4 June, 2018 4 June, 2018

Vans Surf Pro Classic – Finals Day

The Vans Surf Pro Classic is without a doubt one of our fave surf events of the year. It’s a trek to get to Lamberts. I mean it’s not like Lamberts is on the way somewhere. You can’t be like, “Hey we’re on our way to JBay, so we might as well stop off at Vic Bay and have a surf.” No sir! Lamberts exists on its own little corner of planet earth. A little town in the middle of nowhere. A town that barely exists. It claims to fame – all the Mc Donald’s chips for the country are made there. Wow. What a thing to be known for! 

Oh, how we love this lost little town on the Wes Kus. Image: Thurtell

But damn we’re glad Vans dragged us over to Lamberts Bay. Cause Yo-yos is one of the most exciting waves to host a contest. It’s consistent, entirely rippable, and best of all, it forces you to go big. Cause Yo-yos gives you two options, you can either carve next to the lip (lame!), or you can face up to it, blitz that thing in the face, kicking your back foot like your kicking an intruder out your house. Lamberts forces you to do the surfing everyone wants to see.

Beyrick lost out to Frenchman Colin Doyez in the quarterfinals. And it certainly wasn’t cause he was safety surfing. Image: Thurtell

The Vans team should hustle some homies to turn this thing into a higher rated event, maybe a QS 3000 or 6000 or something, cause damn, it’s an event that needs to happen! And oh how we’d love to see it happen bigger with more internationals!

Junior Men’s | Beukes vs Groen

The weskus is a brutal place. A place of extremes. At night, temperatures plummet, one minute you’re in a t-shirt and shorts enjoying the warming rays of the weskus sun, next, you have to dig out your most valued European winter attire, in order to brave those clear skied deathly cold nights. Even the vegetation is geared towards subduing the elements. Towards surviving. And the surf ain’t no different. Yo-yos is known as the West Coast Trestles, but it isn’t without its challenges. Unless you surf it with a heavy back foot, and burry that rail, the open face chops will buck you off like a Texan in bellbottom jeans and a cowboy hat on the mechanical bull while screaming ‘Donaaaaaaaald Truuuuuuuump’ as the bull goes around and around! 

The bumpy face and open ocean weskus power need a bit of authority to settle it, a bit of chest hair to aid the weighing of your rail into the choppy face. And certainly, the junior men with their clean chests and clean faces struggled, just a touch, to bite their rails into the open ocean power that Lamberts served up.

That being said, German-born, Portuguese raised Dylan Groen looked most comfortable in the raw ocean conditions. His German blood revealing itself in his tall stature and heavier than usual build for his age. His style, clean and refined, like the Open Men’s, he seamlessly linked deep bottom turns with long drawn out powerful carves. It was clear that he’d grown up surfing classic Portuguese power point breaks. Waves like Coxos. A standout throughout the comp. Mr. Groen, looked like he was destined to win.

Dylan Groen. Green on green. #DadJoke Image: AVG

Eli Beukes, on the other hand, had a different idea. Not as refined as his challenger, Eli relied on pure grit and determination to make it through his heats. Instead of wowing the judges with his well-oiled surfing, Eli wowed the judges by throwing risk. Big turns on critical sections. Going harder than anyone on the closeout bashes and taking to the skies when the sections presented themselves. Eli reminds one of a younger Matty McG. A man who doesn’t think twice about putting all his chips on the table to get high scores, a young man focused and determined, a raw style, putting everything into every turn. When Eli grows into himself, puts on a bit of weight, and irons out a couple creases, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.

We absolutely love Eli’s raw approach. It’s not the smoothest. But sometimes a bit of grit is more attractive than perfection. Image: Thurtell

Open Men’s | Mc G vs Lightfoot

Matt used the Vans Surf Pro Classic to stamp his absolute authority on the African QS. In the final of the Open Men’s, the prince from JBay, Dylan Lightfoot started the heat off strong. Excellently in fact. A dream start. Bagging a 7.00 and 7.75 straight off the bat. Drawing classic lines. Carving deep. Drifting the fins and doing some of the most gorgeous down carves you’d ever seen. That’s probably how he won his girlfriend over! He probably did a down carve in front of her and she fell head over heels for him. And just like that the inform surfer of the event Matty Mc G, suddenly looked like he might walk away with yet another runner-up finish at an African rated QS event.

