Men and Women Post Big Scores in Rippable Conditions
Dairy Beach delivered rippable one metre offshore waves on the opening day of the Corona Durban Surf Pro presented by Quiksilver and Roxy and the surfers took full advantage, posting big scores and futuristic performances.
The third of five stops on the City Surf Series completed two rounds of the QS1,000 men’s event and Round 1 of the QS1,000 women’s with the top seeds dominating proceedings as they staked their claim for event honours and points on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) and WSL Africa regional rankings.
Former WSL Championship Tour (CT) campaigner and World Masters Champion, Greg Emslie (East London), showed that he is still a class act despite celebrating his 40th birthday last year, cruising through both his heats with state of the art manoeuvres and skilled heat management.
Surfing well within his capabilities, Bigfoot, as he is colloquially known, easily won his opening match-up with a heat total of 13.33 out of 20. Emslie then opened up in his Round 2 encounter, pushing his scores over the eight point range and into the excellent category with a 9.17 and an 8.83 giving him a heat total 18.0, the highest of the day.
Rankings leader Michael February (Kommetjie) stayed on track to retain the Skullcandy striped vest with another polished display and current No. 2 Steven Sawyer showed he is as adept in the Durban beach breaks as he is in point breaks of his hometown of Jeffreys Bay by accumulating a heat winning score.
It was Mathew McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) produced the single best ride of the day, awarded a near perfect 9.50 for a series of explosive moves while Dairy Beach local Chad du Toit (Durban) included an 8.0 in his heat win and Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) showed his comfort in the warm water, sand bottom conditions with a comfortable victory in the last men’s heat of the day.
Three of the international contingent advanced to that last 32 in the men’s event with Braden Jones winning his encounter and fellow Americans Dylan Christensen and Nate Dorman finishing runner-up in their respective Round 2 clashes.
The women’s event started with top seed Zoe McDougall (HAW) showing the talent that has taken her to No. 13 on the QS rankings. The 17 year-old from Sunset Beach eased to a comfortable win an 8.0 and a 5.67 and is through to the quarterfinals.
Reigning WSL Africa women’s champion Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) was the top performer on the day, racking up a heat total of 15.17. Tayla Hanak (AUS) scored a narrow Round 1win and advanced alongside heat winners Tasha Mentasti (Durban), Nikita Robb (East London), Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) and Jeffreys Bay’s Emma Smith and Kirsty McGillivray.
The Junior men’s Round 1 will be the first in the surf on Saturday and organisers hope to get another long day of competition up and running by 7.30am. The event champions will be crowned at Dairy Beach on Sunday afternoon.
An outreach programme will be conducted by Surfing South Africa (SSA) on Sunday where participants will be involved in beach activities, water coaching, a tag team contest, beach relays and an Easter egg hunt with all participants receiving breakfast, lunch and a commemorative medal.
The Corona Durban Surf Pro is supported by Quiksilver, Roxy, Volkswagen, Yesman, Tsogo Sun, Skullcandy, El Jimador and Accelerate Sport.