Adin Masencamp was the sole South African heat winner on day three of the 2018 Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing presented by Hurley in Port Elizabeth. Fresh off a runner-up finish to Jordan Lawler (AUS) in the Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro pres by O'Neill last weekend, the teenager from the Strand came from behind to get the better of fellow countryman, Durbanite, Slade Prestwich as well as event top seed, Portugal's Vasco Ribeiro and Luke Gordon from the USA.
"That heat just was not going my way and I was struggling to get in the right rhythm with the other guys getting the sets, bigger waves and better scores. Suddenly a wave just popped up, so thank you Neptune! A wave just came in those last few seconds when I needed it," said Masencamp after the heat.
His combined heat score of 13.84 (made up of a 7.17 and a 6.67) was indicative of a day when conditions proved tricky. The one to two foot waves at Port Elizabeth's Pollock Beach (affectionately known as ‘pipe') didn't offer much in the way of multiple manoeuvres, with one turn often being all that was possible and two scores in the ‘good' range of 6.0 - 7.9 difficult to come by.
Masencamp's victory in heat one of round three came in the afternoon when indeed conditions had marginally improved. Australian Mitch Crews made the most of what was on offer to accumulate the highest heat total of the round, dropping an 8.00 and a 7.00 for a total of 15.00. The 28-year-old journeyman is currently #93 on the Men's QS and beat fellow Aussie Joe Van Dijk who advanced in second place) as well as Liam O'Brien (Aus) and South African Joshe Faulkner.
Masencamp, Prestwich, Crews and Van Dijk will meet Theo Fresia, Mihimana Braye (PYF), Jackson Baker (AUS) and Rafael Teixeira (BRA) respectively in the Quarterfinals when competition resumes on Saturday.
History was made when the star-studded field took to the surf in the QS 3,000 womens event, the first time an event of this stature has been run in Africa. Hawaiian prodigy Brisa Hennessy was the standout of the day, posting two excellent scores (9.00 and a near-perfect 9.83) for a heat total of 18.83.
However, if her ability to string together more than one turn was impressive in the one-to-two foot surf, it was the way in which she did it that really stood out. Hennessey flowed effortlessly and stylishly through each turn throwing more spray than anyone in the field and seemingly generating speed and power where no-one else could.
"I think I was very lucky with the waves I got. There were really fun rights and lefts and the waves were peaky. Power wise it was very slow out there and I was trying to get my wave count up and just kept riding and putting up scores," said a stoked Hennessy.
The morning's conditions were so challenging (the women's round one ran before men's round three) that some surfers went the entire heat without posting a single score. Aside from young Hennessy, it was the more experienced campaigners that advanced on the day.
Veteran Silvana Lima, the current #9 on the women's CT, got the better of local favourite Faye Zoetmulder and Lorena Fica from Chile. Zoetmulder was one of three South African's who managed to advance out of three-man heats, the others being Skull Candy rankings leader Nicole Pallet and Emma Smith.
Another notable performance came from Hawaiian Zoe McDougall, the winner of the Junior division on Wednesday, who committed an interference but still managed to advance with a single wave score of 6.50. Her heat was won by WSL World junior champion, Vahine Fierro from Tahiti.
Perhaps the most exciting heat of the round however was the closely-contested battle between France's Justine Dupont and Peruvian Sofia Mulanovich. Dupont eventually took the win with a combined heat score of 13.33, over Mulanovich's 12.33.
A full day of competition will go down on Saturday with the men's champions being crowned in the men's Longboard and QS1,500 events. The day kicks off with the men's LQS1000 long boarding round of eight, followed by the men's QS1500 quarter finals, the women's QS 3000 round of 32 and the men's QS1500 semi-finals before the finals of the men's LQS1000 finals and men's QS1500 close out the day.