The day (for me) started off at the Royal St Andrews Hotel. A delicious breakfast spread was served. Anything and everything your heart could desire for breakfast, right there in front of you. It was a treat to behold for a part time Zigzag employee. Salmon on Monday! Oooops, I’m rich! The breakfast was so delicious and the service so contrary to what one experiences at the Checkers I was surprised the Queen of England didn’t show up to knight my ass. But as soon as breakfast concluded and we walked out of the front door, the harsh reality of the day set in like a cold dark winter. Onshore wind, rain and frigid temperatures. It wasn’t about to be a pleasant day at the beach. But damn the waves came out to play and even though it wasn’t epic or easy to surf, there was plenty of power and some excellent surfing went down. Here are 5 performances we took a shining to.
All images Ian Thurtell.
Justin Sykes runs hot
Justin runs either hot or cold. He’s no Toyota Tazz, no sir, Toyota’s never break down. He’s more like a Land Drover Defender, you never know when the things gearbox is going to fail. But damn, everybody wants a Land drover Defender and when that thing is running you can drive it all the way to China across the ocean. Justin Sykes arrived to the party this morning and he was hot as sin. He proceeded to layer a couple of waves with some delightful backhand whips, revelling in the powerful conditions provided by East Beach. The judges took a shining to his ballsy approach, offering him a 4.75 for wave one and 6.50 for wave two, as well as the heat win. Justin ran out of steam in his round 2 heat but when he’s hot, his surfing is incredible to watch!
Sebastian Williams awakens
Round one heat 8, Sebastian Williams took off on his first wave and he looked bored, uninterested. He looked like a kid in an accounting class who wanted nothing more than to be anywhere else. He stalled his board, stalled some more and we thought it was going to be another (classic) Sebastian fly away, but not today. Sebastian launched himself into the air, tail high, almost full roat and brought it back home safely in the foam. The crowd went wild, applause erupted on the beach and the judges delivered him a 6.75 for his efforts. Sebastian spent the next 15 minutes unsuccessfully trying more airs and as the heat wound to a close we thought Sebastian may just get knocked out due negligence. Not today. Sebastian found himself a runner from the back. He reeled it back in and activated with one big drawn out roundhouse. The wave drained as it hit the inside bank and Sebastian concluded by smashing the lip twice in a row. Where others fell Sebastian was able to hang on… and comfortably. The judges frothed, consigning him with the first excellent ride of the day: a straight eight.
The Japanese Five continue
The good, the bad and The Japanese Five continued their (complete) dominance of the women’s division. They won every single one of their heats. The conditions were tricky and a far cry from what we’d seen the Japanese Five prevail in at the Pipeline but it seems the Japanese Five will triumph no matter the obstacle in their path. The waves were powerful, there was a rip running through the lineup and if you hadn’t spent much time in Port Alfred before the event, chances are you would’ve been as lost as an Englishman in Tokyo. But the Japanese Five impressed and it’s becoming evident that they’ll adapt to whichever way the curve ball curves. Damnit, what the hell is Wade Sharp doing with these kids!?
Ariana Ochoa best turn award
Ariana Ochoa started her heat off terribly, unable to find a wave that offered anything. Her first two waves both came in at 0.5. By the time she took off on her third wave she’d clearly had enough. While the majority of the girls had been going for insiders that ran nicely off the sand bank, Ariana of Spain took off on a set wave and as it drained committed to going big! With full commitment, Ariana nailed the turn of the division. The judges, impressed with her commitment to the cause, awarded her a 6.75 for a single manoeuvre. She then headed back to takeoff zone and backed her high six with a flat four. Ariana lead the heat the entire way well into the final five minutes until Minami Nonaka part of the Japanese Five, dropped it like it was hot: a solid eight point ride, stealing the heat win from Ariana in the dying minutes.
Beyrick the man
Before Beyrick’s clash with Bryce, Andrew Laverge and Jarred Veldhuis he looked calm. He looked like a man who had everything under control. The Red Bull truck arrived and promptly set up their music system in one of the containers and started pumping dance tunes, to which Beyrick started grooving. Calm as a bomb. A man in charge and at ease. The hooter sounded and from the moment Beyrick stood up on his first wave he had the other competitors floundering around like a couple of ducks in a pond. His first wave was impeccably surfed for an eight – equal highest wave score of the event with Sebastian Williams and Minami Nonaka. Beyrick began his second wave by flying across the face, lightening fast, clearing a massive section courtesy of a drop tail float, he then set his fins free on a massive tail waft off-the-lip and sealed the deal with a powerhouse closeout bash. Excellent surfing. The beach erupted in a light applause suitable for the queen and the judges, although they didn’t put their hands together, made their adulation known via the score; 9.00. Beyrick surfed 4 waves in his heat, 3 of which were in the top five highest scoring rides of the day. Beyrick’s a danger man.
Enjoy this here gallery courtesy of Ian Thurtell.