Jeffreys Bay local Lightfoot bounced back from his early exits in the Ballito Pro and the trials for US Open of Surfing by advancing through two rounds to reach the last 16 of the QS1,500 Medoc Ocean Lacanau Pro, held in challenging 2m to 2.5m waves on the Bay of Biscay coast.
The 21 year-old from Jeffreys Bay incurred an interference penalty in his Round 5 heat on Sunday, leaving him fourth in his heat and 13th overall in the event.
The 420 points he earned saw Lightfoot, the 2015 WSL Africa Junior champion, move up six places to 114th on the QS rankings, close to his aim of making the top 100 who qualify for the top rated QS10,000 events.
The event was won by Ballito Pro runner-up Joan Duru (FRA), who defeated reigning WSL Junior champion Lucas Silveira (BRA) in the final to maintain his No. 4 spot on the latest QS rankings. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Ethan Ewing (AUS) and Ballito Pro champion Connor O’Leary (AUS) are the top three ranked surfers.
The other South Africans at Lacanau included 2015 WSL Africa champion David van Zyl (Glenashley), who was sidelined in the Round of 64 with equal 33rd place overall.
Rookie QS campaigner Michael Monk (East London) and Remi Peterson (Jeffreys Bay), who competes on a Netherlands passport, were eliminated in Round 1.
WSL Africa’s top ranked Qualifying Series competitors, Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga), Michael February (Kommetjie) and Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay), retained their respective QS rankings of 17th, 73rd and 77th despite not competing at Lacanau.
Lightfoot, van Zyl, Monk and Peterson will compete in the QS1,500 Pro Anglet Chambre d’Amour in the Biarritz area of France starting on Wednesday.
Lightfoot and van Zyl will then be joined by de Vries, February, McGillivray and Slade Prestwich (Durban, currently ranked No. 126) in the QS6,000 Pantin Classic Galicia Pro in Spain, which begins on 30 August, and the QS6,000 Azores Pro from 6 September.
All the action at WSL events can be watched LIVE on www.worldsurfleague.com