2 July, 2014 2 July, 2014

State of the Nation (Following Mr Price Pro Disappointment)

The Saffa surf community are disappointed, some possibly a little pissed. All year long we wait to watch our local favourites destroying the international field of professional surfing tourists in our backyard. And sometimes they do, sometimes they get close, but this year they came far from close. As far from close as they may have ever been.

Our South African WQS representatives had a collective shocker of a performance at this year’s Mr Price Pro. If it were a team sport the ZAF team would have come stone last. All out by Round 2 is a horrible news headline to wake up to.

Dale Staples preps for his Round 1 heat, knee strapped.

It’s easy to sit on the spectators bench and feel bitter about their performance, but maybe a closer look into each individual’s performance might give a little ray of hope to those calling it an ugly-looking State of the Nation. A small dig into the situation and maybe it’s not as bad as it looks. I’m not here to make excuses for our boys, but that’s possibly exactly how you might interpret what you’re about to read.


Shane Sykes

Excuse – Very lightie and surfing the biggest event of his life.

Shane Sykes was punching above his weight and loving it.

Shaney scored his biggest ever result on Saturday, when he finished runner-up in the Mr Price Pro Trials to earn himself a wildcard. He was the youngest in the event and raised his froth level to a high as he came close to taking out seasoned campaigners. Shane never made it through his heat, but the experience on a whole was a win/win and he is lining himself up as our next big thing.


Brandon Jackson

Excuse – He does the 8-to-fiver.

Jacko is no stranger to big events and big results. With his thunder thighs and the conditions on offer, he was looking like a good bet. And he nearly was, but a 8-to-fiver man vs a full-time campaigner is no easy task.



Excuse – The beginner learning curve.

Dylan Lightfoot, Slade Prestwich, Mikey February and Davey Van Zyl all entered this event via the generosity of the ASP and event wildcards. Going into Prime events with a year’s experience on tour and coming up against guys with five years, ten years and well over that is far easier dreamt than done. Not that any of them are lacking the talent, as they showed us, but at this level talent counts for only half.

David Van Zyl has been moving up the WQS rankings, and now sits within the Top 100.

Davey was the exception of the bunch as he made the second round to score solid Prime points, which should see him bump up a few places on the QS rankings.

As for the other three, you can’t criticise their performance. Dylan lost as he searched for a miserably small 3.88 score in horrible conditions. Slade, while under pressure half way through his heat, nailed the scores he needed. That was until the judges nudged him out of second with a slight over score in the favour of Jonathan Gonzales from the Canary Islands (you would think the scores would go in favour of the local). And Mikey, quickly becoming an international favourite, seemed to be going through a small board rut, swapping and changing boards in free-surfs before the event.

M-Feb was hard at work testing boards at Bogs.

None of them got the results they were dreaming of beforehand, but they received Prime points in exchange and perhaps now know in their minds that they belong in the Prime events.



Dale Staples

Excuse – Knee injury

No one is going to be making heats at this level surfing 25% below full strength. But he got some points and he got some prize money.


Beyrick De Vries

Excuse – Tactical error

There was nothing wrong with Beyrick’s surfing. A tactical error cost him his heat.

Beyrick was looking fast, sharp and landing throw tails at will, but a slight misjudgment of a priority disc change sent him headfirst into an interference call and a one-way ticket to the sideline. It’s just one of those things and he can only but learn from it, and we can only hope the others do too. Huntington Beach is next for Beyrick and his small wave surfing is looking next level. He is also not half bad at places slightly bigger, like Sunset (said with a tone of sarcasm).


Travis Logie

Excuse – The hard luck/tough conditions excuse

Trav took out his first heat looking like it was just another stock standard warm-up heat on route to a blitzing 12 heat victory path. But the following day the conditions went far south, turning the comp into a luck-of-the-draw wave catching event. Trav scored one banker ride early, but failed to repeat that feat for the rest of the heat. Ask anyone on the beach and they will tell you it was a lucky packet out there. Yadin Nicol said it best in his post heat interview. “You could easily fall into rhythm and easily fall out of rhythm,” he claimed. Trav will be taking that backhand whip with him to J-Bay next week to dismantle a few long walls. That backhand gets deadlier by the season.


