African Surf Adventure Awaits at Ballito Pro pres. by O’Neill

The Ballito Pro pres. by O’Neill will be an African surf adventure for surfers and spectators alike. The 51st edition of the world’s longest running professional surfing event will take place from 27 June to 7 July in Ballito, KwaDukuza on the east coast of South Africa.

uMhlanga local and former Ballito Pro quarterfinalist Beyrick de Vries signing autographs for his fans  –  Photo: Ballito Pro / Jannsens

“KwaDukuza Municipality is excited to welcome visitors to our region to enjoy the internationally renowned Ballito Pro,” said the Event Coordinator, Collette Bundy. “This year we welcome Sal Masekela, the son of legendary South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela, as the event’s official ambassador for a true African Surf Adventure.”

Sal Masekela is a renowned television host, sports’ commentator, athlete, musician, actor and philanthropist and will showcase the KwaDukuza region as a top tourist destination and as the home of world-class surfing contests.

“This event is a chance for people to experience an outdoor African adventure that surpasses surfing and entertainment. The dedication to environmental sustainability and immersion of the sport into rural communities is proving to be a catalyst for nation building – both for South African people and this beautiful country,” said Bundy.

O’Neill will be the new presenting sponsor for this year’s competition.

“The event has such an amazing history in South African surfing and has been an instrumental platform in getting our local professional surfers onto the world surfing stage for over five decades,” said Paul Canning, O’Neill South Africa Brand Manager. “We look forward to building a long relationship with the KwaDukuza Municipality and presenting another world class surfing festival.”

Local and international surfers who did not qualify for entry into the 112-man main event, will have one last chance to fight for a wildcard slot. This will be determined by the Ballito Trials pres. by O’Neill featuring 16 international and 12 local competitors, set to take place on Sunday 30 June.

Alongside the surfing, visitors will be spoiled for choice with non-stop activities providing even more entertainment throughout the Ballito festival site. South Africa’s hottest musical acts appealing to all tastes – rock, pop, hip hop, kwaito, electro and dance – will be performing live on Salt Rock Beach over the last weekend. Beach and extreme sports, culinary contests as well as quality retail and food stalls will captivate visitors to this coastal holiday highlight. 

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Kromme Descent – almost a Déjà Vu moment

This time last year we published an article on St Francis Today titled ‘Kromme River Descent – A Great Event’.

The article started such

“Wow! What wonderful weather we enjoyed over the weekend. And what a great advert for St Francis with the swimming of the annual Kromme Descent”.

Well this weekend we saw almost an exact replica of last year’s event except this year was even better in every respect.

The weather again miraculously transformed from the cold, overcast and windy weather of the preceding few weeks and cleared into a beautiful 25c degree sunny day with sky as blue as Kouga in the provincial elections and absolutely windless.

It is a team event with two swimmers per team and rather than being an individual event where the winner is the fastest swimmer, the swimmers compete in pairs with the times of both swimmers deciding their eventual success in the placings.

The race is swum over two days ending halfway on day one with lunch at the lodge on the river banks where competitors share their experiences of their swim with family and friends gathered at the halfway mark to support them. Swim times over the first leg ranged from just over an hour for the fastest and around two hours for those coming in at the back of the field.

Day Two kicked off on another glorious sunny warm day, again thankfully windless. Maybe that should read ‘splashed off’ but unlike the first day where all swimmers start almost together, the second day uses a staggered start where the fastest swimmers left last allowing most swimmers to arrive at The Cove around about the same time.

The gathered flotilla then ferried the swimmers to Quaysyde to celebrate and for prize giving.

What a truly great event and wonderful to see how St Francis is attracting  athletes from around the country to compete in some rather unique events with both the King of the Kromme paddling event and the Kromme Descent attracting compitors from Cape Town, Durban and Gauteng.

