Ahhhh, how we love the Vans Surf Pro Classic. An event by surfers, for surfers run by a surf company. And the wave, Yoyos, never fails to deliver. Legendary contest director, Dutchie, noted how we didn’t emphasise the similarities between Yoyos and Trestles enough in our previous writeup, so here we are Dutchie, (humbly) mending our errors. Yoyos is damn similar to Trestles! And rippable as hell. The entire day we were berated by shreddable split peaks under a blazing African sun while Captain Kai’s rock playlist pleased our ears. It was a delightful day on the beach. Here are our four favourite performances from day one.
The man grom. That’s what we’re calling Luke Thompson from now on; man grom. You get kids who are forced into the world of adulthood before their time. Maybe their parents emigrated to a foreign country abandoning them to deal with challenges of adulthood at a young age and they’re required to grow up quick. To stand on their own two feet. Where other kids are losing keys, misplacing wallets and dropping phones, the man grom’s consequences for such actions are greatly escalated. Ain’t nobody gonna bail him out! His parents have long left town.
At the tender age of 15, Luke Thompson makes better strategic decisions than most grown ass men. Heat 3 of the Vans Surf Pro Classic and Luke started off with a bang, hustling the first wave off two men with beards, laying down several smooth as butter 90s style carves complete with rebounds which he complimented with an excellently timed closeout bash for a 7.00. Luke then played the priority game like a seasoned vet, keeping others off good waves and backing his 7.00 up with a 5.45. Wisdom hath spoken. Luke acquired the highest single wave score of the Open Men’s division, that’s right, a 15-year-old grom with the highest wave score in a QS 1500 event, not bad going. Man grom, showing the men how to get the job done.
Angelo Faulkner was the standout of the Junior Men’s round 1 division. He stamped his authority early in the heat, dropping a 6.50 and a 4.50 and from there on out, it was the Angelo Faulkner show. Angelo found himself a banger of a wave that stood up like the Queen’s Foot Guards standing to attention outside Buckingham Palace. And Angelo opened up a can of whip-ass on that poor wave. Going vertical on turn one, smoothly transitioning into a wrapping carve on turn two and giving the lip one hell of an uppercut on the closeout. The judges frothing at the mouth awarded Angelo a 7.75 for his efforts, highest single wave score of the round. Angelo, feeling the heat from his ride previous, paddled straight into another cranker; dropping his wallet on turn one and stomping a tail high air reverse in the shore break. The judges, again frothing at the mouth, accorded Angelo a 7.60 and the highest heat score total of the round.
Heat one of the women’s event was a see-saw affair. Nikita Robb came out the blocks guns blazing! We hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing Nikita compete in a while and it seemed she hadn’t skipped a beat. Nikita found herself a left, layed down a couple of beautiful open face carves and dropped a 5.00. Rachel Presti than took the batten from Nikita, finding two waves that ran perfectly off the reef which she surfed for a 6.00 and a 5.65. Halfway through the heat and it looked like Rachel Presti, winner of two JQS 1000s already this year, had the heat win in the bag but it was not to be. As the heat progressed, Piper began to find her stride. The closeout section had been presenting athletes with a conundrum all day long; too early, and your turn will look flat, a millisecond too late and the lip would punish you courtesy of a hard slap to the face! Piper had received two those hard slaps to the forehead but as the heat progressed, she found the solution and it came in the form of a powerhouse under-the-lip hook. And did the judges love it!? Yes, they did! They ate it up like little school kids eating colourful sweets at Sweets From Heaven awarding Piper a 5.35 and a 7.00 and just like that Piper moved into first and onto the next round.
Luke Slijpen has been a standout throughout the entire year. He’s like a trigger-happy lumberjack. He loves nothing more than to just throw his axe at a big tree with a thick trunk. The bigger the trunk, the harder the swing and the happier the Luke. Luke isn’t averse to taking a risk, which results in a pleasurable experience for the spectators. The end section had proven tricky for surfers all damn day long. Only the bravest of the brave would consider even attempting an air on the backwashy closeout and Luke, the trigger-happy lumberjack so happened to be one of those men. Heat 1 of round 2 and Luke went flying down the line, flinging himself into the air for a huge tail high reverse, he stomped the landing like a madman. Before the head judge could present his opinion, his minions, inspired by the performance, awarded Luke an excellent ride 9.00 and the highest wave score of the day.