Nothing can be taken away from Dylan’s excellent performance throughout this event. He must also remember he was one air reverse away from taking the final away from Matt. And Matt was one small fall away from giving it to Dyl. Image: Thurtell

But Matt decided that wasn’t about to be his fate. So he went to the garage, dug out the biggest deep sea fishing rod he could find, cast a lure, and proceeded to real Dylan in like a deep-sea tuna. Dropping a 1.00, a 3.75 and then boom. A 9.50. Which he backed up with a 9.65. The straight, five-lane highway that was Dylan’s victory, became a narrow, winding mountain pass.


Matt was by a country mile the inform surfer of the event. He managed the highest heat score total. EVERY. SINGLE. ROUND. In his semifinal against Vans team rider, Dave Van Zyl, who was absolutely shredding BTW, he landed the air of the event. A massive double overhead set, the wave barreling behind him, Matt had a choice to make, either he could go round the barrel section, do an open face down carve and surf the wave for an uninspiring mid-range score, or he could take to the skies, and demand the judges award him with an excellent score. Matt chose the latter. Hitting the hollow section in the guts, flinging himself well above the lip. Tail high baby! Landing on the open face, regathering his balance as the foam attempted to knock him off from the side. An incredible air. The whole beach rose to their feet. A thundering applause.

Davey Van Zyl, another standout through the event. Image: Thurtell

Watching Matty surf at the Vans Surf Pro Classic, was more entertaining than enjoying a Hollywood blockbuster, featuring transforming cars or men shooting spider webs from their palms. Apparently, Netflix just signed Matty to do a 10 episode series called the Matty Mc G Show. Somebody give us some popcorn, a coke and a box of Astros, cause we’ll #NetflixandChill watching the Matty Mc G show all dayyyyyy.

Netflix just announced a new series. It’s called ‘The Matty Mc G Show’. Holla if you’re down to #NetflixAndChill.

Open Women’s | Bullard vs Pallet

The wild woolly surf conditions provided by the weskus aided a fresh cream to rise to the top. Well fairly fresh. Your classic finalists, ladies like Kai Woolf, Zoe Steyn and Zoe McDougal all fell in the early rounds. Classic finalist day ladies, out, ousted by the cold west coast onshore breeze on the second day. 

Faye shredded throughout this event. She was pipped by Nicole Pallet. Image: AVG

Lamberts Bay and the Vans Surf Pro Classic freed some fresh faces. Natasha Van Greunen was one such lady. The rolling rights of Lamberts Bay had a strange similarity to Longbeach. Obviously, Lamberts is a much better wave, way more rippable, and it doesn’t have a thousand tourists, angry locals or wave skiers hustling for the same wave. So, naturally, Tash felt like she’d hit a goldmine. A rolling right Longbeach esque wave, way more rippable (don’t worry Dutchie), without any angry locals. Tash went berserk. Taking out big names on route to the semifinals where she posted a respectable 6.25 against the eventual winner, Cannelle Bulard. 

How to lay down a deep bottom turn with Cannelle Bulard. Image: AVG

Tash showed that when it comes to big open face rolling rights, that gives her time to set her line and settle her feet, she knows how to draw long bottom turns and big open face carves. Certainly, someone to watch out for in the coming years.

The final saw Nicole Pallet faced with the tough task of taking out Reunion Island surfer Cannelle Bullard. Bullard like Matty, had the highest heat score total from round two all the way through to the finals. Not as commanding a winner as Matt, Bullard was still the girl to beat. Her backhand attack was superb. Easily knifing her rail through the powerful waves of Lamberts Bay and not holding back when she approached the lip, something that many of the girls struggled with, opting to instead carve next to it instead of beating that thing in the face! But Cannelle showed that when others considered confronting the lip too much of a meaty task to undertake, she was in the business of confrontation, and confronted that ponderous weskus lip on multiple occasions. And her confrontation was rewarded, as the judges placed her on top. 

Cannelle ain’t afraid to give the lip a good old whack in the face. Image: AVG

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