KAI Woolf of Jeffreys Bay was the standout performer in the Volkswagen Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro presented by Billabong in Port Elizabeth over the Easter weekend, clinching both the women’s and junior women’s titles.
Another surfer from Jeffreys Bay, Dillon Hendricks, captured the junior men’s crown while David van Zyl (Glenashley) won the men’s event.
This was the first of 13 events on the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Africa regional tour. The Volkswagen Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro featured Qualifying Series (QS) events for men and women alongside Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) events for men and women aged 18-and-under.
The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, annually running in excess of 180 global events.
Woolf (16) was unbeatable in the beach break conditions, winning every heat she contested in both events while racking up double digit heat scores with her impressive repertoire of high performance manoeuvres.
In the QS 1 000 women’s event, she defeated reigning WSL Africa champion Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) in the one-on-one final.
Earlier Woolf was equally dominating in the four-person JQS 1 000 women’s final.
She again posted her best scores early in the encounter, beating the 2017 WSL Africa junior women’s champ, Sophie Bell (Salt Rock).
Van Zyl justified his top seeding for the QS 1 500 men’s event in the Bay and was in a class of his own, averaging heat scores of 13.56 (out of 20) during his first event of the year. Ranked No. 67 on the QS at the end of 2017, and No. 2 on the WSL Africa leaderboard, van Zyl in the final opened his account against Adin Masencamp (Strand).
He surfed with power and flow to consistently add to his total in the testing conditions and eventually pocketed the R40 000 winner’s cheque and 1 500 precious ranking points.
The Volkswagen Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro, which is also the first of five events on the 2018 City Surf Series, enjoyed great conditions for Saturday and Sunday before experiencing four seasons in eight hours on the final day.
Alongside the red hot surfing action, Surfing South Africa ran activities designed to foster and encourage surfing among young people, regardless of their background.