Surfing Today, presented by Rip Curl South Africa.

Surfing Today, presented by Rip Curl South Africa.

Two Major Surfing Contests Just Wrapped. The first is the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger. 

John John Florence claimed victory at the World Surf League  Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger. It was the final stop of the 2021 Challenger Series. Still, after overpowering XL swell at the iconic North Shore reef break along with Jack Robinson (AUS), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), and Samuel Pupo (BRA). A thrilling, action-packed Final. It was Florence’s ninth North Shore, Oahu victory in his career to tie the late 3X WSL Champion Andy Irons (HAW). 

Two Major Surfing Contests Just Wrapped. John John won the first one.

“I’m feeling good, really good, and it’s just so much fun being here and competing again,” said Florence. “After those injuries the last few years, it just feels good to be here. I just want to say thanks to my wife, my family, my whole team, and everyone who’s there supporting me. It’s been huge going through these last couple of years, and to be here winning again is awesome.”  

Perfect 10

An early start from Pupo got the attention of eventual winner Florence. The North Shore, Oahu surfer, unleashed an array of his signature power and progression on a wave at the midway point of the Final for a perfect 10. So, it had the crowd erupting in cheers and applause. The 29-year-old, 2X WSL Champion, wasn’t to be stopped – holding the highest single-wave score and heat total throughout the event – and placing all of the remaining finalists in a combination situation.

It was Jack Robinson’s first-ever Finals appearance on the hallowed grounds of Haleiwa, and he surged through the competition on his way to a runner-up finish. The 2021 CT Rookie will return to compete against the world’s best with renewed vigour following dominant performances at Haleiwa.  

Paddle Battle

 “That was a good run, and it was funny because John and I were in a paddle battle before he just turned and went on a wave,” said Robinson. “I think that put him in a good rhythm with those two waves, and I turned around thinking what just happened. But it was such a fun event and a good tune-up for next year. It’s funny. It’s been two years since I’ve qualified now, and everything here feels so different. Still, at the same time, it’s the same beautiful place, and I’m just excited to be back here.”

 A third-place for Igarashi kept him atop the Challenger Series rankings to close the 2021 season as Pupo’s fourth-place notched a career-best in a major WSL event.

The Alaïa Open Winter Cup in Switzerland

 Sion, Switzerland – The snow and rain stayed away. It was a beautiful and fresh day for the finals of the Alaïa Open Winter Cup finals at the Alaïa Bay wavepool facility. It was the first event of this magnitude to be held at the wavepool. To celebrate, the opening day saw light snowfall throughout most of the day’s competition. 

Two Major Surfing Contests Just Wrapped. Alaïa Open Winter Pro was the second

It was top action all the way on finals day, as the surfers fought out some fierce battles to be in the cash and prizes. The day featured progressive surfing, some big aerial moves, and speed, power and flow scoring high from the judges.

Jamie Veselko was victorious in the Kids Division, beating Alejo Valedi and Fransisco into minor positions. In the junior Division, Kai Odrozola took the win from Hans Odriozola and Axel Domingues.

The Ladies Division was dominated by an experienced Maud Le Car, who beat dynamic Nadja Erostarbe Beiser into second and Lucia Martino into third place.

The Winners

The Men’s Division saw the Brazilian contingent rise up for the win, with power surfer Pedro Menezes taking the win from fellow Brazilian Franklin Serpa. Justin Becret had a great day on the opening day at Alaïa Bay. Still, had to settle for third place in the finals. 

Pedro Menezes taking the win from fellow Brazilian Franklin Serpa. Justin Becret had a great day on the opening day at Alaïa Bay but had to settle for third place in the finals. 

Last week’s column right here

 

Decisive Day Unfolds at Corona Open China hosted by Wanning

Former Championship Tour (CT) competitor Joan Duru started Round 2 off with a bang at the Corona Open China hosted by Wanning. – Credit: © WSL / Tim Hain

RIYUE BAY, Wanning/China (Wednesday, January 8, 2020) – The men’s Qualifying Series (QS) contingent took over Riyue Bay once more at the World Surf League (WSL) Corona Open China, a men’s and women’s QS 5,000, and continued their assault on the left point lineup. A slight decrease in swell still pulsed with two-to-three foot (1 – 1.5 metre), occasional plus, surf making its way for competitors to take advantage of and those who showed their patience excelled. Round 2 was finished in its entirety as the women’s competition was called off for the day.

