Ahhh it’s that time of the year again; the start of the South African leg of the QS tour. First off we have the Nelson Mandela Surf Pro taking place in our favourite windy/friendly city, Port Elizabeth. Besides the obvious poignant points which makes Pipeline a great place to hold a contest like a well-kept beachfront area, the lack of crime and a couple of nice bars and eateries close by, here are several other exciting things to consider.
There’s a large international contingent. Last year there was Jordan Lawler who attended the first event of the City Surf Series along with a few other international hopefuls, this year there are 21 international surfers. That’s almost double the amount of non-South African surfers as 2018. The City Surf Series is growing faster than a short kid who elongated through puberty and the easiest way to tell, count the internationals.
Old boy Stanley Badger has signed up to show the groms how it’s done. Remember Stanley Badger? That’s right Stan the man ain’t over the hill just yet. He spent a bit of time in cold, dark Norway and upon his return to sunny SA has discovered a new lease on life and the drive to show the groms how to shred in small waves. Growing up in St. Francis, Stan’s spent enough time at the Pipeline groveling around to make the EP team, so we can’t wait to see if he can convert that ancient wisdom to relevant work experience.
The Women have their work cut out for them. In 2018 there wasn’t a single non-South African female surfer competing at the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro, this year there are 10 most of which are from the land of the rising sun. And if Japanese surfers know anything, it’s groveling in weird lumpy, bad waves, which is typically what Pipe serves for breakfast lunch and dinner. With last year’s event champion, Kai Woolf not in the draw the girls have their work cut out to keep victory on South African soil but it’s a task we know they‘re cut out to take on!
The Forecast looks okay. Whenever anyone thinks of holding a contest at the mighty Pipeline, the primary concern is ‘will there be waves’ and if you climb that hurdle the next concern would be, ‘will the wind not be blowing a thousand miles an hour?’ Once you’ve answered ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to those subsequent questions we can look at having a good time. PE isn’t known for its abundance of waves but looking at the forecasts things aren’t looking bad. There will be a fair amount of South in the swell which Elizabeth loves and Friday’s looking wonderfully wind still. Keep the champaign on ice though, we wouldn’t want mother Elizabeth to change her tune.
The South African men are coming in hot. The South Africans have enjoyed a flashy two years on the QS tour. With the City Surf Series, SA surfers have competed internationally with far greater success. The South Africans are also not as intimidated by big names. Kelly who? Just jokes that’s taking it far. But the point remains, every South African’s a danger man on home soil and it will be damn interesting to see who takes the first victory of the City Surf Series.