SA surfers chase Tour spots
THE most prestigious surfing series in the world, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS), will soon welcome the world’s best surfers with the first jewel in the crown, the Hawaiian Pro, set to start at Haleiwa, on the North Shore of Oahu on Monday.
Defending champ and current world number two, Filipe Toledo, tops the 128-man field for the Hawaiian Pro (Nov 8-24) followed by world number four Italo Ferreira and world number six Jordy Smith.
While the first two events in the VTCS will have no impact on the 2018 world title race, both the Hawaiian Pro and the World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach (Nov 25-Dec 6) will set the stage for a climatic finish for the Triple Crown and the world title showdown at the Billabong Pipe Masters (Dec 8-20).
Both the Hawaiian Pro and the World Cup of Surfing will also determine which Qualifying Series (QS) surfers will step up to the 2019 Championship Tour (CT).
If any of the six South African surfers seeded into the Haleiwa and Sunset Beach events have dreams of joining Smith on the CT in 2019 they will be hoping to repeat their commanding performances in the recent HIC Pro at Sunset Beach.
Michael February (Cape Town), Matthew Mcgillivray (Jeffreys Bay), Beyrick de Vries (Umhlanga), Adin Masenkamp (Cape Town), David Van Zyl (Durban) and Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) will all feature in the Hawaiian Pro and the World Cup.
“The HIC Pro was an incredible start to the winter in Hawaii,” said de Vries of his podium finish in last week’s HIC Pro, which was also South Africa’s best showing in a Hawaiian event since 1976.
“I’ve always felt comfortable surfing Sunset Beach so I was happy to keep the rhythm going. It was also cool to see all the other South Africans looking so comfortable in the big Hawaiian right handers. It was ‘rad’ to get my confidence back after a slow mid-section of the year for me, result-wise.
“Qualifying points aside, I think the biggest benefit is feeling confident in the ocean here. Overall the event was incredible for us, to get our bearings, and I think it’s only the start of a solid winter season for the South Africans here.”
Defending Hawaiian Pro champ, Filipe Toldeo, picked up his first ever win in Hawaii in last year’s edition after coming close in 2015 when he finished runner-up to former world champ Mick Fanning.
As Toledo posted his third win of the 2017 season, rookie Griffin Colapinto from California, who placed second to the Brazilian, was catapulted into surfing’s mainstream when he went on to win the Triple Crown along with qualifying for the CT.
Former world champion, Australian Joel Parkinson, will also be a threat for the VTCS title as he looks to equal the late great Andy Irons with four Triple Crown titles after announcing his retirement from pro surfing.
DURBANITE David Van Zyl pictured in the recent HIC Pro where South Africa’s leading pro surfers recorded their best ever finish in a Hawaiian surf event since 1976. Van Zyl and six of SA’s best competing in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing now set their sights on the Hawaiian Pro starting Monday. I WSL / HEFF