Seasoned South African pro surfer Beyrick de Vries put on a clinic in the pumping, overhead waves for the opening day of the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic today, racking up an excellent heat total of 17.50 out of 20 at Stop No. 3 of seven on the 2019 WSL Africa Tour.
The uMhlanga based 26-year-old has been one of the country's highest placed surfers on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rankings since he was a teenager. De Vries kick-started his charge for the Men's title in Round 2 with a great 8.0 point ride before adding a near perfect 9.0, and then finding another great wave that he also decimated for an 8.50.
"There were some really fun waves and even though the wind was onshore, it was very light so there were smooth faces," said De Vries. "That nine-point ride was my second wave, and I already had an eight so the pressure was off. I found a bigger wave and did a speed float that I landed smoothly and then went straight into a 180 air where I managed to maintain my speed, and ended with critical final manoeuvre where I got the nose up and then jabbed it for the finish."
Others who won their heats and reached the last 16 include Joshe Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay), winner of the Men's Title at the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro last Saturday; QS warrior Slade Prestwich and fellow Durbanites Chad du Toit, (Durban) and Chris Frolich; reigning WSL Africa Men's Junior champion Luke Slijpen (Hout Bay) and Shane Sykes (Salt Rock).
The Women's QS1,000 rated event was again dominated by the contingent of Japanese girls who filled all four places in the final in PE this past weekend. Minami Nonaka, who won both the Women's and Junior Women's events, was once more the standout, surfing fast and fluidly to earn an 8.0 and a heat total of 12.45, the highest of the Round.
Nonaka's compatriots Nao Omura, Julie Nishimoto, Shino Matsuda and Ren Hashimoto all won their heats and moved into the quarters along with South African heat winners, rising stars Zoe Steyn (East London) and S'Nenhlanhla Makhubu (Durban) and the Queen of local surfing and former Women's World Masters Champion, Heather Clark (Port Shepstone).