Dairy Beach delivered rippable one metre offshore waves on the opening day of the Corona Durban Surf Pro presented by Quiksilver and Roxy and the surfers taking full advantage with futuristic performances that earned big scores
The third of five stops on the City Surf Series completed two rounds of the QS1,000 men's event and Round 1 of the QS1,000 women's with the top seeds dominating proceedings as they staked their claim for event honours and points on QS and WSL Africa regional rankings.
Former CT campaigner and World Masters Champion, Greg Emslie (East London), showed that he is still a class act despite celebrating his 40th birthday last year, cruising through both his heats with state of the art manoeuvres and skilled heat management.
Surfing well within his capabilities, Emslie easily won his opening match-up with a heat total of 13.33 out of 20. He then opened up in his Round 2 encounter, pushing his scores into the excellent range with a 9.17 and an 8.83 giving him a heat total 18.0, the highest of the day.
Rankings leader Michael February (Kommetjie) stayed on track to retain the Skullcandy striped vest with another polished display and current No. 2 Steven Sawyer showed he is just as comfortable in the Durban beach breaks as he is in the point breaks of his hometown of Jeffreys Bay by accumulating a heat winning score.
It was Mathew McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) who produced the single best ride of the day when he was awarded a near perfect 9.50 for a series of explosive moves. Dairy Beach local Chad du Toit (Durban) included an 8.0 in his heat win and Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) showed his comfort in the warm water, sand bottom conditions with a comfortable victory in the last men's heat of the day.
Three of the international contingent advanced to the last 32 in the men's event with Braden Jones winning his encounter and fellow Americans Dylan Christensen and Nate Dorman finishing runners-up in their respective Round 2 clashes.
The women's event started with top seed Zoe McDougall (HAW) showing the talent that has taken her to No. 13 on the QS rankings. The 17 year-old from Sunset Beach eased to a comfortable win with an 8.0 and a 5.67 and is through to the quarterfinals.
Reigning WSL Africa women's champion Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) was the top performer on the day, racking up a heat total of 15.17. Tayla Hanak (AUS) scored a narrow Round 1win and advanced alongside heat winners Tasha Mentasti (Durban), Nikita Robb (East London), Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) and Jeffreys Bay's Emma Smith and Kirsty McGillivray.
The Junior men's Round 1 will be the first in the surf on Saturday and organisers hope to get another long day of competition up and running by 7.30am. The event champions will be crowned at Dairy Beach on Sunday afternoon.
The Corona Durban Surf Pro is supported by Quiksilver, Roxy, Volkswagen, Yesman, Tsogo Sun, Skullcandy, El Jimador and Accelerate Sport.