6 April, 2018 6 April, 2018

Port Alfred Classic – Opening Day

East Beach, Port Alfred is superbly suited to host a contest. The carpark ends perfectly in front of the takeoff zone with the judge’s tower overlooking the surf zone in the most gorgeous fashion. 

The opening day of the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic presented by Quiksilver began most idyllically. A gentle two-foot right-hand rip bowl presented itself out front, gently groomed by a light offshore. But soon all hell broke loose, as a cold front made it’s way down the coast from Cape Town. The offshore awakened and started unrooting umbrellas in the immediate vicinity, 85% of people on the beach wearing caps lost ’em, and even a small sausage dog was blown out to sea. Okay, that last part was a joke. No dogs went missing. But damn did it get sandy. If you had a sandblasting business, you’d be in the money. Sand err’where. Anyhow, that doesn’t take away from PA being a great contest area, cause it’s a damn fine place.

Here’s who sandblasted our glasses today.

The morning was idyllic, but once the wind awoke, the sand became omnipresent. Image: Ian Thurtell

Emma Smith – Thought She was at Lower Point

Once the wind picked up and the tide dropped, East Beach began to look like the inside drainers at Lower Point on a windy day. You know those days when a big swell lights up the charts and every Tom, Dick and Harry from Cape Town and Durban hop in their cars to meet the swell in Mecca only to find that the swell was one degree too west rendering Jbay 1-2ft inconsistent? That’s what East Beach looked like today. A low-pressure system swell that was too West trickling down windy Lower Point. Emma Smith revelled in the conditions! Picking off the best waves and making ’em count. She was so comfortable, she might as well have put on her waitressing apron and taken a few orders like she was at Ninas. Meat hacks with a side salad. Emma delivered.

I’ll take the meat hack Ninas special, please. Image: Ian Thurtell

Luke Malherbe’s Heavy Back Foot

Luke Malherbe was awarded the highest wave and heat score of the Men’s. And damn was it well deserved. Surfing with a front deck grip, and looking dope as Luke holds nothing back. His surfing reminds one of Mikey Wright. It’s rock n’ roll. Not emo Jarred Letto, 30 Seconds to Nowhere crap, it’s proper garage rock. And we dig it. Luke seems to ride boards which are a touch wider than most of his colleagues, perfectly complimenting his heavy back foot. Luke surfs precise, he surfs fast and he surfs with variety. He’s still a junior, and hopefully, he keeps the flaming burning hot, cause we can feel it from here.


Dale Staples – An Advocate for Clean Lines 

Dale’s kinda like Frederico in that he surfs the same in 2ft or 8ft waves. Thus his surfing looks gradually better as the surf increases in size. Like a southern redneck American. The bigger the better. But today Dale showed that if the wind is howling offshore and the homies can’t bust rotations, clean, seamless power surfing reigns. His surfing contained no trickery, no flickery, just good old well-linked power carves complimented by 90’s lip jams. If the swell pulls through as predicted and East Beach ends up being 30-40ft as they’ve been saying, the Duck will certainly be one to watch out for.

“His surfing contained no trickery, no flickery, just good old well-linked power carves complimented by 90’s lip jams.” Image: Ian Thurtell

Zoe’s Backhand Continues to Impress

Now we’ve written a fair amount about Zoe in the previous QS1500 in PE-ness. But who can blame us!? Cause Zoe’s backhand is so damn good. She’s got gangster wrap-flow, like Slim Shady back in the day. She keeps low and maintains her speed from one man0euver to the next with ease. I’ll put my neck right out there on the French guillotine, actually, take that back, we’ll put Zigzag’s neck on the guillotine and say she’s got the best flow in the girl’s division. 

It takes a certain level of surfing maturity to keep your flow and speed up through major manoeuvres and Zoe’s got it down. She looks like a female CJ Hobgood. Now lets see her at 10ft Chopes… haha maybe not just yet.  

If we could compare Zoe’s surfing to anybody, it would most certainly be the Hobgoods. Image: Ian Thurtell

Do enjoy the gallery from the day’s action below courtesy of the mighty Ian Thurtell and the highlights video:


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