Yo-Yos in Lamberts Bay lived up to its reputation as the ‘Trestles of South Africa' as the remote surf break on the West Coast of the continent delivered an epic opening day for the second annual Vans Surf Pro Classic.
Perfectly shaped one to two metre waves, breaking both left and right, pulsed through the break from dawn to dusk under cloudless skies and windless conditions, providing the surfers in the first two rounds of the QS1,000 men's and Round 1 of QS1,000 women's event with the perfect canvas to display their talent.
The 72 men took full advantage of the pristine conditions, posting more than two dozen scores in the excellent range as they ripped the clean faces apart.
Mateus Herdy (BRA) dropped an 8.17 in his Round heat and then a near perfect 9.77 in Round 2. Top seed Beyrick De Vries (uMhlanga) started the defense of the title he won last year by racking up a 9.17 and an 8.60.
Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) put together a heat total of 18.23, with scores of 8.83 and 9.40, and David Van Zyl (Glenashley) totaled 18.66 after rides of 8.83 and a near-perfect 9.83 where two of the five judges awarded him 10 out of 10.
With one high-scoring heat after another, 2016 runner-up Michael February (Kommetjie) showed the value of the experience he picked up last year by producing back to back excellent rides to win his opening heat.
"That heat went very well - I had a bit of a slow start and went on a wave that I really didn't need to go on, so it wasn't a good one. But I managed to get two good waves that ended up being good ones," said February. "Lamberts Bay is one of the best waves on the QS and it's nice to be here at home and competing, but having a lot of fun surfing good waves for a change. It's pretty cool to surf good waves and prepare for the next couple of events by competing against the international guys here in South Africa."
Joaquin Del Castillo (PER) was another to benefit from the time spent at Yo-Yo's last year, delivering three high scoring rides to finish ahead of Moses Le Grice (AUS) as they eliminated Benji Brand (HAW) and Jose Gundesen (ARG).
"It was a hard heat, but I saw (watched) the waves for one hour and made a good strategy," said Del Castillo. "I'm happy because I made my heat with good surfers, with good surfing and good waves. I love this wave, I love Lamberts Bay and I'm so happy. South Africa is a country with a lot of good waves, its cold but I love it!"
The first two heats of the QS1,000 women's event were run before the contest was called off for the day as the setting sun made the colours difficult to distinguish. Tanika Hoffman (Sea Point) was the standout in Heat 1, with Sophia Fulton (AUS) and Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) advancing from Heat 2
Organisers will meet at 7.30 am to get the event underway on Saturday.
The Vans Surf Pro Classic is proudly supported by Zigzag Surfing Magazine, Cedarberg Aqua, Surfing South Africa and the World Surf League.