A few of the former Championship Tour (CT) elite are present and accounted for and Joan Duru (FRA) made that presence known in today’s proceedings. The Frenchman overpowered the left point with his decimating forehand attack to accrue the day’s best heat total, an impressive 14.50 (out of a possible 20), on the way to his Round 2 Heat 1 win. Now Duru has his eyes set on the horizon moving forward after surviving a decisive day of competition. (Interview in video)

The Japanese contingent also continued to impress with Shun Murakami accruing the day’s best of a 14.93 heat total along with Shuji Nishi and Hiroto Ohhara both delivering the goods. Josh Moniz (HAW) matched Ohhara’s  top single-wave score of the day with an excellent 8.17 as the event moved into tough afternoon conditions.

Positive Vibe Warrior Turns it Up A Notch

Duru’s fellow former CT competitor found his next gear in the smaller conditions and relished his heat win. – Credit: WSL/ Hain

Patrick Gudauskas (USA) is known around the world as one of the “Positive Vibe Warriors” along with his brothers Dane and Tanner, and brought that mentality to China for this event. The 33-year-old was most recently on the elite CT in 2018 after competing among the world’s best for four years between 2010-2013 and now looks to rejoin the Tour by getting things started early in 2020. Gudauskas overtook the lead from an in-form Ohhara with his pre-studied knowledge of Riyue Bay as he looks to improve further.
 
“I’m really excited to be here on Hainan (Island) and the wave is really beautiful,” Gudauskas said. “I’ve been enjoying my surfs out there. It kind of reminds me of Churches near where I live if you go left there but it’s surprisingly powerful here with all the reef. That heat was pretty slow but I got my two waves, Hiroto got that eight and didn’t get a second one so today’s a good day to make it through.”

Keanu Asing (HAW) rounded out the former CT elite in attendance with another clutch heat win as he heads into Round 3 with plenty of momentum. 

Latin Americans Thrive in Round 2 Showdowns

: Mexican competitor Jhony Corzo came back from a close Round 1 heat and left no doubt in a big Round 2 performance. – Credit: WSL/ Hain

One of Mexico’s most esteemed surfers Jhony Corzo (MEX) delivered their first-ever Gold Medal in surfing nearly three years ago and brought that form into his Round 2 heat here with a 14.00 heat total. Hailing from Puerto Escondido, Mexico, Corzo is able to train at a nearby left point known as La Punta and showed that training paid off as he progresses forward.
 
“You just have to wait for the good waves, there’s always a set so I just tried waiting for that good one,” said Corzo. “Luckily I got one that let me pass through to the next round and I’m feeling super confident. Where I live is a left too so I trained a lot on that wave before coming. It’s great seeing more Mexicans on the QS like Alan Cleland at these events. There’s not many of us traveling around but hopefully we can break the ice and become the first-ever Mexican on the CT.”

Peru’s Lucca Mesinas felt right at home on the running lefts on offer in both his Round 1 on opening day (pictured) and Round 2 today. – Credit: © WSL / Tim Hain

2018 North America Regional QS Champion Lucca Mesinas (PER) has a big year ahead of after nearly finding his way into the Top 100 last season and also prepares for the 2020 Olympic Games Tokyo. This notes Mesinas’ second visit to Riyue Bay after competing in the QS and ISA events, and showed that experience with notching the two best scores in his Round 2 heat using smart wave selection.
 
“This wave is very similar to my hometown so it’s really nice to be surfing here,” said Mesinas. “It’s smaller than yesterday but there’s still a lot of power so you can still hit all the waves. I wanted to start really quick since it was slower and then wait for a good one and hopefully it would work so I’m happy it did. Last year I qualified for the Olympics and this year that’s my goal is to my best there and also have the focus on the QS as well to get a better ranking than last year.”

