Steve Pike

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

WHILE look­ing out for how South Africans were do­ing in the WSL events in Hunt­ing­ton Beach this week, I strug­gled to work out which event was which.

Three com­pe­ti­tions are run­ning con­cur­rently at the fa­mous Cal­i­for­nian break, and they all have the same name, with small ad­di­tions for the ju­nior (Jr) and qual­i­fy­ing se­ries (QS).

What caught my eye was the head­line act – the Vans US Open of Surf­ing. Scratch­ing my head, I went to the World Surf League web­site to see if they had sud­denly added another men’s Cham­pi­onship Tour (CT) event to the 11 that are sched­uled this year.

Nope. They hadn’t. The Vans US Open of Surf­ing was re­fer­ring to the 6th event on the women’s Tour. The WSL has dropped the qual­i­fy­ing phrase for gen­der be­cause there is no men’s CT event at Hunt­ing­ton.

This nam­ing con­ven­tion is in­her­ently prob­lem­atic. If you’re go­ing to call a surf con­test the Wild Coast Pro, then you’re sug­gest­ing this is the main event, and the Wild Coast Pro “Women” is the add-on – the secondary event.

But, I have no­ticed a bid by the WSL to af­ford women and men equal me­dia cov­er­age, and ap­par­ently the 34 men and 12 women get the same bucks for en­ter­ing an event. It’s around US$16 000 I think.

Press re­leases of­ten come with news and re­sults of the men, women and ju­niors to­gether. The Wiredrive link to all the lat­est pho­tographs also come with no par­tic­u­lar gen­der or­der, and are not sep­a­rated (when men and women are surf­ing in their re­spec­tive events con­cur­rently).

Back at the (Cal­i­for­nia) ranch, so to speak, we com­plete the trio of events with the “Vans US Open of Surf­ing – Men’s Jr” and “Vans US Open of Surf­ing – Men’s QS”.

And the Vans US Open of Surf­ing is down to the semi-fi­nals after the quar­ters were held on Thurs­day in nice, solid 3-5’ surf (for a change). Hawai­ians and Amer­i­cans dom­i­nate the semi-fi­nals, with Ta­tiana We­ston-Webb (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW), Sage Er­ick­son (USA) and Court­ney Con­logue (USA) through.

The men’s sixth stop on their Tour was the Corona Open J-Bay last month. Their sev­enth starts in six days: the Bil­l­abong Teahupo’o Pro in Tahiti.

In terms of rea­sons for my orig­i­nal re­search, Vic Bay’s Bianca Bui­tendag (wild card) lost to Con­logue in Round 2 of the main event, and out of the 64 who started the ju­nior men’s event, none were South African.

South Africans fared a lot bet­ter in the QS it­er­a­tion, although Matt McGil­livray was knocked out in Round 1. Beyrick de Vries made it to Round 3 be­fore drop­ping out.

How­ever, Capeto­nian Mikey Fe­bru­ary con­tin­ues to fly the South African flag high after blast­ing his way into Round 4 after a near-per­fect 9.17 in Round 2 to com­plete the high­est heat score of the QS event so far.

His place in Round 4 (the last 24 of the event), will guar­an­tee him points but he will be hop­ing to go fur­ther to fur­ther his 4th place on the QS rank- ings and a pos­si­ble, if not prob­a­ble, spot on the CT next year. Hawai­ian Kai Lenny won the 2017 Puerto Es­con­dido Chal­lenge in gnarly 20-25 foot surf this week. Un­for­tu­nately reign­ing event and world cham­pion Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker was knocked out in Round 1 but has two events to make up for his slow start in the first event of the 2017 WSL Big Wave Tour. The ma­jor­ity of the na­tional team for the 6th ISA World Stand-up Pad­dle­board Cham­pi­onships in Den­mark (31 Au­gust to 10 Septem­ber) are from WP. SUP Surf­ing mem­bers – Dy­lan Frick, Gary Van Rooyen, Tam­syn Fos­ter and Khara Doyle – all hail from Cape Town. Frick will also com­pete in SUP Rac­ing, with Chris Couve (Gaut­eng). Team Cap­tain is Jac­que­line De Bil­lot and Rolande Wil­liamson (both KZN). Candice Mur­ray and Kit Beaton (both WP) will com­pete in Prone Pad­dle­board rac­ing. Team Man­ager is Jar­ryd Doyle (WP) and the team Coach is Shayne Chips (KZN). The SA Adap­tive Na­tional Surf­ing Cham­pi­onships take place in Muizen­berg to­day. Come down and sup­port this event, which will see a team se­lected to com­pete in the world champs in Cal­i­for­nia at the end of Novem­ber. Early to­day should see crank­ing leftover 10-12 foot surf thun­der­ing at deep-wa­ter reefs in a clean SE off­shore. Muizen­berg looks crumbly 2-3’ in mod­er­ate SE. The swell eases grad­u­ally as the wind eases and goes mod­er­ate southerly. To­mor­row, the surf looks much smaller 4’ in light SW to S breezes. Muizen­berg looks 2’ at dawn, go­ing light on­shore.

TWIGGY OUT: Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker tries to ne­go­ti­ate a warp­ing bar­rel in the Puerto Es­con­dido Chal­lenge this week. He didn’t make it.

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