22 June, 2019 22 June, 2019

In the Rearview – Vans Surf Pro Classic

There’s something about the Vans Surf Pro Classic that makes it an incredible surf contest. It has something special about it. It’s not just another rendezvous for the sake of acquiring QS points. No sir. It’s the surfers contest we all wanna attend. A contest by surfers for surfers. Here’s what made this year’s Vans Surf Pro Classic special. 

The Contest Director (Dutchie)

While having a chat with commentator Johan Vrey late one night, Johan described how he saw Dutch wearing a ‘Thrasher’ hat the one day. Now if you know and understand Thrasher, you’ll know that Thrasher is all about core skateboarding. Thrasher is the protector of the skateboarding sport, they keep it core and make sure the head remains intact to its roots. JVrey explained that he sees Dutchie as the ‘Thrasher’ of South African surfing and suddenly I realised, Jvrey hit the nail on the head. Dutchie is core surf. He thinks, breathes and lives surf (unless he’s talking about golf), the protector of the ring, the guardian of the chalice. You want in on the contest? Become a follower of surf.

Vans Surf Pro Classic

Setup Was Insane. 

On day one I had the experience of trying to acquire coffee from one of the vendors on the beach at Yoyos. They advertised cappuccinos, so being presumptuous I assumed there was a large coffee machine in the back of their tent dropping finely tuned shots of espresso. To my dismay, the cappuccinos were powder options delivered from a sachet brought to life by boiling water. When asked if I could pay by card, the vendors face mutated into what looked like a fisherman’s knot before unraveling and bursting forth, “THIS IS THE WEST COAST!!! No card machines here!” I thought to myself a fool for even considering the option of digital cash. Which was ironic, because a stone’s throw away, on the other side of the parking lot, stood the most amazing setup we’d seen for a contest this year. Three massive balloon style post-modern tents complete with a massive judge’s commentator’s and seating area and a competitors area with a masseuse and big flat screen TV to watch scores. It was dreamy and the icing on the cake was the fact that when the mist came over and forced the competition to a halt, we could all hop on our (own) personal mobile devices and stream the Margaret River contest in HD. No need for sharing screens baby. Perhaps Vans is gearing up for something bigger? Maybe a QS3000? We’ll have to wait and see. But until then, remember, THIS IS THE WEST COAST!

Vans Surf Pro Classic, from above

The Weskus is really special.

You know those contest were the only wave in the vicinity is the one the contest is being held at? Like if you have a contest at Long Beach, you’re pretty much stuck. Krans? yeah right, one makable wave every three hours, not going to cut it. But Lamberts Bay and the surrounding areas is a wave rich area. It’s comparable to the South Coast of KZN or the Jbay St Francis region, there’s wave after wave after wave. We had the pleasure of spending some time in Lamberts Bay after the Vans Surf Pro Classic had concluded and enjoyed some of its fruits. And let me tell you, those fruits were delicious. But they came with a tough outer shell, that you have to peel open to enjoy the goodness. 

The West Coast has something special about it. It’s a hardy place, the environment unforgiving, volatile, but when you open your eyes to its beauty, you’ll be forever enamoured. The drops are late, you have to scratch in deep, but once you land the drop, find your feet and pull in, the pits are oh so wide open and the spit, hard.

Fresh off a final at the Vans Surf Pro Classic, Koby is right back where he left off.

Yoyos – Let the cream rise

Yoyos is one of those waves that encourages classy surfing. You stay classy San Diego. It’s about big turns on big sections and linking them well. As long as you don’t make silly mistakes, like only taking one wave in a heat or falling on a closeout turn, you’ll witness the cream rise to the top. It’s a wave that forces one to focus on the fundamentals of good surfing, long drawn out deep bottom turns to powerful rail burying off-the-tops, no cheap trickery here. And when you take to the skies, better make sure it’s a powerful air, one where you drive out of the lip, cause that’s all you get at Yoyos.

This year Dylan Lightfoot won the event over Koby Oberholzer, both surfers accustomed to classic surfing and both going big on big sections. Yoyos forces the cream to rise to the top.


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