Event organizers will convene at 6:45 a.m. CST to determine a possible start to either men’s Round 3 or women’s Round 3 of competitione QS as well to get a better ranking than last year.”

JBay’s Matt McGillivray Qualifies For WSL Championship Tour 2020

Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii – After advancing through round three of the Vans World Cup 10,000 Qualifying Series (QS) event at Sunset Beach yesterday, word came out from the World Surf League (WSL) that JBay Surfer Matt McGillivray was a confirmed qualification for the 2020 Championship Tour (CT).

McGillivray on a Sunset bomb yesterday © WSL/Heff

Rip Curl surfer McGillivray was placed 6th on the international QS ratings prior to this contest, and his advancement into round four will see him replace one of his lowest counting results. He now cannot be bumped out of the top ten, and qualifies for the premier CT for next year.

The CT comprises 22 surfers from the current tour, as well as 10 surfers from the QS, combined with wild cards and injury replacements, to make 36 surfers. In order to qualify from the QS you need to be within the top ten at year-end.

McGillivray will join fellow South African Jordy Smith on tour next year. The CT commences with the Corona Open Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks in Australia on 26 March 2020.

“I just want to say thank you so much to everyone back home for the support,” said McGillivray from Hawaii. “I got so many messages I still have to reply to, I didn’t realize how many people followed what was going on, and it has been amazing to experience the support.”

McGillivray will come up against Nolan Rapoza (USA), Morgan Ciblic (AUS) and Jesse Mendes (BRA) in the second heat of round four when surfing commences again in Hawaii.

The event can be viewed live here https://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2019/mqs/3172/vans-world-cup-of-surfing and should go live between 7 and 8 PM tonight South African time.

Corona Open J-Bay

Corona Open J-Bay Rounds 2 & 3

Action continued today at the Corona Open J-Bay, stop No. 6 on the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT). Competition ran through the remaining 10 heats of Round 2 in excellent conditions at Jeffreys Bay and a series of thrilling match-ups saw surfers battle to avoid early elimination.

Filipe Toledo (BRA) was the day’s top performer and stormed his way to victory in Round 2 over Kanoa Igarashi (USA). An incredible 19.63 heat total (out of a possible 20) secured a Round 3 berth for the Brazilian. Toledo claimed the first perfect 10 of the competition with a long barrel ride followed by two big turns. With ten minutes remaining Igarashi found a long tube ride of his own for a 7.33 but couldn’t escape the combination and is eliminated in Equal 25th place.

Filipe Toledo (BRA) scores a Perfect 10 in Round 2 of the Corona Open J-Bay.
Credit: © WSL / Tostee

“It feels good to be back, especially surfing perfect waves at J-Bay,” Toledo said. “You just have to enjoy it out there. Our heat was definitely amazing with pumping surf non-stop. My froth level is over the moon and I get super excited to get out there and have my heat and put on a good show.”

The 2017 rookie class shone today with five of seven surfers making it through to Round 3 and sending home some big names in the process.

Ezekiel Lau (HAW) challenged Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) in the penultimate heat of the day and took a narrow victory to earn his place in the next round. A pair of eight-point rides from each surfer made for an exciting match-up, but it was Lau who took the slight edge with his final ride and sent the Brazilian home early.

“I told myself that if I just finished up two waves I’d be happy but I ended up getting lots of opportunity,” Lau said. “I was just trying to be relaxed and enjoy it out there because it’s firing. It was a full battle until the end so I’m really happy with the way it turned out. I was bummed that I was in Round 2, but I just had to roll with the punches and keep fighting.”

Round 2 Heat 7 delivered a high-scoring match-up between current No. 10 on the Jeep Leaderboard Sebastian Zietz (HAW) and 2017 WSL rookie Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA). Zietz opened with an impressive 9.83 for a combination of barrels and powerful turns, but two eight-points rides from the Italian were enough to take the lead. The surfer from Hawaii continued to hunt for a back-up 6.80 but could only find a 5.93 and was eliminated from the competition in Equal 25th place while the rookie advanced on to Round 3.

