Port Alfred gears up for first ever World Surfing League qualifying event



Joshe Faulkner

THE Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic, presented by Quiksilver, will run from April 6 to 8 at Port Alfred’s East Beach.

The event is a World Surfing League (WSL) qualifying series event featuring men’s and women’s QS1000 events as well as men and women’s longboarding QS1000 events.

Of particular excitement is the addition of the WSL longboarding QS1000 events as they are the first ever to be hosted in South Africa. It is also one of only 12 longboard Quiksilver events in the world this year.

Brandon Benjamin

“When we met in late 2017 and discussed the possibility of bringing Men’s and Women’s WSL QS and LQS [longboard qualifying section] events to Port Alfred, I couldn’t have been more excited. So to see that become a reality is really a credit to the people at Royal St Andrews Hotel and the Amanzi Festival,” said Edward Gregory, chief executive officer of Accelerate Sport.

“With entries having officially opened two weeks ago, they are beginning to flow in. In the Men’s QS1000 we have already confirmed a stellar field with 2017 South African Champion Brandon Benjamin, five-time SA champion and former Cape Town Surfer Greg Emslie, South Africa’s two leading 2018 Quiksilver surfers, Matt McGillivray and Beyrick De Vries, World Junior Championship competitors Joshe Faulkner, Jake Elkington, Adin Masencamp as well as New Zealander Daniel Farr, ensuring the event will be extremely competitive. And there are still 30 days of entries to come.”

In the Women’s QS1000 event South African Champion Olivia Brand will be competing. She will be joined by a stellar list of South Africa’s leading talent in Sophie Bell, Kayla Noguera, Nicole Pallet, S’Nenhlanhla Makubu and Jeffreys Bay local Emma Smith.

Greg Emslie

In the men’s LQS1000 event, Steven Sawyer, the WSL number-two longboarder in 2016, will be joined by Sam Christianson and Alfonzo Peters who recently represented South Africa at the world games. These experienced competitors know they will be in for some serious competition from the next generation in Paul Chudleigh, Ryan Lightfoot as well as Port Alfred’s own super-grom, Kye Macgregor.

According to Gregory the Women’s LQS1000 entries have picked up over the last week with South Africa’s most talented youngsters in Danica Stockigt, Tayla de Coning and Zoe Steyn, three of the leading candidates, and all are ready to claim their maiden WSL LQS title.

With just under 30 days to go until the event begins, the calibre of entrants so far, and overall quality of the field, bodes well for a truly ground-breaking event in Port Alfred.

“Port Alfred is a fantastic place and we cannot wait to bring the World and South Africa’s best QS and LQS surfers to this Eastern Cape gem,” said Gregory.


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