A huge entry of more than 130 highly rated surfers will be battling for prestige, prize-money and points in the Corona Durban Surf Pro presented by Quiksilver and Roxy that will run in the hallowed waves of New Pier from Friday to Sunday, 21-23 April.
The third of five stops on the City Surf Series offers a total prize-purse of R80,000 and points on international and regional rankings in World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rated events for Men and Women and Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) events for Men and Women18-and-under.
Michael February (Kommetjie) has leapfrogged 21 places to No. 26 on the QS rankings after his victory in Port Elizabeth a fortnight back and runner-up finish in East London last weekend and he will be wearing the striped Skullcandy rankings leade's vest again in Durban.
Second seed Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) has an outstanding contest record in KwaZulu-Natal beach breaks and is joined by a bevy of hungry stars who will be going all out to prevent February from increasing his lead in the race for the 2017 WSL Africa Men's title.
Dylan Lightfoot and Matthew McGillivray from Jeffreys Bay, New Pier standout David van Zyl (Glenashley), last weekend's winner Steven Sawyer (J-Bay), Braden Jones (USA) and Dale Staples (St Francis Bay) complete the high caliber top eight seeds, all of whom have the ability to clinch victory on their day.
Hawaiian Zoe McDougall, currently ranked 13th on the QS Women's leaderboard, takes over as top seed in the QS1,000 Women's event in Durban after flying in from Barbados, and her talent is well known in South Africa after winning the Ballito women's event last year.
Emma Smith (J-Bay) and KZN stars Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) and Teal Hogg (uMhlanga) fill the top four spots in the seedings while East London winner Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) and runner-up Tayla Hanak (AUS) will also pose major threats.
Bell has been the star of the Junior Women, although Kayla Noguera (uMhlanga) who won in Port Elizabeth, and Kirsty McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) are more than capable of causing major upsets, while McDougall has also entered the JQS1,000 rated event.
Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) and Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach), winners of the previous two JQS1,000 Men's events, will be determined to draw away from the chasing pack who include Max Elkington (Kommetjie), reigning WSL Africa champ Adin Masencamp (Strand) and Luke Slijpen (Jeffreys Bay).
Organisers will meet at New Pier early on Friday morning and the decision on when to get the contest underway will be made at 7 am. The opening two rounds of Men's competition will be first up followed by Round 1 of the Women's event. The event champions will be crowned on Sunday afternoon.
The Corona Durban Surf Pro is supported by Quiksilver, Roxy, Volkswagen, Yesman, Tsogo Sun, Skullcandy, El Jimador and Accelerate Sport.