Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay) posted the best result by a South African in the inaugural Senegal Pro presented by BKS when he placed third in the historic first World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) event to be staged in West Africa.
A QS1,500 rated event for men and women, the Senegal Pro attracted nearly 70 international competitors with Timothee Bisso (FRA) and Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) claiming commanding victories in the finals against Aboubakar Bouaouda (MAR) and Emily Nishimoto (JPN) respectively in one metre waves at Surfer Paradise in Dakar.
Stop No. 1 on the 2019 WSL Africa regional QS circuit was graced with beautiful conditions and great performances by a talented group of international athletes as well as a handful Senegalese surfers.
Maree was in form throughout the event, winning his four-man Round of 32 and Round of 16 heats and then defeating compatriot Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) in their man-on-man quarter-final.
Maree was narrowly outpointed by eventual runner-up Bouaouda in their semi-final encounter but his haul of 840 points saw the South African leapfrog 239 places up the QS rankings list to No. 146 and he takes the early lead on the WSL Africa regional leaderboard.
The final started with both surfers posting mid-range scores and at the 10-minute mark they were neck and neck. Bisso, a former runner-up at the World Junior Championship who won his first QS event in Tenerife last month, then re-gained the lead with a 7.50 (out of 10) and closed the door on his Moroccan rival with an excellent 8.25 to claim back-to-back wins in the space of three weeks.
“I can’t believe I’ve just won another one!” Bisso said. “I didn’t expect to have such a great time this week but hats off to Oumar the organizer, he put on an incredible event and I think everyone had just the best time. It feels like I really shared this win with everyone here today.”
The women’s final was also an all-goofy foot battle and Erostarbe was the first to fire with excellent backhand turns right in the lip to put a 6 and a 7 on the board and take an early lead over Emily Nishimoto (JPN) who only recorded average numbers.
The Basque surfer continued to build momentum and gained confidence, hitting all the right turns in the right sections and posted a 7.50 to nail her first-ever win on the Qualifying Series.
“I can’t believe it, I’m just in a dream right now,” Erostarbe stated. “The waves and weather was awesome today so I had a lot of fun.
There’s a really good righthand point break close to home so I’ve been working on my backhand and I’m glad it works out. I still need to work a lot but it’s great to win and feel like it’s worth the work.”
Surfers from Europe will now focus on the men’s QS3,000 Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House from April 8-13, while the next African event will be QS1,000 Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro from April 18-20, 2019.
The Senegal Pro pres. by BKS ran from March 27-30, 2019 at Surfer Paradise, Dakar – Senegal. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.
SENEGAL PRO MEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Timothee Bisso (FRA) 15.75
2 – Aboubakar Bouaouda (MAR) 13.40
SENEGAL PRO WOMEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 14.50
2 – Emily Nishimoto (JPN) 10.95
SENEGAL PRO MEN’S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF1: Aboubakar Bouaouda (MAR) 13.00 def. Jordan Maree (ZAF) 11.75
SF2: Timothee Bisso (FRA) 15.70 def. Ian Fontaine (FRA) 12.30
SENEGAL PRO WOMEN’S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF1: Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 13.85 def. Camilla Kemp (PRT) 9.90
SF2: Emily Nishimoto (JPN) 11.00 def. Peony Knight (GBR) 10.35