Jordy Smith

Excuse – “I had one shocker, give me break.”

Jordy wasn’t at his best, but even at 50% he is incredible. Just not incredible enough.

Jordy is our shining star, who we can always count on to keep that flag of ours flying on the final day of the event. This year was different though, as he delivered his worst result in 10 years, if not more. He started slow in his first heat, and was struggling to finish his rides, but mid-way through he started finding his rhythm and throwing his tail around like it was just another video part.

In his second heat, Jords did not look like himself the whole way through. Until the final minute that is, when he threw down the kind of air that the best dream of landing in their free-surfs. It’s possibly his first ever hiccup at this event, so even though he makes the other competitors look like children, we can’t expect huge results from him every year. It just can’t always happen. But who cares, J-Bay is next. Keep that flag out and on stand-by.



We had ten South Africans in the event. Four of them experienced. Four of them rookies. One grom. One retired full-time corporate.

Our four experienced surfers all had a simultaneous flop at the same event. Nothing unheard of in any sporting event. This time next year our four rookies will only be stronger. Our grom will still be a grom, but surfing unlike a grom. And if our corporate keeps his thunder thighs in shape, he will still be gouging his way into next year’s Prime and doing it for the working class.

Felipe has been going crazy…

As for today’s performances – Torrey Meister has bumped himself up there as a beach favourite along with Felipe Toledo, who is still surfing like a character in a Playstation game.

Compliments of Captain Kai, here are some video highlights from Day 3 of the Mr Price Pro (sans Saffas)

Check out www.mrpricepro.com for all the results, video highlights and more.


  1. Andrew Lange
    2 July, 2014 at 6:25 pm · Reply

    well said Dan…

  2. Nick
    2 July, 2014 at 6:32 pm · Reply

    Sorry don’t eat this. They ALL need to pull finger. All a bunch of sponsored pussy’s dreaming of their next gopro clip in Namibia / Mozam. Lets hope that pays the bills in 5 years time… As for Jeffreys, other than Jordy, there will be no other South Africans in Round 3. FACT. The Brazilians just want it more, as much as I hate to say that, as a Saffa. Poor state of affairs.

    • Kevin
      2 July, 2014 at 6:48 pm · Reply

      Ah Nick, so much bitterness. Is it really worth getting so worked up about surfing, which is a hugely subjective ‘sport’? The best surfer is the one having the most fun, as they say. It doesn’t sound like you’ve been having much fun.

      • Nick
        2 July, 2014 at 7:22 pm · Reply

        Kev (if I may) I have way more fun when SA is kicking arse. The whole “its subjective” and “its for fun”…have you seen the share price of Quik, Rip Curl etc lately? Its a business like the Boks playing for business. If it was for fun then don’t get sponsored, dont enter a contest under your countries flag and stay clear of contests. Jordy is making real $ not because he is having fun (well thats incidental and he is enjoying the spin off of it, but he is a marketing whore), because it’s pays the bills and then some. It’s now a real sport not some J-Bay in the 60’s hippy shit. These kids better pull finger, or pull out. Its for real not for fun. I just don’t see anyone filling the void after Jordy (CT), Beyrick (QS) and Twigg (BWT). Its a sad state of affairs and the administrators probably have to take some blame? I wanna see at least 8 Saffa’s in the CT sadly there is just 1 in the QS top ranks and 2 in the CT, one (Travis) has done good service but is on his way out. For a country so varied with talent and surf we should be producing way more committed talent. Why are the Brazilians so much hungrier than we are?

        • Kevin
          2 July, 2014 at 7:32 pm · Reply

          I hear you, bru. But have you checked the Rio Carnaval before? Brazilians do everything more passionately. The reason they appear to be doing better is because they have a lot more preparation than our lot do. They have a handful of Prime events and a strong local tour. SA has no local tour (past the Junior age division), so there’s no last step to competing on the WQS. Still, considering our numbers, we’re doing okay. I reckon you should add Bianca Buitendag to your list, because she is going to be making headlines for a few years. Maybe. Maybe not. It doesn’t really matter that much at the end of the day.

