The Billabong SA Surfing Champs kicked off in truly epic style as Seal Point delivered sunny skies, light offshore winds and a pulsing and consistent East swell resulting in a full day of competitive surfing action. Border sent an ominous sign to the rest of the seven provinces as they began the quest to defend their team title with a series of victories in both the Men’s Open and Boys U20 divisions.
It was straight into business from the get-go with round 1 of the Opens Men’s division kicking off just after 7am in the clean conditions. The premier division did not disappoint as defending champ, Greg Emslie (Border), started exactly where he left off last year with an impressive win in Heat 1. That set the tone for the rest of the day, as the bulk of the top seeds advanced into round 3.
After lunch, with the point still delivering long, clean rippable walls, it was the turn of the Under 20 boys to open up their respective accounts. Western Province’s Matt Bromley looked impressive as he powered his way to victory with an 8.95 (out of a possible 10), the highest individual wave-score of the day, and backed that up with a 5.25. KwaZulu-Natal’s Beyrick de Vries, fresh off his recent win at the Quiksilver Pro Junior in Durban, also stated his claim early as he cruised to a trouble-free win in Heat 2.
Eastern Province’s Steve Sawyer and Dylan Lightfoot, Jean du Plessis (Border) Max Armstrong (Western Province) and Davey van Zyl (KZN) joined Matt and Beyrick as they all advanced collectively into round 3. It was then the stylish Seal Point local Nick Godfrey, incidentally surfing for Western Cape, who capped things off for the Under 20 boys with a comprehensive win in the last heat of Round 1.
The last eight heats of the day were reduced to 15 minute affairs as the surfers slogged it out to avoid elimination in the repo-style Round 2 of the Open Men’s division. The surf continued to pulse, despite the dropping tide, although the notorious ‘Full Stop’ rock claimed its fair share of over-zealous victims. Those who managed to avoid the exposed rock by linking the top and bottom section of the wave together ultimately received the judge’s approval enabling them to progress to round 3 and the chance to fight another day.
KZN’s Casey Grant was one of the surfer’s who dodged the proverbial round 2 ‘bullet’, earning himself a coveted spot in tomorrow’s round 3. Joining Grant were Devin MacNicol (Southern KZN), Adin Jeenes (Southern Cape), Philip Malherbe (Border), Bertie Stuurman (EP) and Peder Christensen (Boland), amongst others.