18 May, 2018 18 May, 2018

Zigzag Durban Surf Pro – Day 1

On the 14th floor of the Garden Court, Marine Parade Hotel is where our day starts. Overlooking the city of Durban. Beautiful. A view that stretches for miles. And you thought the days of hotels were over!? Dead. Courtesy of Air BnB. Think again. We enjoy a five-star breakfast. Tremendously laid out, feeling like a king you place a serving of the fluffiest eggs you’ve ever seen on your plate, complemented by two delicious pork sausages. Damn dog, this is livin! The contest director forces us to bring our kingly breakfast to a premature end. Lame.

We make our way onto the sprawling streets of the Durban beachfront. A Rasta sets up his market stall selling ‘welcome to Zion’ t-shirts. We make our way onto the beach and were greeted by sunshine, white sand, and a fun beach break. Shifting peaks framed by the piers, palm trees behind us. A surf city mini paradise. A land of contrasts. Welcome to Durban city, but more importantly welcome to the Zigzag Durban Surf Pro presented by G-Force.

Here’s who got us woke on day 1:

Nicole Pallet came out guns blazing! Image: Thurtell


Zoe McDougall – No Lover but Still Shredding

The Hawaiian arrived in Durban sans her lover, Matty Mc G. But that didn’t matter, she went to work on the shifty beach breaks of North Beach and the ocean showed her much love. McDougall adapted to the ever-changing North Beach peaks like a chameleon changing colours according to the tones of the foliage. She used the entire beach to get scores. Paddling up and down that pier framed beach like she was paddling around Sunset. When the pocket opened up, she beat the lip, and when it flattened she transitioned through the flats with the greatest of ease. Keeping her speed up nicely. A point that many of the SA girls seem to lack. Last year Zoe took this event out. But on the other side of the draw lies Nicole Pallet. Who’s looking blisteringly hot. We’re frothing to see who emerges victorious.

The Hawaiian’s back. Image: Thurtell

Luke Slijpen & Maxie Elkington – Beachies Suit them Just Fine

Sometimes the Cape Town kids kinda struggle on point break waves. Most Cape Town waves are either quick two hammer beach breaks, or gapping crystalline barrels that you need to drop in underneath. But when it comes to point break flow, it’s certainly something they gotta work on. But give em Cape Town surfers a shifting beachie with weird flat spots and double up closeouts, it’s like they all turn into a couple of fat pink pigs that have just found themselves some filthy black mud. Luke ‘slappin da bass’ Slijpen and Maxie Elkington were two of the CT kids who found their groove out there today. Looking sharp, loose and fast, Luke was able to find little power pockets, easily flying through flats and using the closeouts to acquire scores via air revos. It was a glorious effort, he didn’t get incredible waves, but damn he made those bad waves work for him. Max Elkington, on the other hand, used his giraffe-like frame to hang in the pocket on his backhand. Going vert in the nuggety little weird beach break peaks. The waves were difficult to read, but Maxie picked the eyes out of it, choosing the best waves and reading them like an adult reads a children’s book.


The giraffe slaps another lip. Image: Thurtell

Dan Emslie – The Instinctual (Young) Man

I had the pleasure of watching the Nahoon Reef Pro Junior, I can’t remember if that was the actual name of the comp, all these freakin comps have such complex names, but that’s beside the point. The point is that Dan Emslie put on a dominant performance in both the u14 and u16 division. What was great about Dan, and truly a pleasure to witness, was that Dan (seemed) to act purely on instinct while surfing a wave. He didn’t overthink, or over deliberate on a maneuver or section. He existed purely in the moment. And responded to what he considered to be the best turn for that section. Regardless of what score was required or how risky the turn was. Dan’s instinctual. And in our opinion, That’s dope. He brought that same instinctual surfing from the shark-ridden Nahoon Reef up the N2 to Durban. And we dig. A micro grom, breaking a couple under 18 hearts.

Enjoy a gallery courtesy of the might Ian Thurtell as well as highlights video below:


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