    • JarrydSmith
      2 July, 2014 at 8:22 pm · Reply

      Nick, for lack of a better or more PC reply, you’re being a dick with your presumptuous and very over-generalised comment. I have had the privilege of commentating the Mr Price Pro for the last 10 years and yes, the Saffas had a bad event this year but, it is in no way an indication of our competitive desire or hunger. To state (categorically) that there will only be one Saffa (Jordy) in the 3rd round at Jbay shows your lack of faith & support in our guys. Perhaps you prefer being negative and judging from the comfort of your recliner whilst watching the live streaming from home, but maybe you should rather go and watch Tennis. Last time I checked, surfing is like golf – you will lose far more than you win. And to make it professionally takes a shit load of determination, incredible mental strength to always pick yourself up, and an unbelievable amount of support, including financial backing. So, come off your stupid high horse and positively support our boys or shut up and go home. I guarantee you do not have the foggiest idea where half these guys have come from and how damn hard they have worked to get there. If one guy truly understands, it’s Dan Redman, which is why he has penned such a great article here.

      • Nick
        3 July, 2014 at 7:03 pm · Reply

        Jarryd. Stop slurp slurping the industry and Redman’s c$%k. You wanna know about heritage and where people come from…lets look at our touring pro’s in the 80’s and 90’s. These guys had to seriously grovel with no youtube or www. C’mon we even had Mike Burness at no2 in the world. These kids get it thrown at their feet. Check back in with you when Jordy’s in the 3rd round and no one else. I will support them when they start showing heart and gut…I go back to the Brazilians here. Youv’e had the great privilege of commentating on them the last 10 years, so take note.

        • Nick
          3 July, 2014 at 7:21 pm · Reply

          PS: I will be in Jeffreys to watch the Open go down, so no armchair stuff (been watching live contests internationally when you were suckling your moms areola). Lets make it interesting and chuck in a few leopards. Whats your industry fee for commentating on the Mr Price again?

          • JarrydSmith
            3 July, 2014 at 8:07 pm ·

            What a hero.

          • Nick
            3 July, 2014 at 8:50 pm ·

            Haha Jarryd, please say that on the mic again…you been doing it for 10 years…youre a legend, you know it. Nice one. Slurp

        • JarrydSmith
          3 July, 2014 at 7:29 pm · Reply

          What a well thought out comeback. You’re so right, everything and everyone else is wrong. It must be so much fun being you. Your lack of perspective and actual intellect is astounding. Trying to argue with you would be about as useful as urinating into the summer onshore wind. If only I realised Mike Burness was once no. 2 in the world!

          • Nick
            3 July, 2014 at 7:33 pm ·

            Keep slurping commentating champ.

    • david
      3 July, 2014 at 10:59 am · Reply

      The reason is the whites have it too easy here,I predict an affirmative surfer doing the eurobrazilian dance on the waves in 10 years time or more,making us proud
      Imagine that headline 1977 Shaun Tomson,2027 Zama Zama,,LOL

  3. Terry Lewis
    2 July, 2014 at 7:06 pm · Reply

    Reading this as an outsider from the surfing community, but a lover of surf and sport, I cant help feeling that we Saffer sport lovers are better at breaking down than building up. I also interpret these comments as a contribution to raising the standard, And how else can you improve on your international performance until you have competed and been beaten? Next time better!

  4. ICE
    2 July, 2014 at 8:52 pm · Reply

    The simple fact as we know it is no one made 2 heats! It was weak, no 2 ways about it. Deep down in side as much as we don’t like to admit it the level of junior surfing in south Africa is fluff. Very few guys have grown up respecting anyone and honestly think that if they just rock up they will win heats… There are some great juniors and there are some guys who can seriously make a run at it. We grew up losing heats to the best south Africa ever had to offer. There where natal champs with CT guys in round 1 heats. The international guys throw 150% at every turn, and pull it off. The cream always rises to the top, sus judging, bad waves, whatever, there is a formula some guys have that makes them win heats! If you want to make it on the tour juniors, suck it up, respect the tough criticism from the older crew when you fail and get fired up! Watch filipe and medina, if you want the formula they have it, passion, mad nutty brazo passion! throw your arms up, claim it, cry when you lose and when you win! Wear you heart on your sleeve not your ego…

  5. neil
    2 July, 2014 at 9:13 pm · Reply

    The questions we should be asking should be about how do we provide better support to our young surfers. Some of the same guys that moan about our competitive performance will often be the first to burn the groms in the water and stop them getting waves when they are trying to train or take part in junior comps. It would be great to see more of the experienced guys mentoring the younger guys – it happens and some give their time generously but how do we do that better in a sport where competition is widely perceived as uncool? We need to take an honest look at the formal support structures too – how can we make that world class and how do we get the resources to lift our training to world class levels? Not easy at all, when the participating population in relatively small – but if we resign ourselves to not being able to provide world class support then we should recognize that we aren’t making it any easier in a sport where the odds for success are already tougher than most sports.

