Wild and windy conditions greeted contestants for the opening day of the Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro pres by O'Neill. With a powerful groundswell battering the peninsula, event organizers retreated to Tubewave, the same venue that the inaugural event was at last year. Tubewave is an inside reform setup, and much of the strength of the groundswell is dissipated by outside reefs before it hits the sandbank. This makes it an ideal spot when conditions get unruly.
The surfers were unfazed by the conditions and hit it with venom from the early morning get-go. The Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro is the fourth stop in the popular City Surf Series and hosts both QS 1,000 and JQS 1,000 men's and women's events.
In the Men's QS 1,000 both local and international surfers impressed, with high-scoring rides in the wild conditions. J-Bay surfer Matthew McGillivray who won the Vans Surf Pro Classic at Lambert's Bay recently surfed a strong heat and advanced through to the third round along with Benjamin Hucker from Australia while Alex Maniatis from Greece and Arnau Riera from Spain were both eliminated.
McGillivray is currently ranked tenth on the QS leaderboard and a win in Cape Town will contribute 1,000 points towards his 2019 WSL Championship Tour (CT) campaign and edge him closer to joining Jordy Smith and Michael February on the Dream Tour.
Other international surfers who made it through their round two sudden death heats were Jordan Lawler, who was runner-up to Jordy Maree (ZAF) at the second City Surf Series stop, the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic, and fellow Australian Hinata Aizawa.
Dylan Groen from Germany has had a good start to his tour of South Africa in Lamberts Bay and went on to win his second round heat convincingly. In their heat Shane Sykes advanced with Groen, but Luke Slijpen and Joshe Faulkner from South Africa were both eliminated.
The surf improved somewhat in the afternoon, with competitors earning excellent rides in the higher tide conditions. Heat 12 was an exciting affair, with Australian Joe Van Dijk banking a 9.25 and a 6.15 as he went on to a convincing win. The natural-footer from Phillip Island in Victoria, Australia, put together a run of high-speed power turns and rode his best wave all the way through to the inside for the judges to award him a near - perfect score.
Slade Prestwich from Durban was chasing him hard, and found two great rides - 7.25 and 6.30 - but was needing a large score at the end of the heat. He eventually advanced along with Van Dijk, while Eduardo Motta from Brazil and stylish natural-footer Luke Gordon from America were both sent packing.
In the Women's QS 1,000, Japan's Minami Nonaka was the day's standout, netting scores of 8.0 and 7.25 that left her runner-up Pacha Luque-Light needing a near-perfect 9.50 for the win. Other star performers on day one included South Africa's Nicole Pallet, Cannelle Bulard (REU), Taghiti Gericke (ZAF) and former World Champion Sofia Mulanovich hailing from Peru.
The Junior Men and Women will get their chance to shine on Saturday with both JQS 1,000 titles being decided before the end of day 2.
The Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro pres. by O'Neill is a mobile event, and the event organizers have the choice of a few different venues on the west coast, including the primary venue of Big Bay at Bloubergstrand. The weather is set to subside somewhat over the weekend and it's possible that the event might see a few different venues over the weekend.