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 www.worldsurfleague.com
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
- Joshe Faulkner (ZAF, Jeffreys Bay) 13.15 points
- Chad du Toit (Durban) 12.50
- Dylan Moffat (AUS) 9.85
- Koby Oberholzer (ZAF, Warner Beach) 7.20
Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Women’s Final Results
- Minami Nonaka (JPN) 15.25 points
- Julie Nishimoto (JPN) 11.50
- Ren Hashimoto (JPN) 10.15
- Shino Matsuda (JPN) 8.25
Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Junior Men’s Final Results
- Eli Beukes (ZAF, Kommetjie) 15.0 points
- Luke Thompson (ZAF, Durban) 14.25
- Karl Steen (ZAF, Durban) 8.25
- Ntando Nqdala (ZAF, Muizenberg) 6.15
Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro Junior Women’s Final Results
- Minami Nonaka (JPN) 12,95 points
- Ceara Knight (ZAF, Kommetjie) 12.10
- Julia Camargo (BRA) 8.75
- Julie Nishimoto (JPN) 7.25
WSL Africa Rankings (After event #2 – Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro)
- Faulkner,Joshe Jeffreys Bay 1000 points
- Lightfoot,Dylan Jeffreys Bay 840
- Du Toit,Chad Durban 750
- Maree,Jordan Kalk Bay 560
- Oberholzer,Koby Warner Beach 525
- Hogg,Teal Shakas Rock 620 points
- Hoffman,Tanika Cape Town 580
- Makhubu,S’nenhlanhla Durban 485
- Bell,Sophie Salt Rock 400
- McGillivray,Kirsty J effreys Bay 395
WSL Africa Junior Rankings (After event #1 – Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro)
- Beukes,Eli Kommetjie 1000 points
- Steen,Karl Durban 750
- . Thompson,Luke Durban 560
- Nqdala,Ntando Muizenberg 525
- Knight,Ceara Kommetjie 750 points
- Nogueira, Kayla uMhlanga 420
- Steyn,Zoe East London 420
- Scott,Sarah Kommetjie 395
- Venter,Anastasia Melkbosstrand 395