    • david
      3 July, 2014 at 10:50 am · Reply

      I disagree,give them a million waves and mentor them to mozam and back,if they havnt got it, they havnt got it..full stop…you cant make someone surf better than they are able to,
      the juniors already get enough of that,if they are not world class by 21,they should get a real job not sponge off they parents to make up the numbers.
      So why must I give up my set wave?
      We must just face reality,just like our musos,besides one or two who hit lucks,the music sucks big time…LOL

      • neil
        3 July, 2014 at 1:59 pm · Reply

        thanks for so ably demonstrating my point…

  6. Basil
    3 July, 2014 at 6:49 am · Reply

    In my opinion the overall quality of the competitors in this event has been on par (if not better) than a WCT event. Crap conditions being torn to pieces heat after heat. Yes, our guys lost early, but they lost to some VERY good surfers… This might be the result of the recent promotion / relegation disaster for the ASP where salty old dogs have kept their place on the CT (think Tiago Pires, Bede Durbidge and Raoni Montero) while the exceptional young guns are kept below the glass ceiling on the QS. I have surfed with Slade, Davey, Jacko and most of the SA guys in the water at some point or other and they freakin’ rip. They are good enough to compete on the international stage, but they have just been shown what the CT will demand of them…

  7. chop
    3 July, 2014 at 6:54 am · Reply

    OMG Only three points in response:
    Read the Stab forums pussies
    Sean Holmes
    Bye Bye

  8. couch coach
    3 July, 2014 at 7:16 am · Reply

    none of the saffas have the air game at this stage to compete with these guys, and that was what was scoring. kak performances kak excuses

  9. Random
    3 July, 2014 at 8:01 am · Reply

    Thanks for the
    article Dan. My thoughts are not about this event alone, but more about looking
    into the crystal ball and thinking where is this going. This event highlights
    what I suspect is only going to get more and more grim for us, unless we pull
    finger. First off SA’s surfing is better than ever before. The kids these days
    are way better than when I was a grom. This leads me to wonder why surfers in
    the UK never showed much threat in international contests, despite their
    talent. They have a healthier surfing population than SA. Their talent is well
    supported financially and make no bones about it, they have some blisteringly surfing
    to show. I suspect that the answer has something more to do with a nations pedigree,
    heritage and culture rather than quality of waves, talent and to a less degree,
    support. Potter is a good example of this. Probably the only real claim to
    fame, for the UK surfing community. When he transplanted to the UK and won a
    title, the result was Russel Winter ( who was a kak surfer, and should never
    have been on tour). Call it psychological, spiritual, whatever, the hidden
    factor is crucial to the results of international surfing content. As a surfer
    with the weight of a nation, (or read big bucks international sponsor) the
    belief and pressure of your predecessors, gives you credibility. Have no
    giants, or a fading facade of them, your cutties and checkturns earn zip. This
    has been blatant over the last few years, on the World tour. Rookies are few
    and Judges will looks less closely at surfers with little backing (sponsor or
    otherwise). So, as a small surfing nation (compared to AUS, USA and BRA), SA
    will always be punching above her weight when it comes to big events around the
    world. They do’t know who the feck van Zyl (prob one of my fav SA surfers at
    the mo), is. We are probably living off the last petrol rag of credibility as a
    surfing nation. How did our juniors fare again? The baton needs to be passed,
    constantly and frequently or we will have to go back to square one. Like Brazil
    did. They got pissed of, and through emotional effort, have given their kids
    something to carry ahead. We did it too, when we came back from isolation. We
    had a point to prove, thanks to Tomson (and others). But that is only the
    catalyst. You cannot thrive off the afterthoughts of your glory days – Canning,
    Emslie, Weare, Logie, Smith. Seriously, who is next? I year, or two, ago I thought
    it would have been Joubert or Staples. It still could be?!? But do we really
    have anything to prove anymore? For our sake, I hope so.

