Sunday saw a full day of high performance surfing at the Buffalo City Surf Pro presented by Reef Wetsuits as local and international participants battled to stay in contention for finals day.
The competitors reveled in the 3-5 foot waves that pulsed across the Nahoon Reef producing big scores for some and upsetting some of the favourites who struggled to find two good rides or broke their boards in the still powerful surf.
The day's proceedings started with the remaining four heats in the Junior Men's event before the opening round of the Women's event, the Men's Round of 32, the quarterfinals of Junior Women and Men and finished up with two heats of the Women's Round of 16.
Sebastian Williams (Durban) and Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) dominated the Men's results, delivering near perfect single ride scores of 9.33 and 9.17 respectively and heat totals that topped 15 out of 20. Top QS campaigners, Dylan Lightfoot and Matthew McGillivray, both from Jeffreys Bay, were ousted when they snapped their boards and lost time by returning to the shore to get backup equipment.
Current rankings leader Michael February (Kommetjie) suffered the same fate, but managed to get back out and hold onto first place in his heat.
Local chargers Luke Malherbe and Michael Monk benefitted from priority interference penalties incurred by the favourites in their heat, Brandon Jackson (Durban North) and Jordy Maree (Kommetjie). Each had a counting score deducted and ended up third and fourth and out of the event..
Williams (16), Luke Slijpen (Cape Town) and reigning WSL Africa junior champ Adin Masencamp (Strand) were the standouts in the junior men's quarterfinals. They advanced to Sunday's semis along with the Elkington brothers, Jake and Max, fellow Kommetjie surfer Eli Beukes, Angelo Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay) and Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach).
Hometown heroine Nikita Robb and top seed Tayla Hanak (AUS) fought a close battle for supremacy in the first of the women's quarterfinals with the former elite CT campaigner taking the heat win despite the Australian producing the highest score for a single ride, an excellent 8.50, which matched the highest in the event recorded by Kirsty McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) in the first round
Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) will be defending the Skullcandy rakings leader's zebra striped vest when she comes up against reigning WSL Africa women's and junior women's champions, Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) and Sophie Bell (Salt Rock), in their quarterfinal clash, which will be the first encounter on Sunday's schedule.
Bell's faces a strong challenge for her regional junior women's title with Taghiti Gericke (Wilderness), Gaby Lailvaux (Westbrook) and last week's winner Kayla Nogueira (Durban) all finishing within one point of each other as they posted the best results in Saturday's action.
The Buffalo City Surf Pro presented by Reef Wetsuits features QS1,000 rated events for men and women alongside JQS1,000 events for men and women. It is the second of five stops on the City Surf Series that started in Port Elizabeth last weekend before visiting Durban and Cape Town.
Organisers will meet at Nahoon Reef early on Monday morning and the call will be made at 7.30 am with the champions crowned onsite at Nahoon Reef after the finals.
The Buffalo City Surf Pro is supported by Reef Wetsuits, Volkswagen, Corona, the Buffalo City Municipality, Yesman, Tsogo Sun, Skullcandy, El Jimador and Accelerate Sport.