scottburgh) 18.65
- Chris Zaffis (AUS) 14.20
- Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) 13.40
- Adin Masencamp (Strand) 12.65
Vic Bay Classic Women’s Final Results
- Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay) 16.90
- Piper Harrison (AUS) 13.15
- Rachel Presti (GER) 12.35
- Justine Dupont (FRA) 10.50
Vic Bay Classic Junior Men’s Final Results
- Luke Slijpen (Llandudno) 17.15
- Luke Thompson (Durban) 16.10
- Karl Steen (Durban) 14.40
- Saxton Randall (Durban) 9.25
Vic Bay Classic Junior Women’s Final Results
- Piper Harrison (AUS) 13.50
- Zoe Steyn (East London) 13.50
- Julia Nishimoto (JPN) 12.50
- Rachel Presti (GER) 11.00