  10. Jerome
    3 July, 2014 at 10:21 am · Reply

    We need more brains in the development of SA surfing. The days are gone when the retired pro becomes the guy making all the decisions. Time for a business man to get involved with a level head (being a surfer is not a necessity) and with a support base of surfing knowledge from a board per say. This will help in growing our talent to be mentally and physically conditioned for international level. cant rely on raw talent anymore.

  11. lassie
    3 July, 2014 at 10:41 am · Reply

    the local commentators hit the nail on the head the other day…when the east is up the ous vaai fishing when the west is up they slay it…..
    thats the answer…easy peasy…
    The conditions at the comp were good enough for all the locals to win heats if they put the time in the water when the NE blasts…
    no excuses
    RSA is years behind and with the exception of maybe one two lucks,the pros must focus on what their next job will be,as def not WCT material

  12. Craig Thompson
    3 July, 2014 at 12:18 pm · Reply

    Please no excuses – youth, inexperience, new rules, wind, conditions, luck, etc. This is starting to sound like commentary on our second rate national soccer team. The Brazilians are a fine example of how to take the surfing world by storm despite many challenges to become the emerging dominant surfing power. South African surfing can do better and Jordy Smith is a world class example of this. Respect to Travis Logie too, he is one heck of a fighter.

  13. mrempty
    3 July, 2014 at 2:53 pm · Reply

    People really still care about nationality and surfing? Crazy, I had no idea.

  14. J Bones
    3 July, 2014 at 5:27 pm · Reply

    It’s simple. We are too spoilt for waves…nobody surfs when the wind is up. Contests are not in 4-6ft clean New pier, Outer Kom, J-Bay and Nahoon like the junior events. Contests, as we all know, are won and lost in onshore dribble in Oz, Brazil, Europe and US (most primes). Lets take a look at Hawaii as a parallel. If Hawaii was geographically in South Africa and not a US state you would see NO surfers come out of there except a few freaks equivalent to our Jordy’s or Shaun Tomsons. They are similar surfers to us, guys who charge, like good conditions, have solid rail games, good flow, bottom turns etc. (Coincidentally, SA surfers have historically performed well in good Hawaiian surf) Unseen to the world, They have an insane amount of underground surfers who rip but could NEVER cut it on tour. The only thing keeping those Hawaiian surfers around is constant exposure from the industry and their geographical proximity to the US / Oahu for the winter. (the equivalent our South Coast/ North Coast shredder who travels to Durban for one event a year) We have amazing waves in our country, amazing surfers but little exposure. One prime event? Rather give us x2 5 star events so that our guys can get some points/money instead of slam us with one uber competitive event each year that frothing Brazilians will destroy.

    x2 5/6 star events please. no Primes. Corporate SA surf brands sponsoring these kids need to work on getting our boys overseas more where they can all quickly realize the hustle and bustle of real competitive surfing, which is often times not the best looking surfing.

  15. pothief
    4 July, 2014 at 5:22 am · Reply

    no where near enough contests at grassroots level…..dbn needs surfing clubs,with regular contests….

  16. Mommies Niple
    4 July, 2014 at 9:57 am · Reply

    Simple numbers here chaps .How many youngsters around the world want onto the CT compared to say 15-20 years ago ? How many movie clips have you seen recently from okes all over the world that rip? There is just that much more top level surfers than ever before scrapping it out and trying to make a living from a miniscule opportunity.Okes need to have that life and death approach nailed and locked in the peanut…..cause the Brazzo’s and co aint got anything less with their backgrounds.

  17. drdoctor
    4 July, 2014 at 11:46 am · Reply

    Attention !!! South Africa has a bleak future ahead in surfing terms.
    I don’t know what data bundles you guys are using,but when I see the overseas juniors surfing… I see men,
    but when I see South African juniors surfing… I see children.

    • grant1966
      4 July, 2014 at 12:04 pm · Reply

      Youre wrong,There will always be a place for South Africa in surfing…BEHIND THE SCENES…LOL

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