“I am frothing right now,” said Fioravanti. “We’re in J-Bay and the waves are absolutely pumping. It’s a dream to be here and I think it’s the best waves I’ve ever surfed in my life in a heat. My goal was to try and get a big score at the start and then back it up. It was in a tough because Seabass (Sebastian Zietz) is an incredible surfer so I’m stoked to make that heat. Win or lose, we surfed pumping J-Bay so I’m just happy to be here.”

Joan Duru (FRA) laid down an excellent 9.00 on one of the biggest waves of day, despite falling on the final maneuver. The score will see the rookie move on to Round 3, while Adrian Buchan (AUS) is dispatched in 25th place.

“I’m so happy to be here because the waves are perfect,” Duru said. “It’s hard to wait for the good ones but you have to choose the right waves, surf them well and not fall. I love South Africa and I’ve had good results here in the past so hopefully that plays in my favor.”

Caio Ibelli (BRA) had an impressive start in Heat 9 and built a solid 16.43 heat total to take a convincing lead, and eventually win the heat, over opponent Stuart Kennedy (AUS) putting the Brazilian on the right track to improve on his 13th place finish at Jeffreys Bay last year.

“I think I went for the right waves and worked with my nerves,” said Ibelli. “I was not very positive this week because I haven’t surfed well and my ankle hurts. I’m stoked to make it through this round. It definitely gives me confidence getting this win so I’m taking the pressure off. I’m super stoked to be in J-Bay and it’s the best waves here I’ve ever surfed in my life.”

An exciting battle played out between Jadson Andre (BRA) and Kolohe Andino (USA) in Round 2 Heat 4. Andino held first place after the opening exchanges but the Brazilian was able to turn the heat with a 7.83 at the halfway mark. Andino, current No. 9 on the Jeep Leaderboard, quickly answered with multiple barrels and a series of big carving maneuvers for a 7.03, but the score was just short of what was required. A deep barrel from Andre earned him a 7.97, increased his lead and secured his third CT heat win of 2017 while Andino was sent home with his second 25th place finish of the season.

“Yesterday I went for a freesurf and pulled into a barrel and fell,” Andre said. “My fins went straight into my head and I had six stitches and broke my favorite board. I’m stoked to finally beat Kolohe (Andino) in a heat. This time I just focused on getting the right waves. I feel like I’ve been surfing well this year but just making the wrong decisions and at this stage there’s no room for mistakes. Let’s see what’s going to happen in Round 3.”

Julian Wilson (AUS) took on Josh Kerr (AUS) in Heat 5 of Round 2 and the pair got to work quickly. Wilson led from the start with a 7.67 on his second ride and backed it up with 6.60 and built a solid heat total. Kerr continued to hunt down the score, in need of a 7.35, but wasn’t able to compete with the World No. 8 and is eliminated from the event in equal 25th place.

“It’s so enjoyable out here and it’s only going to get better” said Wilson. “It’s a beautiful day to be out there with just one other guy. If it has a big long wall with some size on it and barrels on the inside – that’s what everyone wants. It was really nice to have some exchanges out there and get some nice waves.”

Current No. 3 on the Jeep Leaderboard Owen Wright (AUS) took on 2017 WSL Rookie Ethan Ewing (AUS) in the opening heat of the day. The more experienced competitor controlled the majority of the 35-minute heat, the first head-to-head match-up for the pair, with two mid-range scores. A 7.33 with six minutes remaining put the rookie back in contention but he wasn’t able to back it up and is sent home with his sixth 25th place finish of the season.

“It feels nice to get going and get that Round 2 out of the way,” said Wright. “It was a scrappy heat but it played out to my advantage. I felt like it was going to be a slow one so I knew I needed to get going. When you don’t get the best wave of the heat it’s tough to come back.”

11-time WSL Champion and four-time event winner Kelly Slater (USA) has broken two bones in his foot while freesurfing this morning at Boneyards and has officially withdraw from the competition.

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. local time to assess conditions and make the next call.

