Local lad nabs JBay Open wildcard

2016-06-16 06:00
Steven Sawyer.          Photo: VAN GYSEN

Steven Sawyer. Photo: VAN GYSEN

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IN a fiercely contested final heat, Jeffreys Bay surfer Steven Sawyer emerged victorious in the JBU Supertrial - securing the much coveted spot at the JBay Open.

In flawless four- to six-foot surf, Sawyer went to town on his backhand, and managed to sneak past St Francis Bay surfer Dale Staples for the win.

Staples had been an on-form surfer throughout the event, and was looking like a winner from the outset. The final, however, was a closely-fought affair, with perennial Sean Holmes, as well as fellow JBay surfer Dylan Lightfoot, all jousting for that single wildcard ticket.

Lightfoot, a previous winner of this event, knows the value of a wildcard, and apart from minimum earnings of roughly R130 000, the chance to get to surf against the best in the world at your home break is invaluable. Lightfoot was surfing fast and tight, but failed to find the best waves in the final heat and ended up third.

Sean Holmes, after suffering a big wipeout in the beginning of the final, failed to find form and was relegated to fourth place. Holmes has had his fair share of excellent results at Supertubes over the years, but this was not going to be one of them. Still he’s no slouch to make the final against surfers much younger than he.

Staples held the lead for much of the final heat, banking a couple of six point rides, but Sawyer chased a few wider waves down towards the end of the heat, and scored enough points to secure the win.

No one was more surprised than an elated Sawyer when he heard the news. “I can’t believe I won,” said Sawyer on exiting the water. “I have just come off a win at the SA Longboarding Champs, but this is insane. I have wanted to surf in the JBay Open since I was a little kid, and now finally I get the chance.”

The Best Wave Award went to Davey Van Zyl from Durban, the Best Carve Award went to Sean Holmes, the Best Barrel award went to Remi Peterson from JBay, and the Toilet award went to Calvin Goor from Durban.

Sawyer wins the wildcard into the World Surf League Championship Tour event, the JBay Open, set to take place at JBay from July. 6 - 17. It is stop number 6 on the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour.

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