Japan’s Minami Nonaka and Australia’s Jordan Lawler take home top honours at the Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro pres by O’Neill with their impressive finals victories. On the day, the conditions produced considerably smaller surf however it didn’t hinder the surfing on display, the surfing was big, bold and tasty with contestants ripping into the waves. A day for high-performance surfing to put up its hand and shout out “pick me, pick me”. The Finals saw 6 of 8 places across the women’s and men’s pools comprised of South Africans, however, it was the two contestants from across the high seas that snatched the win.
Where the XY chromosome make up was concerned, those watching out at Big Bay where treated to some electric surfing, it didn’t matter the waves were avos or that strong cross-shore winds puffed all day. The odd wave would come through affording the men the opportunity to sneak that inside break and light up the grey backdrop with some wicked combo’s and risky plays earning the high scores.
So who and how did the finalist earn their place? Well, in the semi #1 Matthew McGillivray was like a professor of waves, picking out only the best. He don’t want no mediocre. He wants that shot at WSL royalty. He wants that CT spot. The entire contest he was out for that fine wine, instead, this wine was barrel free and tasted like frot bokkoms. In the end, he exited the wave cellar with a convincing win with Chad Du Toit taking 2nd place and with it a shot at the trophy in the final.
What do you get if you cross two Saffas, two Aussies a pool of salty frigid water and a toaster? Semi #2 that’s what. The small waves didn’t allow too much flair to exude out those in the water, but it did reveal grit and determination. Adin Masencamp and Slade Prestwich took on Jordan Lawler and Joe Van Dijk. After slugging it out, it was a brazen wave warrior from each of the respective two continents that advanced to the final. Adin and Jordan would meet with Chad and Matthew.
Over on the women’s side, it was a similar story with 3 South Africans surfing their way into the Finals. Nicole Pallet continued her run of form as she charged into the final with her semifinal victory over eventual winner Nonaka. Pallet has been like an encyclopedia when it comes to sussing out the conditions. Learning from each stop along the series, becoming more and more refined, the girl is full of talent and no doubt going places.
South African once again being well represented in the second semi with Kayla Nogueira and Sarah Baum making the most of the shifty conditions and securing their spot and shot in the final. Both Kayla and Sarah used their goofy-footed ways to get stuck in and slash and burn every opportunity that presented itself. It was a pleasure to watch even tho you couldn’t feel your eyeballs because they were almost frozen.
But alas, the SA flooded women’s final was unable to get that elevator door shut before Nonaka stuck her foot through just in time. Wow, I for one am certainly glad she made it. Her surfing was majestic, at one point I thought I was watching figure skating with some upbeat smooth jazz filling in and setting the ambiance. She made her move right at the end, waiting for those perfect waves, and bagging her two highest waves scores on her last two waves. Sarah Baum came close but today close just didn’t crack the Japanese style of Nonaka.
Now over to the men’s final, it was lit. That’s what the younger kids were saying. So that’s what I’m gonna say. Each Surfer was able to show why they deserved their spot in the line-up. However, it wasn’t flash in the pan moments of brilliance that would decide this one, but rather strategy where wave selection was key.
The waves left a lot to be desired so you had to be critical when deciding to have a dip. Jordan Lawler was the man with a plan as he managed to keep his cool and like a sharp-eyed eagle was able to spot those winning runners from afar. A 7 point ride backed up by an 8.25 was enough as he earned a 1st place finish. And rightfully so. Masencamp put in a gutsy effort to smash over the apple cart but wasn’t able to unlock boss mode unable to find those excellent scores he required. McGillivray finishing 3rd and Du Toit having to make do with a 4th place finish.