Dylan Lightfoot and Zoë Steyn ARE the 2019 World Surf League Africa QS winners. For Lightfoot, everything kicked into the next gear after winning the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic and the Vans Surf Pro Classic in Lamberts Bay, his first QS wins.
“Personally, it’s a stepping stone to achieving my goal to qualify for the Championship Tour (CT). Going into 2019 it was my goal to win a QS event and win the WSL Africa title, so I am super stoked to have achieved both,” said Lightfoot.
“This year I just wanted to focus on enjoying my surfing in the moment, as cliché as it sounds. There are a lot of factors that can distract you on the QS from the fundamental reason why you began surfing in the beginning, like the enjoyment.”
“The biggest learning curve for me on the QS this year is how crucial it is to make the correct decisions in heats that allow you to be in rhythm with the scoring rides,” said Lightfoot.
“When you qualify to surf in the QS10,000 events the level of surfing is so high and everyone rips – it’s a matter of making the right decisions in the moment that allow you to advance through or not.”
Lightfoot is in Hawaii with a handful of fellow South African surfers, to gain knowledge and experience on the North Shore.
“Hawaii is a place I haven’t quite grasped yet and the waves are so different from what I am used to on the WQS. Qualifying for the WCT this year for me is a long shot with my current ranking but I want to give 2019 all I’ve got and reassess what I would like to achieve going into 2020 after the Triple Crown.”
The women’s race was a much tighter affair between Zoë Steyn and Ceara Knight from Kommetjie, with less than 200 points separating the surfers at the end of the season.
“Ceara and I had quite a ding-dong battle this year. Competition is good and the rivalry is healthy! I am very happy with the results, as it gives me another shot at qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, and of course, getting into bigger QS events is a huge boost,” said Steyn
The 15-year-old does not shy away from hard work and will focus on completing school while still competing in as many QS events as time and schoolwork will allow.
Growth and consistency sum up her goals for the next season, while her biggest lesson from this year is simple: “Perseverance is crucial.”