South Africa’s Adin Masencamp (Strand) climbed to a career-high No. 9 on the latest World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rankings after placing equal ninth in the Vissla Central Coast Pro in Australia on Monday.
Completed in bumpy one metre right-breaking waves at Avoca Beach in New South Wales, the QS3,000 rated event saw Jeffreys Bay local Dylan Lightfoot finish fifth after reaching the quarter-finals and fellow Jeffreys Bay surfer Matt McGillivray match Masencamp’s result with equal ninth place.
Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay) made it an unprecedented four South Africans in the Top 10 at a QS3,000 rated event in Australia when she claimed fifth place in the Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro women’s event run in conjunction with the men’s event.
Masencamp continued the phenomenal run of WSL event results that has seen the 19-year-old from Strand in the Western Cape dominate the WSL Africa regional rankings for the past two years, claiming the Junior Men’s crown in 2017 and following that up with the Open Men’s title last year.
An outstanding fifth place finish in his first event of the season, the QS6,000 Oi Hang Loose Pro in Brazil last week where he was up against many of the world’s best surfers, and his ninth place at Avoca today has seen Masencamp accumulate 3,550 points and he is the highest rated South African on the international QS rankings.
McGillivray, the country’s highest placed surfer in the 2018 yearend rankings where he finished No. 30, earned 900 points at Avoca which along with the 1,260 for his quarter-final result in Israel earlier this year, saw the 21-year-old leapfrog from No. 45 to 23rd in the current rankings.
Lightfoot enters the 2019 rankings in 63rd place thanks to his confidence-boosting run to the quarters in his first event of the year, while Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) is the only other South African in Top 100 after his results in Israel and then the Canary Islands combined see the Capetonian occupying 92nd spot.
The Vissla Central Coast Pro was won by former WSL Championship Tour (CT) member Connor O’Leary who beat compatriot Matt Banting in a high-scoring final in which the winner scored the only perfect 10-point ride of the event.
Buitendag, who was ranked as high as No. 4 on the elite Women’s WSL CT at the end of 2015 before a longstanding back injury saw her slide down the rankings, started her 2019 challenge strongly by advancing through three rounds of competition before she was ousted by eventual event winner Sage Erickson (USA).
The South African contingent in Australia will be joined by Michael February (Cape Town), Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) and Slade Prestwich (Durban) for back-to-back QS6,000 rated events at Merewether Beach in Newcastle and Manly Beach in Sydney later this month.