The much-anticipated list of invited surfers for this event has been released, with a few surprises and a few regulars in the mix.
The contest organisers of this popular event have kept it consistent, with local rippers and underground chargers, as well as local groms comprising the core of invited surfers. The start of the waiting period, the month of June, is fast approaching, and these surfers are all in Supers training in order to get a shot at the title.
Two-times winner Ryan Payne is in the thick of it again this year, hoping for a hat-trick of wins. One surfer who will be doing his utmost to beat Ryan and have a shot at victory will be his brother and first-time invitee Shaun Payne. Shaun has been one of the stand-outs duing the recent swells at Supers and his performances havent gone unnoticed. “Shaun has been surfing really good during the last few swells,” said contest director Koffie Jacobs. “He deserves a spot in the event.”
Regular invitees include last year’s stand-out surfer Remi Peterson, tube specialist Deon Lategan and perennial Supers charger Warren Dean. Others include Bertie Stuurman, Dale Staples and Stanley Badger, with the goofy-footers led by Lyle Meek, Stuart Shelver and Craig Els. The grom brigade are once again represented by the local duo of Steven Sawyer and Dylan Lightfoot, and Supers resident Ari Kraak once again gets the nod.
Another new face is Dan Thornton, who has been surfing excellently all year and is a worthy recipient of a slot. “Dan has been a real stand-out this year and his surfing has really shone recently,” said Jacobs. “He could do well at Supers and easily cause an upset or two when the waves are cooking.” Supertubes is a special wave that needs to be ridden in a unique way, and all 16 of the invitees have paid their dues in the line up and are capable of scoring excellent rides.
Once again the judges will be presided over by Mike Ginsberg, a former World Tour judge, a Supers surfer and a Jeffrey’s Bay resident. From a judges point of view Ginzy understands the waves at Supers like few others, and can ascertain what constitutes a critical turn or a deep barrel, and score the surfers accordingly. Ginzy has been spot-on with the results in the last two events and the judging is thus in safe hands.
This year the alternates for the event are Nick Godfrey, Pablo Thysman and Daniel Jeggels. With the contest waiting period being a month long, and with most of the invited surfers holding down full-time jobs in the community, there is always a very good chance that some of the alternates will get a start in the event on the day.
The winner of the Xcel Pro gets a slot into the VonZipper Superheat, the pre-event trials heat of the Billabong Pro. A win in the VonZipper Superheat sees that surfer with a spot in the main event. There is also a Nixon watch valued at R4,500 amongst other sponsor prizes. Zigzag Magazine is the official media partner and the event portal can be found here Xcel Zag.
Invitee list, in no particular order – Ryan Payne, Remi Peterson, Deon Lategan, Bertie Stuurman, Warren Dean, Shaun Payne, Dale Staples, Stanley Badger, Daniel Thornton, Lyle Meek, Drue Thysman, Stuart Shelver, Craig Els, Steven Sawyer, Dylan Lightfoot and Ari Kraak.
The alternatives are Nick Godfrey, Pablo Thysman and Daniel Jeggels.