Two of South Africa’s top campaigners on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) have returned to Mzansi to compete in the inaugural Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic pres. by Quiksilver running from Friday to Sunday, 6-8 April.
Matt McGillivray, who started his year by winning the QS3,000 rated Netanya Pro in Israel and is currently No. 8 on the QS rankings, and Beyrick de Vries, holder of the No. 22 spot after back-to-back ninth-place finishes in QS6,000 rated events in Australia, will be among the top three seeds for the men’s event. The pair is separated in the 54-man field by David van Zyl, winner of the opening event of the regional tour in Port Elizabeth last weekend.
This weekend’s event is the first WSL contest to be staged in the high-performance waves at the mouth of the Kowie River since the 1990’s when Port Alfred regularly hosted the year-end series event. The Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic features QS1,000 rated events for men and women and Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) 1,000 events for men and women.
Reigning WSL Africa champion, Nicole Pallet heads the seeding for the QS1,000 women’s event and faces Port Elizabeth winner Kai Woolf in her opening heat. Perennial contenders Faye Zoetmulder, Emma Smith and Crystal Hulett will be determined to boost their regional rankings with a good result here.
Former WSL No. 2 ranked longboard rider Steven Sawyer is the favourite for the inaugural QS1,000 men’s longboard title. He will face tough opposition from veteran former two-time ISA world champ Matthew Moir and fellow Capetonians Thomas King, Alfonzo Pieters and Eastern Cape transplant Michael Hill.
The QS1,000 women’s longboard field is a mixture of youth and experience with young Christy Gilmour up against Tarryn Kyte and Marishka Myers, while Katie Jones from Hawaii gives the event an international flavour.
Waves are a fun two foot, running down a cheeky right rip bowl perfectly suited for competition. Ed Gregory, CEO of Accelerate Sport, had this to say:
“We’re obviously very happy to be in Port Alfred, it’s the first time we’re bringing a QS longboarding event to Africa, and big thanks to the Royal St Andrews Hotel for allowing us to do that. The reason we’ve come to Port Alfred is that we’re looking to start a cousin series to the City Surf Series, called the Town Classics. This will see QS events being held in towns as well, which we’re looking to expand on in 2019.”
Do enjoy our coverage of the event on Instagram & Instagram stories, as well as our daily write-up complete with gallery and video.
Image: Thomas Lindhorst by Ian Thurtell