Accolades must go out to the organisers, Haydn Holmes of Liquid Lines and his team. Haydn, of the winning team from last year, swapped his wetsuit for a stopwatch and iPad this year. It really makes a huge difference for the media to have results available almost immediately after an event rather than days later when interest in the event has already waned.

Well done Haydn, your team of organisers and of course, all the swimmers who braved the freezing waters of the Kromme to make the 2019 event such a great success.

Winners Men Division – Brad Reen and Gary Albertyn

Winners Ladies Division – Antonelle Suporta and Lindi Mae Humphreys

Mixed Division Winners – Mick Lindsay and Megan Albertyn

All the results



Sponsors deserve payback!

Other than an advert placed by Cape St Francis Resort the South African Longboard Surf Championship kicking off today the event could have past unheralded and unnoticed by most. Certainly the surfing community would be aware for their playground at Seal Point will be largely off-limits whilst the event is in progress but for the rest of us this event has been extremely poorly promoted by the organisers.

Sponsorship is the lifeblood of modern sport and without it sportsmen and women would enjoy little of the benefit and privilege they do today. Individual sponsorship is the most visible with superstars like Tiger Woods earning millions of dollars for wearing his main sponsors ‘tick’. Certainly he is at the pinnacle of sport sponsorship but every professional, even some amateur sportsmen receive sponsorship in one form or other and most would be unable to a standard required of them without sponsors assistance.

But it is not only the sportsmen and women that need sponsorship to survive. Sporting events and indeed sporting bodies also need the support of sponsors to assist them in staging events, cover administration and organisational expenses , offer prize money, medals, tee-shirts and publicity. In fact a portion of any sponsors money should be spent on the promotion and reporting of an event for this is where the sponsors get their payback.

Sponsorship is not for ‘free’ and both athletes and administrators owe it to their sponsors to give them payback be it in the standard of their performances, the clothing they wear, the interaction with fans and public at large, lifestyle, and so much more, not least the positive publicity they are able to generate through all forms of media trhough performance.

In a word the sponsor’s biggest ally is the media for without media there would be little or no point in business spending hard earned shareholders money on sponsorship.

So when the run-up to a  major event such as the South African Longboard Championship being held on our shores receives virtually no local media coverage it is somewhat concerning and disappointing to say the least. Were it not for the advertising placed by one of the sponsors,  Cape St Francis Resort in various media there has been no organiser’s information available, not even a program of events. We are led to believe that St Francis Brewing Company is also one of the event sponsors and this too seems have been kept a secret. Possibly there are there others and if there are maybe too deserve they deserve a mention?

The organisers of this event owe their sponsors media coverage, the event needs spectators and so we do hope they tell us more of what is going on in the same way that the World Surf League (WSL) feeds the media – for the sponsors and competitors sake!

Beyrick de Vries Dominates Opening Day of Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic

Beyrick de Vries Dominates Opening Day of Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic and Japanese Girls Continue to Impress as Men’s and Women’s Quarter-finalists decided

Seasoned South African pro surfer Beyrick de Vries put on a clinic in the pumping, overhead waves for the opening day of the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic today, racking up an excellent heat total of 17.50 out of 20 at Stop No. 3 of seven on the 2019 WSL Africa Tour.

The uMhlanga based 26-year-old has been one of the country’s highest placed surfers on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rankings since he was a teenager. De Vries kick-started his charge for the Men’s title in Round 2 with a great 8.0 point ride before adding a near perfect 9.0, and then finding another great wave that he also decimated for an 8.50.

“There were some really fun waves and even though the wind was onshore, it was very light so there were smooth faces,” said De Vries. “That nine-point ride was my second wave, and I already had an eight so the pressure was off. I found a bigger wave and did a speed float that I landed smoothly and then went straight into a 180 air where I managed to maintain my speed, and ended with critical final manoeuvre where I got the nose up and then jabbed it for the finish.”

