Ahhhh FINALLY! Mother nature gave us a break! Thank the lord! Day 3 of the Royal St Andrews Port Alfred Classic and we arrived on the beach and low and behold it wasn’t pouring with rain and howling onshore. The waves were fun, the clouds were a (slightly) lighter shade of grey and dare I say the sun even came out to say ‘hi’. Today was bound to be an exciting day of surfing and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The cream of the crop rose to the top and we witnessed thrilling battles go down in each division. Here’s a rundown of the finals.
All images, the mighty ‘hawk man’ Ian Thurtell
The Pro Junior Men’s Division – The dark horse Thomas Lindhorst
Watching the junior men’s division was like watching a bunch of Duracell battery bunnies relentlessly run around a field chasing a ball. During the 25 minute final, the junior men surfed 31 waves in total. That’s a wave surfed every 48 seconds. Witnessing ex CT pro, Greg Emslie, the commentator, try keep up with the action, was like witnessing someone starting a career in rap! Only the Lord knows how the judges handled it! But through the Duracell battery mayhem, a certain dark horse stamped his authority from the beginning till end. On Thomas’ second wave he dropped the highest wave score of the heat and it was from that position he lead the heat till the end. Truth be told, Thomas had been shredding all event long, but it was only in his semifinal heat yesterday we noted the dark horse. Yesterday we wrote how Thomas was able to find ‘two diamonds in the rough’ two good waves in a pot of average, today Thomas did the same. He found two great waves and beat them up like Mohammed Ali did Joe Frazier. After his one closeout bash on his high scoring ride, Greg Emslie broke into a cold sweat, replaying the event in his head and describing it in great detail! And you know when you impress the big G, you’re doing something right. Here’s too many more big wins for Thomas and maybe even major sponsor! Someone pick this kid up!
The Pro Junior Women’s Division – The knight in shining armour
Zoe Steyn and Ceara Knight had the tall order of taking on 2 of the Japanese Five in their final heat. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading the previous City Surf Series daily wrap-ups, let us tell you, the Japanese Five have poised an insurmountable task to our South African ladies. But the washy and powerful waves offered by East Beach along with Ceara Knight’s backhand have proved to be an Achilles’ heel for the Japanese girls. If you thought Ceara’s second-place result at the Nelson Mandela Surf Pro was a fluke, think again. Ceara nailed one of the biggest closeout bashes of the division. An ugly meaty section, Ceara and her small frame took it on with reckless abandon. It was such a filthy meat hook, Sebastian Williams, shocked, got up from his seat screaming in disbelief while the rest of us broke into light applause. The judges, as moved as Sebastian dropped Knight a flat 7 for a single manoeuvre.
For a long time, it looked like Zoe Steyn would run away with women’s surfing, but Ceara has shown over the last couple of events she is right up there with the best of the best. We’re predicting that the Zoe, Ceara rivalry will continue for many years to come and so long as the rivalry remains healthy, it’ll be excellent for both girl’s surfing!
The Open Women’s Division – Ariane Ochoa saves the best for last
Ariane of Spain didn’t have the most impressive run through the draw at the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic; in her quarterfinal heat she snuck through by the slimmest of margins (0.10) ahead of Brazilian Julia Camargo. But when finals day dawned Ariane looked like a different surfer. The nuggety powerful wedge-like waves offered by East Beach suited her surfing just fine. Where the Japanese surfers struggled to bury the rail and surf tight, Ariane succeeded. Ariane started the final with an 8.50 – the highest single wave score of the entire division and from there on out it was smooth sailing. She backed her 8.50 with a 5.80 to seal the deal. It was by far the best performance we’d seen from Ariane the entire event and the highest heat score total of the open women’s division… Ariane saved the best for last.
The Open Men’s Division – Dylan’s new shine
If you’ve ever played a strategic board game like Settlers of Catan or something similar, one of the best strategies would be to keep to yourself, don’t boast about your successes but instead keep a low profile. Thus fooling your competitors into believing you’re not a threat so they don’t intercept your manoeuvres towards the prize. By the time your adversaries realise you are in fact a threat for the win, it’s too late! You’ve gathered too much momentum and boom, you emerge victoriously. That’s how we’ve felt about Dylan’s win today. He quietly got the job done, not kicking up too much of a fuss, just doing his thing behind the scenes. By the time people realised he was a threat for the win, he’d already dropped two bomb scores and was well in the lead.
Today Dylan was in control of his victory from the start of the final to the end. He never looked stressed out and hunted out bomb waves surrounded by four hungry competitors. There’s a new shine to Dylan’s surfing and we don’t know whether it’s cause he’s got a new coach (Chris Bond) in his corner or if it’s after his blockbuster result in Australia. Either way, Dyls won his first ever QS event and he did it while displaying good solid power surfing complimented by excellent wave choice. Bet Dyl can’t wait for Durban.