Epic Finish To Billabong Seal Point Pro Junior

Bryce Du Preez and Zoë Steyn Take The Pro Junior Titles

Seal Point, Cape St Francis – For the third day in a row the Eastern Cape delivered epic lines to the point at Cape St Francis, and a few rain squalls and howling offshore wind did little to quell the enthusiasm of the junior surfers.

Bryce Du Preez © Kody McGregor

The previous two days saw some incredible surfing taking place, and the finals day saw the levels upped, and some red hot action go down as everyone vied for the number one slot in the respective divisions.

The U12 Girls final was action-packed. Anastasia Venter was in the lead until the last few moments, when Gabi Herbst picked up a bomb and surfed it all the way through for an excellent 8.35 score and victory from Venter. Louise Lepront was in third, Yannah Figl in fourth and Meka Loots in fifth.

Then all eyes turned onto the U12 Boys division, as this ultra competitive division always has plenty of excitement. David Emslie took the winner’s slot with a very comfortable victory over Levi Kohlnick, with Rory Dace in third spot and Josh Malherbe in fourth.

It was young Sarah Scott who took the deserved win in the U14 Girls final with some fine surfing in the at-times tricky low tide conditions. She took victory from Olivia Winter in second place. Third was Maya Figl and Zia Hendricks came in fourth.

Local surfer Nathan Plomaritis was in great form in the U14 Boys Final and used his experience at the break to full effect. He banked a couple of solid 6-point rides before nailing a 7.25 toward the end of the heat and sealed the victory against Nate Colby. River Gericke surfed well in third place but failed to find any epic rides in the final, and Kyra Bennie was fourth.

Nathan Plomaritis © Kody McGregor

The U16 Girls final was one of the most exciting heats of the day, with the some of the best female surfers in the country going full-tilt for the victory. Zoë Steyn was in a league of her own though, with a perfect ten point ride awarded for a series of backhand cracks down the point, with power and flow. She backed it up with a 9.25 ride for the highest heat total of the event. She had all three of her opponents combo’ed at the end of the heat, with final tally being Kayla Nogueira in second, Ceara Knight in third and Aimee Du Plessis in fourth.

Luke Thompson continued his in-form streak by winning the U16 Boys final, with Brad Scott in second and Mitch Du Preez in third, and with Dan Emslie in fourth place.

Then all eyes were on the Pro Junior divisions, and in particularly the Pro Junior Women. Once again it was a face-off between Zoë Steyn and Ceara Knight, and even after Steyn’s massive U16 final, she still managed to hold steady for her second win of the day, keeping Knight at bay with another well-deserved victory.

“I was really stoked to win,” said Steyn after the final. “The waves were cooking for the whole event, and to get high scores in the final was really nice. Thanks to everyone who put on such a great event.”

Zoë Steyn © Kody McGregor

In a freshening southerly breeze the Pro Junior men’s final took to the water, and it was natural-footer versus goofy-footer in the high performance conditions. The southerly breeze gave the waves a little ruffle along the lip-line, perfect conditions for big off-the-top cracks and power gouges.

Tom Lindhorst on his backhand found a few good runners, but was unable to find the walled-up sets, and was struggling to execute the high scoring moves, but Bryce Du Preez on his forehand found the bombs and performed some radical, high-risk moves for the big scores from the judges. His final wave was a 7.75 for a series of power turns and big lip hits that saw him surf all the way through to the inside, and get the big score and the deserved win.

BOS Highest Heat Score went to Zoë Steyn

VZ Flair Show was won by Caroline Brown

VZ Air Show was won by Eli Beukes.

The Billabong Junior Series is supported by BOS, VonZipper, Surfing South Africa and the World Surf League.

For media queries contact  –  Craig Jarvis  – info@craigjarvis.co.za  –  082 376 4443

Frederico Morais Conquers Victory at Azores Airlines Pro

PRAIA DE SANTA BARBARA, Sao Miguel – Azores Islands (Sunday, September 22, 2018) –  Frederico Morais (PRT) has won the QS6,000 Azores Islands Pro in historic fashion today, claiming victory in the Final bout against Mitch Crews (AUS) held in perfect six foot surf at praia de Santa Barbara. 

Pictured: Frederico Morais (PRT) scored some of the most beautiful waves of the day on his way to victory. – Credit: © WSL / Masurel

Stop No. 10 of 11 on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) European Qualifying Series (QS), the Azores Islands Pro witnessed one of the most epic days of competition on the QS, culminating with Morais’ win in the Final. The powerful regular-foot surfer becomes the first Portuguese to make the Final and win in Azores in an event vastly dominated by the Brazilian contingent since its inception.

“I think today was one of the best days we’ve ever seen on the QS,” Morais said. “It was just a perfect day with big barrels and a lot of opportunities for everyone. This is a dream to have conditions like this on finals day, your result doesn’t depend on luck so much but rather your surfing and decision making, this is what surfing is all about.”

