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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.