SA surfers chase Tour spots

The Independent on Saturday - - SPORT -


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

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