De Vries left his three opponents in a combination situation and needing to improve on both their counting scores to overtake him as he advanced to the quarter-finals. He was joined by heat runner-up Bryce du Preez (East London).whose heat tally of 12.75 out of 20 would have been enough to win any of the other seven heats in Round 2.

The action started in rainy and choppy conditions that improved throughout the day, and organisers completed Rounds 1 and 2 of the Men’s QS1,000 rated event and Round 1 of Women’s QS1,000 in an effort to get through as many heats as possible ahead of expected inclement conditions on Tuesday..

Former South African junior team member Sebastian Williams, now representing his birth-country of Mexico, was also impressive in posting an excellent 8.0 of his own to comfortably win his Round1 heat. He then outpointing current QS No. 87, Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) as the pair progressed to the quarter-finals while eliminating third and fourth placed Renan Hanada (BRA) and Liam de Villiers.

Others who won their heats and reached the last 16 include Joshe Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay), winner of the Men’s Title at the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro last Saturday; QS warrior Slade Prestwich and fellow Durbanites Chad du Toit, (Durban) and Chris Frolich; reigning WSL Africa Men’s Junior champion Luke Slijpen (Hout Bay) and Shane Sykes (Salt Rock).

The Women’s QS1,000 rated event was again dominated by the contingent of Japanese girls who filled all four places in the final in PE this past weekend. Minami Nonaka, who won both the Women’s and Junior Women’s events, was once more the standout, surfing fast and fluidly to earn an 8.0 and a heat total of 12.45, the highest of the Round.

Nonaka’s compatriots Nao Omura, Julie Nishimoto, Shino Matsuda and Ren Hashimoto all won their heats and moved into the quarters along with South African heat winners, rising stars Zoe Steyn (East London) and S’Nenhlanhla Makhubu (Durban) and the Queen of local surfing and former Women’s World Masters Champion, Heather Clark (Port Shepstone).

The Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic is also the second of four stops on the City Surf Series (CSS). Alongside the world-class surfing action, the CSS events embrace sustainability and transformation programs such as the Surfing South Africa Learn To Surf outreach project in collaboration with Caltex, 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.

Organisers are anticipating a strong onshore (Easterly) wind and large waves on Tuesday and will meet at 7 am at Eastern Beach in Port Alfred to decide on when to get the contest underway, and what events to run. The schedule includes quarter-finals for Men and Women, and for Junior Men and Women aged 18-and-under

Sebastian Williams (Mexico) was one of the standout performers on the opening day of the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic on Monday – Photo: WSL / Thurtell

More information, results and images will be available from and on the free WSL App. The final day’s action will be webcast live on Wednesday via the WSL QS Facebook page, the website and the App

Joshe Faulkner Clinches QS Titles at Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro

Joshe Faulkner and Minami Nonaka Clinch QS Titles at Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro

Joshe Faulkner (ZAF, Jeffreys Bay) and Minami Nonaka (JPN) clinched the Men’s and Women’s titles respectively at the Nelson Mandela Surf Pro on Sunday, with Nonaka completing a rare double by also taking out the Junior Women’s event while Eli Beukes (ZAF, Kommetjie) was crowned the Junior Men’s champion.

The final day‘s action was held in solid head high waves and gusty offshore winds at Pollock Beach in Port Elizabeth. The Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro, Stop No. 2 on the WSL Africa Tour, comprised Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 rated events for Men and Women and JQS 1,000 events for Junior Men and Women aged 18-and-under.

Despite Faulkner’s good start to the men’s final, the result was in the balance until the last ride when Australian teenager Dylan Moffat had a chance to grab victory, but the wave closed out and he couldn’t get the 7.15 point score he needed for victory and had to settle for third place.

Faulkner, who chose to sit away from the other three finalists, steadily built his lead throughout the 30 minute encounter, adding a 6.40 to the 6.75 he had secured earlier (both rides out of a possible 10 points) for a title-winning total of 13.15 out of 20.

