Third-placing surfer McGillivray had the weight of qualification on his shoulders, as a win would have ‘officially’ gained him his first year on the CT. But he surfed with casual confidence and found a barrel in the Final to lock in a 5.83, his highest score of the heat.
The 22-year-old from Jeffrey’s Bay took on a veteran field in the Semifinals and eliminated two-time Hawaiian Pro winner Michel Bourez and eleven-time World Champion Kelly Slater en route to the Final. Stealthily stacking the results, McGillivray is in a strong position heading into the Vans World Cup, where his best result was a Quarterfinal finish in 2018.
With this result, McGillivray moved into the top ten on the QS at number 6. The top 10 surfers qualify for the Championship Tour if they have not already secured their place by requalifying on the CT.
Despite World Title hopeful Jordy Smith pulling out of the event due to injury, there was a strong South African contingent of McGillivray, Adin Masencamp, David Van Zyl, Dylan Lightfoot, Beyrick De Vries, and Michael February. February surfed against Kelly Slater in Round 3, however, bowed out after putting up a stylish performance and the second highest wave of the heat, a 6.50.
Masencamp was also eliminated in Round 3, while DVZ and Lightfoot finished in 17th place. De Vries moved up 15 spots to nr.27 on the qualifying series after his Quarterfinal finish.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing now moves seven miles up the North Shore to Sunset Beach for event No. 2, the Vans World Cup of Surfing. With a holding window from November 25 – December 7, contest organizers are targeting tomorrow, Monday, November 25, to kick-off the competition as the WNW swell continues to provide contestable, and arguably bigger surf to the lineup at Sunset.
Once his qualification has been made official, Matt will be joining fellow South African surfer Jordy Smith on the elite Championship Tour of Surfing.