Billabong Pipe Masters: Medina Attacks Opening Round, Wildcard Kemper Challenges Ferreira

Two-time World Champion and defending Billabong Pipe Master, Gabriel Medina (BRA) earned the highest heat total of the event so far, a 17.30 in Seeding Round 1 Heat 5. Credit: © WSL / Cestari

BANZAI PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Tuesday, December 10, 2019) – The Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, the final stop on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour (CT) and third gem of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, completed its first two rounds of competition in six-to-ten foot (1.8 – 3 meter) waves at the world-famous Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu. 

As the final event of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Billabong Pipe Masters will see the 37th Champion crowned following six weeks of exciting activities along the North Shore. From all-time wave conditions and world-class competitive clashes to movie premieres, skate jams and community giveback activations, the heritage series continues to define the culture of surfing in the sport’s Mecca. 

World Title Contenders on Track in Opening Round

Five surfers are mathematically in contention to win the 2019 World Title at this event: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Filipe Toledo (BRA), and Kolohe Andino (USA). The opening rounds today saw all five make it straight through to the Round of 32.

Two-time World Champion and No. 2 in the world, Medina, scored an 8.80 (out of a possible 10) in Round 1 Heat 5 for an impossibly deep frontside barrel followed by a layback snap to finish off the ride. With confident surfing, Medina didn’t seem to break a sweat under pressure and moved effortlessly into the Round of 32, where he will match up against wildcard Imaikalani deVault (HAW), who is surfing his very first CT event. 

Pipe Invitational runner-up and wildcard, deVault clicked into gear and earned a 5.17 in Round 1 after threading through Backdoor, but fell to last place behind Medina and Willian Cardoso (BRA) and was forced to surf in the Elimination Round against Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) and Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA). The Maui surfer stayed alive in the competition after earning a 4.90 on a Backdoor wave, while Igarashi dropped in on a deep, Pipeline left for an 8.60 and the heat win. 

World No. 3 Smith avoided the Elimination Round with controlled surfing that landed him safely into second position ahead of injury replacement Frederico Morias (PRT). World No. 4 Toledo and No. 5 Andino won their opening Heats 2 and 3, respectively, and will surf again in the Round of 32.  

Kolohe Andino earned a heat win today and will matchup against Sebastian Zietz (HAW) in Round 3 Heat 16.
– redit: © WSL / Cestari

“I feel like I have a good rhythm on how I’m competing this year and I just want to continue that rhythm for the rest of my career,” said Andino. “I just want to go out in my heats and compete. I felt like when I’ve surfed out here before or in the past I kind of surfed from a place of ego where I’m trying to prove something in my heat when actually it’s just a heat, and to advance is the most important thing so I just want to try and do that.”

Toledo competed with a different type of weight on his shoulders today, but was able to advance through his Round 1 heat on top with a combined heat total of 11.93.

“I’ve been through a lot actually, my baby boy has been sick for a couple of days now and I’ve been to the doctor with him twice,” said Toledo. “It just feels good to be around family and all the love from my mom and dad, it’s been amazing. Just that connection with God too has been super healthy for me. I feel good, I feel really good, I feel 100% for sure. Especially when it comes to barrels, I’m not pushing too much I just feel great.”


Billy Kemper (HAW), yesterday’s Pipe Invitational winner, showed up in a big way taking on World No. 1 Ferreira and Michael Rodriguez (BRA), truly shaking up the World Title Race as intended following yesterday’s win. Kemper’s first wave was a committed late drop under the lip on the biggest Backdoor wave of the morning. He disappeared until the closeout section toward Off the Wall, then snuck out perfectly for a 9.4, the second-highest wave score of the day. Despite the swell direction favoring the lefts, Kemper’s work ethic and experience at the break saw him back up the excellent 9.4 with a 6.23 for a smaller Backdoor wave. With a similar approach, he raced down the line and once again snuck out of the barrel before the closeout section.

“Obviously, it’s an honor to share the water with the number one surfer in the world,” said Kemper. “At this point, I don’t care if you’re number 1 or 100 I want to beat everyone. I love competing. This is my backyard and just enjoying myself. I have my wife and children down here, my coach Kahea (Hart) and like I said, just having fun.”

Billy Kemper (HAW) is a force to be reckoned with as he powered through yesterday’s Pipe Invitational and now today’s Round 1. Credit: © WSL / Cestari

Dam levels dropping

The past week has seen the Impofu dam holding steady but still below the needed level to supply water to us. Churchill remains nice and full although it has dropped 1.5% since overflowing a fortnight back. More concerning however is the level of Kouga, our largest dam is by far. Kouga has dropped almost one percent this past week and with no real rain forecast, unlike our northern neighbours. Dam levels have fallen steadily at around 1% per week over the past months so there can be little doubt levels will start to fall. With the upcoming holiday influx of visitors to PE, Jeffreys Bay and St Francis, plus some hot summer days and demand is going to increase significantly.

Most readers will recall that Kouga Dam received a significant inflow after heavy rains in latter part of 2018 and rose from below 15% to stand at around 50% when SFT visited it in February this year. So in less than nine months it has shed 40% of the February level and continues to fall.


