Mateus Herdy (BRA) and Zoe McDougall (HAW) claimed the junior men's and women's titles respectively at the inaugural Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres. by Hurley and became the first to lift the prestigious John Whitmore Cup.
International surfers dominated throughout Friday's action, held in waist to shoulder high waves at Dairy Beach in Durban. After completing Round One of the QS1,000 women's event, organizers chose to run the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals in the JQS1,000 rated events so the 18-and-under surfers could be crowned on Youth Day in South Africa.
Herdy, 16, was elated to clinch his first World Surf League (WSL) title, particularly as no junior events have been run in his home region of South America this year, and also because the runner-up, Lucas Vicente, is one of his best friends.
"Ah, I'm so happy! It's been a long time since I last won something, since I turned pro so I'm so happy,' said an elated Herdy. "The beginning of the Final was quite slow and then Lucas got one of the best waves so I was kind of nervous. My coach told me before the heat that I should wait for the good waves so I moved over to where Lucas was and the next wave that came was the highest score that I got."
"It is so amazing to have won the Final with Lucas in second, we have been competing together since we were babies. I know him so well, we are from the same beach, so I'm happy for him and so stoked I got the win!"
The Brazilian pair finished ahead of locals Ford van Jaarsveldt (Kommetjie) and Adin Masencamp (Strand), who struggled to find waves with scoring potential in the Final and missed the opportunity to make up ground. Current WSL Africa junior men's ranking leader Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) was eliminated in the Quarters.
McDougall was in a class of her own throughout the junior women's event, throwing away an 8.50 as she totaled 18.67 out of 20 while winning her Quarterfinal Heat, comfortably easing through her Semi and then getting really busy early in the Final to lock in a heat winning two wave tally on her first two waves.
"The waves aren't the best but it's always great to be back in Durban. I feel pretty comfortable here after winning the Corona Durban Pro, so yeah I'm just happy to be back," said McDougall. "South Africa is like my second home and I'll be going to Cape Town now and coming back to the Ballito Pro."
"I'm looking forward to competing here tomorrow again in the women's division. I'm just happy to be somewhere warmer than J-Bay and Cape Town! At least I can be in a bikini and spend time in the sun!"
Pacha Luque-Light (AUS) was ecstatic to reach the Final in her first event in South Africa and finish ahead of fellow Australian Sophia Fulton, the winner of the recent women's event on the West Coast, and fourth placed Kayla Nogueria (uMhlanga) who won the Durban Pro at Dairy Beach in April.
All four finalists safely negotiated their opening round encounters in the QS1,000 women's event and will restart their respective challenges for the title and valuable QS ranking points in the quarterfinals.The Volkswagen SA Open Womens' Champion will be crowned on Saturday afternoon.
The QS3,000 men's event also reignites on Saturday with the last 64 doing battle for a share of the US $75,000 (about R975,000).prize purse and the 3,000 points awarded to the winner.
Each of the winner's will have their names etched for posterity on the John Whitmore Cup, a floating trophy named after the late ‘Doyen' of South African and the first person in the country to own a VW kombi.
All the weekend action can be watched live at www.worldsurfleague.com and on the WSL App
The Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing is proudly supported by Hurley, Tsogo Sun, Durban Tourism, Skullcandy, El Jimador, Yesman, California Dreaming, World Surf League, Surfing South Africa and Accelerate Sport.