Pictured: Morais and Mitch Crews (AUS) on the podium of the 2019 Azores Airlines Pro
Credit: © WSL / Masurel

Morais had been rather discrete in the early rounds but went on a tear on finals day as he kept finding deep tubes and big sections to lay down his signature power turns. The 6,000 ranking points claimed today will push him up to No. 10 on the Qualifying Series heading into another major event in Ericeira next week.

“Those points are what we’re all after and jumping up in the rankings puts me in a good spot for the re-qualification especially right now before Ericeira,” Morais added. “I’m going to enjoy this moment but not for very long as Tuesday we’re back in the lineup.”

Morais slid under the lip of a clean little right to kick things off in the Final, stood up tall and rode out clean for a 6.17 to get into rhythm. While Crews got closed out on a few times, the Portuguese continued on a second wave with a deeper and heavier barrel and a closeout reentry to post an excellent 8.50 and take a firm lead.

Trouble kept Crews busy as on the next wave the Australian broke his leash and wasted valuable time swimming in to change his equipment. By the time he made it out the back again, 17 minutes had ran away from him and he was yet to put a decent score on the board.

Pictured: Today witnessed moments of perfection like this 10 point ride from Joshua Moniz (HAW). – Credit: © WSL / Masurel

Meanwhile Morais continued to find the gems in the lineup and extended his lead with a 7.43 to eventually seal the deal on his second QS win this season.

Unfortunately Mitch Crews (AUS)  didn’t get many opportunities to fight in the Final as waves kept shutting down on him, but the Australian did get his own deep and clean barrel previously in the Semis. This marks the former Championship Tour surfer’s biggest result since 2013, the year he qualified for the tour.

“I have done so poorly the past few years and have broke both my ankles so I’m super stoked to get a result today,” Crews said. “Today was so sick and I was really tired for the Final, four heats in those conditions was tough and I’m clearly not fit enough at the moment. Azores always provide good conditions, every year we come here and have waves so I hope it continues next year!”

In Semifinal 1, Morais put on a clinic to eliminate Gatien Delahaye (FRA). The Frenchman had been a standout up to that point, even scoring a near-perfect 9.67 for an incredible barrel ride earlier today. After a solid performance in Galicia a few weeks ago, Delahaye showed his current form is there to stay as he moves into the QS Top 20, the highest ranking ever achieved by the surfer from Guadeloupe.

Pictured: Delahaye in a throaty right scored 9.67 out of 10. – Credit: © WSL / Masurel

“I’m really happy to get another keeper result here today,” Delahaye stated. “To finish on a day like this and being able to show what I can do in barrels and turns was just icing on the cake. That 9 I got honestly I wasn’t sure what the wave was going to do and when I saw it double up I really didn’t think I’d make it out.”

In the second Semifinal, the recent winner in Pantin Miguel Pupo (BRA) couldn’t find the waves he’d been riding all day and was forced out in equal third, adding another stellar result to his season tally. The talented goofy foot moves up a spot ahead of compatriot Alex Ribeiro (BRA) on the rankings with 20,350 points, possibly above the projected cutoff line for the 2020 qualification.

“I came to the Europe leg with a goal, thinking three events can change everything, and two already have,” Pupo said. “We really had challenging conditions this week, yesterday was like a triathlon running, paddling and surfing and I was really happy to make it through to surf this today. It was incredible to share this week with my brother too, I think being together helped us relax and enjoy ourselves more and it showed in surfing.”

As the last event counting in the European title race, the battle was close with multiple surfers potentially able to overtake Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) on finals day in the Azores. Delahaye was the closest but he needed to take out the event and was unfortunately stopped in the Semis.

Pictured: Massive sets cleaned up the beach regularly again today. – Credit: © WSL / Masurel

Couzinet’s consistency on the European events was hard to beat as the Reunion Island surfer claimed two equal 3rd in Netanya and Santa Cruz, a runner-up in Caparica and a 5th in Lacanau to claim his third consecutive European QS Title.

“I’m super happy to get No. 3 but it was strange watching it unfold from the sidelines,” Couzinet admitted. “I really wanted the title but at the same time I’m watching my friends compete and I want them to do well so it’s a bit of a strange feeling. Competing in the regional events is always a huge confidence boost and I need this to perform at the highest level so it’s great to have a good regional tour.”

Couzinet adds his name for the third time alongside the likes of compatriots Jeremy Flores, Michel Bourez and Joan Duru, all former European title winners before then went on to bigger and better things on the Championship Tour.

With the completion of the Azores Islands Pro, the European rankings are now final, here is the season’s Top 5:

European Men’s QS Top 5:
1 – Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) ***European Title Winner***
2 – Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 
3 – Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 
4 – Frederico Morais (PRT) 
5 – Gatien Delahaye (FRA) 

Surfers will now fly across to mainland Portugal for the upcoming QS10,000 EDP Billabong Pro Ericeira, starting Tuesday at the famed righthand point break of Ribeira d’Ilhas.