Even if every visitor to the Eastern Cape sticks to the 50 litres a day restriction, tens of thousands more showers will be taken by visitors, some will even demand to bath. Thousands more cups of coffee, pots of food, hand washing, toilet flushed will drain our water resources daily and those dams are going to drop, like it or not.

And when our visitors leave? We will be the ones left without water.

So it is up to every one of us to encourage, no demand of our visitors that they take note of our plight and assist us in saving water. Many will come from Gauteng where the recent flooding will have them believing there is no water crisis in South Africa so they will ignore our restrictions.

Every hotel, resort, B&B or AirB&B must ensure they have notices in bedrooms, kitchens, wherever asking, no pleading with guests not to take long showers or baths, not to waste water.

Sound desperate? Well it is!

Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks  speaking on the subject said.

 “The ongoing drought has had a major impact on our water supply. If it doesn’t rain soon, there is a real danger that the storage dams will drop to a level where water can no longer be extracted. It is critical that all of us, young and old, increase our efforts to save water.”

Hendricks encouraged residents to establish a culture of water-saving at their homes.

“Just one flush of the toilet uses five days’ worth of drinking water,” he said.

“You can minimise the amount of drinking water that is flushed down the drain by re-using your bath or shower water for this purpose. A plastic bottle filled with water and placed in the toilet cistern can also help to reduce how much water is used when you flush.”


Part Three of Questions asked with regard to the SRA

The NPC has long been accused of not answering questions posed to them in the past. Seems they are making up for it especially where the committee’s personal integrity is being questioned.

Load shedding is playing havoc with our timetable so we have copied and pasted this Q&A post directly from the Property Owners website to save time and so as to inform those who may not receive the SFPO news.

Question 7

We note in the October Minutes of Meeting of the SFPO NPC Directors that a complaint was lodged against SFPO NPC at CIPC. What is the complaint about, and what was the response to CIPC ?

The complaint lodged by Roy Smith with the CIPC was that levy payers should not have been given automatic membership to the SFPO NPC, but instead membership should have been applied for individually by each levy payer/property owner. While this is what the Companies Act states, the Act also stipulates that the company has to comply with any applicable public regulation. In this regard we had to comply with the SRA Policy which required that every levy paying property owner had to have a vote in the SFPO NPC, and to have the right to vote the property owner had to be a member of the SFPO NPC. This is the reason we made membership automatic to all property owners in the SRA demarcated area. There was also the added benefit of saving unnecessary administration time and expense of processing 1,590 manual membership applications. We would rather spend this money and time on our SRA projects, and avoid our levy payers having to spend their own personal time and expense applying for membership.

Question 8

Why was the SRA AGM not held by September 2019 as required by the Kouga Municipality Policy and MOI?

The SFPO NPC is obliged by the Companies Act to hold its AGM within 15 months of its last AGM. The last AGM was held on 09 November 2018. The minutes from this AGM recorded that the next AGM would be held in December 2109. We have scheduled our next AGM for 17 December 2019 to ensure we give all of our property owners the most opportune time to attend when many are taking their Christmas holiday in St Francis Bay. It is unreasonable to demand that the Board schedules a special meeting so close to the AGM at a time when most property owners are unable to attend. This resolution clearly demonstrates a cynical and devious attempt by this group of 30 property owners to exclude non‐resident property owners from attending such meetings

Question 9

Why have the SRA Annual Financial Statements not been submitted to Kouga Municipality as per Kouga policy?

We agreed a revised timeline for the audited financial statements to be completed and submitted to the KLM. The reasons were a combination of the availability of the auditors to undertake the work, and the fact that this was the first audit in which both our own administration and the auditors had the required documentation available to complete the audit effectively. The audited financial statements for the 2018/19 financial year have been submitted to KLM.

Question 10

We have learned that the SFPO NPC Directors have issued a letter that threatens legal action against certain SFPO Members. Why?

This refers to letters sent from the CRA to the SRA dated 9 and 10 September 2019. We have copied resolution 7 below for reference. The SFPO NPC answer runs below.

“In lieu of the fact that there was no transparency in the procurement process of awarding the contract to the CCTV Security Company and the Construction Company responsible for upgrading the entrance to St Francis Bay, that a life style audit be conducted on the Board of Directors to give members the assurance there was no undue benefit gained.”

This is blatantly defamatory against all the Directors, and we have issued a letter that defends our rights. 

There is no evidence provided whatsoever that suggests any of the Directors have benefited out of the awarding of contracts. The Roads project was managed by EAS and the Board accepted their recommendation based on the tenders received and assessed by EAS. The lowest priced bid was accepted. The reputations of all tenderers were verified when the award was made. The CCTV award was made to the bidder with the lowest price, and the RFI and RFP were overseen by a steering committee consisting of all security organisations in St Francis Bay, including Neighbourhood Watch, SAPS, Municipal Law Enforcement, private security companies, St Francis Police Sector Forum (John Hammond), St Francis Bay Police Sector Forum (Nigel Aitken), the SFPO Association and the SFPO NPC.

