Saffa Maree trumps Aussie Lawler in Port Alfred final

Royal St. Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic, presented by Quiksilver –

Day 3, Sunday, April 8

After losing out in the semifinal against David van Zyl last week in Nelson Mandela Bay, Cape Town’s Jordy Maree pulled off a stunning victory in the final of the World Surfing League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rated Royal Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic, presented by Quiksilver and sanctioned by Surfing South Africa (SSA).

Jordy Maree
Jordy Maree

Maree had his work cut out for him, going one-on-one against Australian, Jordan Lawler who pulled off a perfect 10 in his semifinal heat against the legendary Greg Emslie. In the battle of the goofy footers, Maree was quickest out the blocks with a 7.25 on his first wave, followed later by a 6.45 to end the heat on 13.70 and edge out Lawler by the narrowest of margins by only 0.80 points.

“I am really happy to be here on the podium. I didn’t even think I would make it through the first round,” said a stoked Jordy Maree.

In what was arguably the most exciting heat of the day, Steven Sawyer carded the highest heat score of the day with a 9.0 and 9.5 to crack the 18.50 mark in his longboard semifinal against last week’s champion, Michael Hill. The former WSL number two could unfortunately not produce a repeat performance in the final and went down to two-time world longboarding champion, Matthew Moir.

Moir was stoked to win, highly impressed with how well the contest was run and extremely grateful for the opportunity to compete in a QS rated longboarding event in South Africa.

“It was amazing that the sponsors let longboarding be part of the shortboard contest and it is so good that the WSL recognizes longboarding again in South Africa,” said Moir.

Josefina Ane

The women’s shortboard event was won by Argentinian, Josefina Ane who ousted Nicole Pallet and Sophie Bell on her way to the final. Ane was up against 14-year-old up-and-comer Zoë Steyn who got the better of well-respected competitors Emma Smith and Crystal Hulett (who won the women’s longboarding event).

Josefina Ane

With long lulls between sets on the low tide at East Beach, scoring was tricky but in the end it was all Josefina Ane as she managed a 13.75 to 7.50 victory over Steyn.

“It is my first QS win and I am really happy and thankful for all the people who came out. My English is a little bit bad but I am really happy,” said Ane in a heavy Spanish accent but smiling from ear to ear.

In the women’s longboarding final that took place the day before, Crystal Hulett outclassed Marishka Myers on a board that she borrowed from Steven Sawyer. This, after she lost her board last weekend in Nelson Mandela Bay and have been trying out different boards during the week to try and find one that works for her.

“This win represents the start of my longboarding career because I really want to try and excel and push myself a little bit more. Especially after losing my board I was super grateful to find one that suits my style of surfing,” said Hulett.

The next stop on the City Surf Series calendar is East London for the Mitchum Buffalo City Surf Pro presented by Reef Wetsuits, taking place next weekend from April 13-15.

All the winners

Jacqueline Herbst

All images by Ian Thurtell