Surfline, official forecaster for the Corona Open J-Bay, are calling for:

Monday will see a temporary decreasing trend in the morning with NW/WNW winds. New SW to SSW swell looks likely to build over the later afternoon and evening hours Monday as stronger offshore winds develop. Swell peaks on Tuesday with solid surf and moderate offshore winds. Wednesday will see a decreasing trend through the day with lighter winds. New SW to SSW swell fills in for Thursday PM and continues Friday AM before fading. Smaller surf looking likely for next weekend.

The event will be broadcast LIVE via WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and on Facebook LIVE via the WSL’s Facebook page. Also check the local listings for coverage on CBS Sports Network in the U.S., Fox Sports in Australia, ESPN in Brazil, Sky NZ in New Zealand, SFR Sports in France and Portugal and as part of the EDGEsport Network.

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.

Corona Open J-Bay Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.67 def. Dale Staples (ZAF) 10.27
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.10 def. Michael February (ZAF) 11.67
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.34 def. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 11.10
Heat 4: Jadson Andre (BRA) 15.80 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.20
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.27 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.53
Heat  6: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 13.40 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.10
Heat  7: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 16.63 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.76
Heat  8: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 19.63 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 12.83
Heat  9: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 16.43 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 14.80
Heat 10: Joan Duru (FRA) 15.87 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.00
Heat 11: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 17.03 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 16.37
Heat 12: Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.73 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.00

Corona Open J-Bay Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 4: Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat  6: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat  7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat  8: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat  9: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 10: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)

Interclub Surfing Championships

2017 Billabong South African Interclub Surfing Championships

Sel Point BordridersDefending Champions Seal Point Boardriders host the Billabong South African Interclub Championships for the second time this weekend.

A record twenty five teams representing twenty one surf clubs from all parts of South Africa will be in action at Seal Point in Cape St Francis this weekend in the sixth annual Billabong SA Interclub Championships.

Eighteen heats and 14 hours of competition will make this the biggest Interclub Surfing Championships ever held as representatives of surf clubs from the Western Cape, Southern Cape, Eastern Cape, KZN and Gauteng compete for the National Interclub Trophy.

The Billabong SA Interclub Championships an important Surfing South Africa tournament which is supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and hosted for the second time by the Seal Point Boardriders Surf Club who won the tournament at at Seal Point last February.

In winning the 2016 Interclub Championships the Seal Point Boardriders earned the right to not only chose their “stadium” for this year contest but were also entitled to enter two teams into the two day clash.

Seal Point Boardriders

This year the Eastern Cape is well represented by a total of nine surf clubs while the Southern Cape has six clubs in the mix. Three clubs from the Western Cape,two from KZN and one club from Gauteng will make the journey to Cape St Francis.

The 2017 Billabong SA Interclub Championships presented by Sport and Recreation SA will use the Aloha Cup “tag” format which sees teams of four men and one woman competing against each other in 45 minute heats. In this team styled surfing contest all the points scored by each of the surfers count towards the final team score.

As usual competition will be fierce in the water but the annual Interclub Championships is an extremely social affair once the heats are over. While there is no Opening function this year there clubs will be able to relax at the St Francis Brewing Company on Saturday evening where they will be able to enjoy live music from the likes of top Jeffreys Bay based longboarder and well known musician Steve “Steezy” Sawyer.

Grant Beck, the Billabong Team & Events Manager is stoked that so many clubs are competing this year. “ We are really looking forward to this year’s Billabong Interclub Championships and we are really happy that so many clubs have entered. This event is pretty special as it gives surfers from clubs from all parts of South Africa the opportunity to get together with fellow competitors, friends and family. It is great to partner with Surfing South Africa and the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and we look forward to staying involved in club surfing well into the future”.

Teams must meet at the Seal Point Car Park at 7.30am on Saturday for the official briefing. The heats will start at 8.00am on Saturday and end at approximately 2.30pm on Sunday.

The heats and format are posted on the Surfing South Africa website www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za .

Surfing South Africa is a member of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA). SSA is the recognized governing body for all surf riding in South Africa and is recognized as such by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa.

Press Release compiled by Robin de Kock, General Manager, Surfing South Africa – For all media info contact 0824541149 or surfingsouthafrica@gmail.com