More Answers on the SRA

The St Francis Property Owners Non Profit Company (NPC) have posted another in their series of answers to questions on their website.  These questions are those put to the NPC by what has become known as the “Group of 30” mostly members of the Concerned Residents Association (CRA) headed by Angela Cadman who are opposed to the work being done by the SRA.

Interesting to see residents in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth are calling for a Special Rates Area (SRA). It won’t be Port Elizabeth’s first but it surely proves that other communities realise the only way they will fix their particular precincts is to pay for it themselves. Possibly the CRA should consider their legal action against Kouga municipality as “unnecessary, fruitless and wasteful expenditure”.

So to the answers to the questions  posed by the ‘Group of 30’

Questions 1 & 2 available on previous news post

Question 3:

Why was the change in the Business Plan priorities not submitted for approval to SRA Members at an Ordinary Members Meeting?    

Our SRA Business Plan showed the major road intersections as the starting point for the arterial roads restoration. The presentation we gave at the December 2018 Members meeting shows the Village Entrance project as the first roads project.

Question 4:

Why was the change not also referred to Kouga Council as per the prescripts in the Kouga Property Rates Policy?

There were no change in business priorities. We do not need to go back to KLM if we do decide to change priorities, as this is a management decision. We would have to go back if we changed the fundamental scope of the SRA eg replaced arterial road restoration with fixing potholes.

Question 5:

We understand that there is great dissatisfaction with the St Francis Bay Entrance Project, which is generally deemed as unnecessary, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

The Entrance road is our busiest road. We chose this as our start to our work on our arterial roads, and this intersection required a rebuild of the road as well as including embayments to improve pedestrian and traffic safety at our busiest intersection. The Links was also willing to contribute to this project, which is important because the levy raises some 50% of our total funding requirements.

Question 6:

The operation of the CCTV System falls far short of what was initially promised by SFPO. Have you conducted follow-up meetings with SRA Members to address these problems?

The CCTV project was presented in detail at our December 2018 AGM and was also endorsed. The CCTV cameras met both our budget and selection criteria overseen by a group representing the Security industry in St Francis Bay. The cameras are current technology with a strong emphasis on intelligent computer analytics that alert control room monitoring agents. This is the direction CCTV surveillance is moving in.

We look forward to publishing some more Q&A’s.

Pipe Invitational to Determine Wildcards for Billabong Pipe Masters

The 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters will commence with the Pipe Invitational, which will determine the event’s wildcards. – Credit: © WSL / Sloane

BANZAI PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Monday, December 9, 2019) – The Pipe Invitational, the 32-surfer trials event, has been called ON and will determine the two wildcards into the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, the final stop on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour (CT). The event will start at 8:00 a.m. HST in four-to-six foot (1.2 – 1.8 meter) waves at Pipeline.

“The new WNW swell has filled in overnight providing clean surf at Pipe and Backdoor from a really good direction,” said WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Competition Director, Marty Thomas. “The swell will slowly build through the day, we are looking forward to an exciting trials competition to kick off the Billabong Pipe Masters.”

Pipe Invitational to Determine Event Wildcards

Today’s draw for the Pipe Invitational is comprised of the top Hawaii competitors from the 2019 Volcom Pipe Pro and the International and Regional QS, event sponsor wildcards, standout Pipe performers, the Vans Triple Crown contender, and the previous year’s Pipe Invitational winner.

The winner and the runner-up of the Pipe Invitational will face either World No. 1 Italo Ferreira (BRA) or World No. 2 Gabriel Medina (BRA) in the opening round of the Billabong Pipe Masters and have the opportunity to play spoiler in the 2019 World Title race.

As the 11th and final stop of the men’s 2019 CT, the World Title will be decided at this event. There are only five surfers mathematically in contention to win it all: Current World No. 1 Italo Ferreira (BRA), No. 2 Gabriel Medina (BRA), No. 3 Jordy Smith (ZAF), No. 4 Filipe Toledo (BRA), and No. 5 Kolohe Andino (USA)

Men’s World Title scenarios ahead of the 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters:
– If Italo Ferreira wins Pipe, he clinches the World Title;
– If Ferreira gets a 2nd, Gabriel Medina & Filipe Toledo will need a 1st to take the World Title from Ferreira;
– If Ferreira gets a 3rd, Medina needs a 2nd, Toledo & Smith a 1st;
– If Ferreira gets 5th, Medina needs a 3rd, Toledo a 2nd, Smith a 1st;
– If Ferreira gets 9th, Medina needs a 5th, Toledo a 3rd, Smith a 2nd & Kolohe Andino a 1st; 
– If Ferreira gets 17th/33rd, Medina & Toledo will need a 9th, Smith a 5th & Andino a 2nd

Less than 2,000 points separate the Top 4 going into surfing’s ultimate proving ground. Ferreira (51,070 points) could claim his maiden World Title, but he will need to best his four challengers, including Medina (50,005 points) who is fighting to defend his crown as the two-time reigning World Champion. Smith (49,985 points), Toledo (49,145 points), and Andino (44,665 points) will be on the hunt for both their maiden World Titles but also their first win at the Billabong Pipe Masters. 

The Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons will be broadcast LIVE on, the free WSL app, and