“This is the best thing ever,” said an emotional Faulkner on the podium. “Throughout the years I sometimes make the semis and then the next event I get knocked out in the first round, so I am super-stoked to have my first QS win under the belt.”

Durbanite Chad Du Toit, the only finalist over the age of 20, forced his way into contention with the best ride of the final, for which he earned an excellent 8.25 and briefly took the lead, but he couldn’t find another good second score and ended runner-up. Koby Oberholzer (ZAF, Warner Beach) appeared to peak in the semis and could only muster a pair of threes and finished fourth overall.

The Women’s event was an all Japanese affair for the first time in a QS event outside their home country and demonstrated the impetus that surfing has gathered there since being included as a discipline in next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

 Nonaka, who won the Cape Town Surf Pro in the Mother City last year, was in a class of her own in the final, opening her account with an excellent 8.0 and then waiting patiently for the best waves while her three rivals chased anything that broke throughout the lineup.


The eventual winner opened the scoring in the final with an excellent 8.0 which left her opponents needing huge scores to overtake her, and then sealed her victory with a 7.25 on the final ride of the heat.

Julie Nishimoto, who also reached the final of the Junior Women’s event, clawed her way into contention to grab second place while Ren Hashimoto, who had earned the highest score of the entire event, a near perfect 9.65, on the opening day, started the final slowly and had to settle for third spot with Shino Matsuda was a distant fourth.

Eli Beukes (ZAF, Kommetjie) captured the hotly contested Junior Men’s crown with a dominant performance from start to finish. Two good rides put the Kommetjie local into the lead and he then dropped a 9.0 that left his peers scratching for second place.

Durban’s Luke Thompson came closest, completing a couple of powerful rail turns followed by an innovative tail reverse on his last ride that impressed the judges sufficiently to award him 7.75 which was enough for the runner-up berth. Fellow Durbanite Karl Steen and surprise finalist Ntando Nqdala (ZAF, Muizenberg), who is shining example of the great work being done by the Rising Stars surf outreach programme in Cape Town, were left needing to replace both their scores when the final ended.

Nonaka reigned supreme in the Junior Women’s final, compiling a heat total of 12.95 and despite a much improved Ceara Knight (ZAF, Kommetjie) flying the flag for the South African contingent with a pair of good rides that were rewarded with a well merited runner-up berth, the Japanese girl clinched the top spot on the dais. Julia Camargo (BRA) took third place and Julie Nishimoto (JPN) finished fourth in the first of her two finals on the day.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro doubles as the first of four events in the City Surf Series (CSS) which, alongside the world-class surfing action, also embrace sustainability and transformation programs such as the Surfing South Africa Learn To Surf outreach project in collaboration with Caltex, 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

Stop No. 3 on the WSL Africa Tour, and No. 2 on the CSS, is the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic, which starts on Monday and runs until Wednesday 24 April at East Beach in Port Alfred. The contest will feature QS1,000 rated events for Men and Women and JQS1,000 events for Junior Men and Women.

Full results, news, images and video footage from the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro visit

Ren Hashimoto (Japan) has been the standout performer in the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro at Pollock Beach in Port Elizabeth Photo: WSL / Thurtell

Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Men’s Final Results

  1. Joshe Faulkner (ZAF, Jeffreys Bay) 13.15 points
  2. Chad du Toit (Durban) 12.50
  3. Dylan Moffat (AUS) 9.85
  4. Koby Oberholzer (ZAF, Warner Beach) 7.20

Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Women’s Final Results

  1. Minami Nonaka (JPN) 15.25 points
  2. Julie Nishimoto (JPN) 11.50
  3. Ren Hashimoto (JPN) 10.15
  4. Shino Matsuda (JPN) 8.25

Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Junior Men’s Final Results

  1. Eli Beukes (ZAF, Kommetjie) 15.0 points
  2. Luke Thompson (ZAF, Durban) 14.25
  3. Karl Steen (ZAF, Durban) 8.25
  4. Ntando Nqdala (ZAF, Muizenberg) 6.15

Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Junior Women’s Final Results

  1. Minami Nonaka (JPN) 12,95 points
  2. Ceara Knight (ZAF, Kommetjie) 12.10
  3. Julia Camargo (BRA) 8.75
  4. Julie Nishimoto (JPN) 7.25

WSL Africa Rankings (After event #2 – Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro)


  1. Faulkner,Joshe                Jeffreys Bay  1000 points
  2. Lightfoot,Dylan                Jeffreys Bay  840
  3. Du Toit,Chad                    Durban          750
  4. Maree,Jordan                   Kalk Bay        560
  5. Oberholzer,Koby              Warner Beach 525


  1. Hogg,Teal                         Shakas Rock  620 points
  2. Hoffman,Tanika               Cape Town   580
  3. Makhubu,S’nenhlanhla Durban          485
  4. Bell,Sophie                       Salt Rock       400
  5. McGillivray,Kirsty J          effreys Bay    395

WSL Africa Junior Rankings (After event #1 – Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro)

Junior Men:

  1. Beukes,Eli                        Kommetjie     1000 points
  2. Steen,Karl                         Durban          750
  3. . Thompson,Luke               Durban         560
  4. Nqdala,Ntando                 Muizenberg   525

Junior Women

  1. Knight,Ceara                    Kommetjie     750 points
  2. Nogueira, Kayla             uMhlanga      420
  3. Steyn,Zoe                       East London 420
  4. Scott,Sarah                     Kommetjie      395
  5. Venter,Anastasia           Melkbosstrand 395


Girls To Return To Corona Open JBay Surf Tournament

The World Surf League (WSL) has confirmed that the women will once again be competing in the 2019 Corona JBay Open championship tour event. After an 18-year hiatus – the girls last surfed here in 2000 – they were invited back last year and added an extra dimension of grace and beauty to the event.

Caroline Marks photo WSL/Dunbar

Last year’s winner, Stephanie Gilmore from Australia is a multi-world champion, having taken the title seven times, and is one of the most stylish surfers ever to stand up on a surfboard. She won the event with a fluid and smooth approach to the waves of Supertubes, whereas her opponent Lakey Peterson had a much more aggressive approach, tearing the waves apart and throwing spray everywhere. The judges opted for the smooth beauty in Steph’s approach, awarding her with the Corona JBay Open Women’s win. Steph will be back in South Africa, along with the rest of the women’s tour.

Surfers like Steph and Lakey along with the more established surfers will be under pressure from the young blood coming through the ranks and champing for some time on the podium.

In the first event of the year – the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast – it was 17-year-old Caroline Marks from the United States who upset the applecart by taking the first win of the year.

In small beachbreak conditions at Duranbah on the Gold Coast in Australia, Marks beat three times WSL World Champion Carissa Moore from Hawaii in the final, taking out Stephanie Gilmore along the way. Caroline, along with Macy Callaghan from Australia, represents the new breed of young female surfers ready to take on the old guard and recalibrate the way that female surfing is considered and judged. Her performance in JBay last year was impressive, especially when the surf got a bit bigger, and she impressed all and sundry with her powerful backhand attack.

Last year also saw popular former Championship Tour surfer Bianca Buitendag from Victoria Bay entered into the event through a wildcard entry. Also a goofy-footed surfer (right foot forward) Bianca also surfed out of her skin for an excellent semi-final finish and a third place. The WSL will announce closer to the time who the 2019 wildcard will be.

The Corona Open JBay is the anchor event of the JBay Winterfest, the sports festival that takes place every year in JBay. Apart from the surfing, there is trail running, funduro, skins fishing, bowls and live music in the park,

For more go to

Press Release – Craig Jarvis

Macy Callaghan photo Kody McGregor