Junior Champions to be Crowned on Friday (Youth Day)

A Brazilian Storm blew through New Pier on the Durban beachfront on Thursday when 12 surfers from the biggest country in South America advanced to the last 64 of the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres. by Hurley in small wind affected waves that tested the ability of the world’s best surfers.

The 12 qualifiers will join up with 14 of their compatriots who were seeded directly to the Round 64, giving the Brazilians a significant 26 surfers in Round 4 of the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series QS3,000 rated men’s event.

Marcus Correa (BRA) delivered the highest single ride score, a 9.17 in his early morning Round of 128 heat, and nobody else managed to breach the 9.0 mark throughout the day. With his backup ride of 6.83, the Brazilian’s heat total of 16,00 was second only to that of Kilian Garland (USA). The current WSL North America No. 3 strung together a pair of high eight point rides for a total of 17.50 that left his three opponents in a combination situation and needing to replace both their scores to claim victory.

South Africa’s Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) produced an 8.67 while winning his Round of 128 heat and backed that up with another winning performance in the Round of 96 to progress into the last 64. There he will be up against former WSL elite Championship Tour (CT) member Davey Cathels, fellow Australian prodigy Jack Robinson and the flamboyant Costa Rican Carlos Munoz.

Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) was the only other local to advance to the last 64 where he joins fellow South Africans Lightfoot, top 32 seeds Michael February (Kommetjie) and Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) and wildcards Jordy Maree and Jake Elkington (botha Kommetjie), Brandon Benjamin (Steenberg) and Joshe Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay) when the men’s contest resumes on Saturday.

The first three heats of the JQS1,000 junior men’s event were held at the end of the day and, just as he had done in his two men’s event heats earlier, young Brazilian talent Mateus Herdy again advanced to the next round by using his trademark aerial manoeuvres.

“It feels so amazing, it’s such a good place. I did a couple of good heats and I’m pretty stoked to advance to the next round so I’m just taking it heat by heat, I’m focused and I want to keep it this way,” said Herdy. “This morning I surfed at high tide and it was a little bit hard to find a good wave in the bowl. The conditions are hard but when a wave comes it’s actually quite fun, you just have to stay focused and be ready for whatever changes happens out there in the ocean.”

Experienced Brazilian campaigner Thiago Camarao also struggled with the conditions but managed to win his low scoring encounter with a pair of five point scores.

“It was really tough. The conditions are hard to surf and to decide which wave to catch,” said Camarao. “And everyone is still ripping so you need to be ready for any kind of conditions. My board is feeling great. It’s the same board I’ve been using for the past couple of events. It’s great to advance this round and I’m going to keep this board for the next one! I’m still staying in SA for a month for events in Cape Town and Ballito.”

Kaito Ohashi of Japan was happy with his performance after winning a tight heat over current QS No.2 Jorgann Couzinet from France , who was penalised for a priority interference and lost one of scoring rides. 

“The waves are kind of difficult today, but my home break is a lot like this, so its fine” said Ohashi. “I don’t know what happened with Jorgann, I just want to get to the next round, so first or second, it’s okay. I love South Africa, I have so many South African friends. Dale Staples is one of my best friends and he helps me with everything over here.”

Despite only having one counting score Couzinet still managed to advance to the last 64 when his 7.17 single ride was 0.01 of a point better than Gustavo Ramos (BRA) total of 7.16, giving the Frenchman second place.

Friday 16 June is Youth Day in South Africa and the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres. by Hurley will crown the junior men and junior women champions by the end of the day

An outreach programme will be conducted by Surfing South Africa (SSA) on Sunday 18 June. Participants will be involved in beach activities, water coaching, a tag team contest, beach relays and all participants receive breakfast, lunch and a commemorative medal.

Live scoring, results, images, videos and more will be available at WorldSurfLeague.com and on the WSL App, with highlights on the WSL QS Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing is proudly supported by Hurley, Tsogo Sun, Durban Tourism, Skullcandy, El Jimador, Yesman, California Dreaming, World Surf League, Surfing South Africa and Accelerate Sport.


Caption:  Brazilian junior Mateus Herdy takes to the air as he progresses through both men’s and junior men’s rounds at the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres. by Hurley at New Pier in Durban on Thursday • Photo: WSL / Thurtell

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

The WSL has been championing the world's best surfing since 1976, running in excess of 180 global events across the Men's and Women's Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport's rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed world champions in Men’s, Women’s across all divisions within the tour.

Showcasing the world's best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Mick Fanning, Tyler Wright, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Grant Baker, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

About Surfing South Africa

Surfing South Africa is recognised by the Department of Sport and Recreation as the national governing body for the sport. Surfing South Africa is a member of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).

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