6 September, 2016 6 September, 2016

A Dozen Pro Surfers Stranded In Spain

Although hopping on a plane may be a luxury, travelling as a surfer is never easy. Lugging awkward board bags through airports, paying hefty fees and having to shove the large coffins into tiny cabs. But things get taken to a whole new level when travelling as a pro surfer for contests – lugging up to ten boards at a time. But the mile-high missions are always worth it when surfers can actually get to their surf destination…

Yesterday, 5 September, local Saffas Matthew McGillivray (ZAF), Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF), Zoe McDougall (HAW) and about ten other international pro surfers were denied access on a flight from a contest in Spain to a contest in Azores, Portugal. But like true lovers, the athletes couldn’t leave their beloved boards behind.


Matthew McGillivray with Zoe McDougall are no strangers to airports around the world.

“At La Coruna Airport the TAP Portugal airline refused to allow the surfboard bags to be put onto flight TP1085,” Donald McGillivray (father of Matthew) wrote on his Facebook. “The surfers were told that the board bags would just get left behind in the airport building and no arrangement would be made to store the boards or get the boards to them in Lisbon.”

The waiting period for the Azores Pro QS 6000 contest started this morning, which means that the surfers are likely to miss their heats. But in true surfer style, a bro maak a plan. The surfers abandoned the flight, hired a car and drove overnight to Lisbon in order to catch another flight. Matthew, Dylan and Zoe spent the night in a hotel in Lisbon and left early this morning for the Azores.


Dylan Lightfoot, Matthew McGillivray and Nate Dorman throw shakas in front of a very loaded car.

The Azores Pro QS 6000 is currently on standby due to the fact that so many surfers were unable to get to the Azores in time. It is likely that the contest directors will wait for all the athletes to get their safely. Luckily, the event also has a six day waiting period. Other South Africans competing in the event are Slade Prestwich, Michael February and Davey Van Zyl.

See them fly live HERE.

Current Saffa WQS rankings:

Dylan Lightfoot – 123

Matthew McGillivray – 88

Davey Van Zyl – 214

Slade Prestwich – 124

Michael February – 80

Matt and Dylan fill up on fuel on their 6hour drive to Lisbon last night.

Matt and Dylan fill up on fuel on their six hour drive to Lisbon last night.

Matthew McGillivray at the Ballito Pro QS 10 000. Image by WSL / Kelly Cestari

Matthew McGillivray in action at the Ballito Pro QS 10 000. Image by WSL / Kelly Cestari

1 Comment

  1. Joy Faust McDougall
    11 September, 2016 at 8:53 pm · Reply

    Thanks Zigzag for the write up and including Zoe. I am woking on refund fromTAP or travel insurance but its not working out so well. TAP calling them all NoShows AND EVEN CANCELING THEIR RETURN FIGHTS . FOR ZOE this costs a minimum of $500 USD . . with shared car, hotel , and new flight . Travel Insurance says this is not flight interuption and TAP calling it a NO SHOW is CRIMINAL ! THEY HAD TO RENT A CAR, drive 8 hours, rent a hotel and buy a new flight .. and have lots of stress almost missing heats and sleep. Thanks to Rob Gunning contest director WSL Europe they did not miss heats.

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