A great day of surfing saw the contest organisers run the JQS 1,000 divisions of the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres by Hurley all the way through to the finals, crowning the two champs on the beach afterwards. Zoe McDougall and Luke Slijpen both surfed to victory, and were two stoked winners at Pipe in Port Elizabeth.
Three-foot waves poured through the whole day, and there was some fast and polished surfing through the tides, with the local Junior contingent fiercely attempting to stave off their international counterparts.
The first women's Semifinal was an all-Japan affair with the diminutive goofy-footer Shino Matsuda coming up against Minami Nonaka. Nonaka, who won the recent JQS 1,000 Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro pres by O'Neill, was beaten by Matsudo who went on to the final.
In the second Semifinal young Hawaiian Zoe McDougall who has been dominating in South Africa, put on a superior performance against perennial ripper Sophie Bell and advanced to meet Matsudo in the final.
It was a fairly evenly matched final, with the two surfers going toe-to-toe, but it was the Hawaiian natural-footer who took home the winner's spoils and pocketd the cheque. McDougal really has been surfing well in South Africa, and this victory adds to her collection of a 5th in the Vans Surf Pro Classic Women's QS event, 1st place at the Zigzag Durban Surf Pro pres by G-Force Women's QS event, and a 2nd at the Zigzag Durban Surf Pro pres by G-Force JQS 1,000 event.
The first semifinal of the men's JQS 1,000 saw Eduardo Motta from Brazil come up against the Reunion surfer Jolan Bonelli. The two surfers each found one good ride, but both were left flailing around trying to find a second high score, and at the end of a somewhat frustrating heat, it was the Brazilian who advanced to the final.
Luke Slijpen then totally overpowered his German opponent Dylan Groen in the second semifinal. He gave Groen no room to move on the scoreboard and although it was a low-scoring heat all round, Slijpen advanced with a major win ratio.
The final was a close affair, with both surfers doing their best to pick up that one gem and pull off the one move that would separate them from their opponent. They were evenly matched and for a large portion of the heat they were sitting on a perfect tied score of 10 points each for their best two rides combined. Slijpen then found one more decent ride and carved it all the way through to the inside for a score of 6.17 points. Nothing special, but enough to get ahead of his Brazilian opponent and stay there till the final hooter. It was an exciting end to day 1 of the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing.