Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) and Ariane Ochoa from the Basque region of Spain took out the Men’s and Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) titles at the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic in Port Alfred on Wednesday, with Thomas Lindhorst (East London) and Ceara Knight (Kommetjie) crowned the Junior Men’s Junior Women’s champions respectively.
After two days of horrendous conditions in the Eastern Cape, the weather was calmer for the final day of Stop No 3 of seven on the 2019 WSL Africa Tour, while overhead waves continued to reel down the sandbank at the mouth of the Kowie River.
Lightfoot, ranked No 88 on the QS coming into the event, revelled in the powerful surf and won his quarter-final, semi-final and final encounters with high performance surfing and canny contest strategy to clinch his first QS event title.
The final was a see-saw encounter with all four competitors delivering great scores before Lightfoot posted a 6.55 (out of 10) that saw him overtake eventual runner-up Luke Slijpen (Hout Bay) to secure victory, with Durbanites Chad du Toit and Slade Prestwich having to settle for third and fourth places.
The 1,000 points for the win moved Lightfoot into the lead in the WSL Africa regional rankings after three events and the Jeffreys Bay surfer will also improve his position on the international QS leaderboard when the latest ranking are published tomorrow.
The Japanese women have been on a tear in South Africa and the Women’s final at Port Alfred was stacked with the trio of Shino Matsudo, Ren Hashimoto and Julia Nishimoto. Ariane Ochoa (ESP) was the dark horse in the lineup, but she did not let that deter her from putting on an impressive performance.
Ochoa opened her encounter with an excellent ride of 8.50 out of 10 which immediately put pressure on her competitors. She steadily built her score, backing it up with a 5.80 to walk away with her first QS win in South Africa and the second of her career
More information, results, images and video footage will be available from www.worldsurfleague.com and on the free WSL App.
The next event on the WSL Africa Tour is the Zigzag Durban Surf Pro from 10-12 May, which is also Stop No. 3 of four on the City Surf Series (CSS).
The Corona Open JBay will take place from 9 – 22 July in Jeffreys Bay and forms part of the annual JBay Winterfest which takes place from 6 – 22 July.
Royal St Andrew Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic Men’s Final Results
- Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF, Jeffreys Bay) 13.55 points
- Luke Slijpen (ZAF, Hout Bay) 12.75
- Chad du Toit (ZAF, Durban) 10.50
- Slade Prestwich (ZAF, Durban) 10.35
Royal St Andrew Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic Women’s Final Results
- Ariane Ochoa (ESP) 14.30 points
- Shino Matsuda (JPN) 12.75
- Ren Hashimoto (JPN) 9.35
- Julie Nishimoto (JPN) 7.50
Royal St Andrew Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic Junior Men’s Final Results
- Thomas Lindhorst (ZAF, East London) 11.75points
- Luke Slijpen (ZAF, Hout Bay) 10.70
- Luke Thompson (ZAF, Durban) 10.25
- Eli Beukes (ZAF, Kommetjie) 9.50
Royal St Andrew Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic Junior Women’s Final Results
- Ceara Knight (ZAF, Kommetjie) 10.75 points
- Zoe Steyn (ZAF, East London) 10.65
- Shino Matsuda (JPN) 6.60
- Minami Nonaka (JPN) 3.15