New surfing series to ride waves to Olympics

2016-12-06 06:01

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The inclusion of surfing in the next Olympic Games has given the sport mainstream attention.

As a result, Accelerate Sport, the World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA) have launched the City Surf Series. It will consist of a series of internationally rated professional surfing events next year.

It aims to bring a QS1000-level event to all major coastal cities by 2018 and even grow into Africa in the future.

The City Surf Series concept is based on a successful pilot event, the Cape Town Pro, which was held at Bloubergstrand earlier this year. Plans are to organise a minimum of three events next year, growing to five in 2018.

The series will give South Africa’s budding professional surfers valuable rankings points on the world stage without leaving the confines of their home waters, creating a cost-effective platform to transition from local hero to international superstar.

The series aims to mould this next crop of surfers into formidable international competitors, joining the likes of Jordy Smith and Bianca Buitendag, in their quest for gold at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“The City Surf Series is one of the most exciting developments in professional surfing in South Africa and Africa, and will be a fantastic springboard and opportunity to get our athletes back to the top of world surfing,” says WSL Africa operations manager Colin Fitch.

“It’s been great working with Accelerate Sports in creating a solid foundation for our future surfing stars and we look forward to partnering with SSA and the many surfing labels who share WSL Africa’s vision of paving the way for surfers from development programmes to the highest levels of the sport internationally.”

The Durban Surf Pro, a QS1000 event scheduled for April next year, is the first confirmed event of the series, while the Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City surf pro’s are tentatively scheduled for April.

Cape Town legThe Cape Town surf pro will take place from 9 to 11 June.

The finale of the series will head back to Durban where the QS3000-rated SA Open of surfing offers more than R1m prize money and will feature 150 of the world’s best male and female surfers.

“I’m over the moon,” says this year’s WSL Africa champion Beyrick de Vries. “I feel like it’s going to be the junior series all over again, but it’s not practise this time, it’s the main stage with world ranking points and prize money to assist in international events too. The City Surf Series is a massive step in the right direction for South African surfing, and the timing couldn’t be more prefect with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon.”

The series events will include WSL Africa-sanctioned events for open men and open women as well as pro junior (u.18) men and women categories.

“SSA is extremely pleased that the City Surf Series will be included on the South African surfing contest calendar next year. Top level international surfing events that take place in South Africa will certainly help prepare our surfers for the 2020 Olympic Games and we look forward to working with the WSL on these events. SSA congratulates Accelerate on the work that has gone into creating the City Surf Series,” says Robin de Kock, SSA general manager.

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