Lamberts Bay - Clear skies and a perfect swell pouring over the YoYo's reef greeted competitors in the Vans Surf Pro Classic this morning, and the decision was made to send the Men's QS 1,500 competitors out first. The early morning surfing didn't last long, however. Only the first three heats were completed before the mist engulfed the contest area, making it impossible to continue surfing. There were some upsets in those first few heats however. Adin Masencamp, currently rated 38th on the International Qualifying Series ratings, was the first surprise, quickly followed by recent Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro winner Joshe Faulkner, as well as seasoned QS campaigner David Van Zyl all being eliminated. Australian surfer Chris Zaffis won his heat as did Koby Oberholzer and Jake Elkington. The waves stayed glassy and clean, the perfect arena for high performance surfing, with YoYo's showing off to the surfers and spectators.
When the mist lifted the carnage continued, with big names dropping like flies. Beyrick De Vries, went down, a recently on-form Chad Du Toit was eliminated, young Brian Jean Patrice Furcy from Mauritius got knocked out, as did the evergreen Luke Slijpen. Surfers finding form included Australian Sheldon Simkus, Bryce Du Preez and the powerful natural-footer Slade Prestwich who banked a 15-point heat total, after performing a number of high risk aerial moves on both his scoring waves.
International QS campaigner Dylan Lightfoot finished the round off with a blistering performance, winning his Round 2 heat with ease and advancing along with fellow J-Bay surfer Angelo Faulkner, ousting Germany's Lenni Jensen and New Zealand star Daniel Farr.
As the tide started coming in, the Women's QS 1,000 competitors hit the lineup. In a field totally dominated by internationals, the South African contingent struggled to make any headway, succumbing to the foreign surfers. Piper Harrison from Australia and Anne Dos Santosfrom Brazil, both advanced through the first heat of Round 2, with strong and confident performances in the consistent sets.
Other surfers to advance in the Women's contest were Rachel Presti from Germany, Sophie Fletcher from Australia, Hinako Kurokawa from Japan, Ariane Ochoa from Spain Ren Hashimoto from Japan, and the lone South African Natasha Van Greunen.
The Men's event paddled out for Round 3, and the first heat was a crazy affair, with Oberholzer clearly intent on a big result. He went for broke, including a 9-point ride for a series of well-connected combinations, fins-free flairs and a tight finish for the excellent score, backed up with a 7.5 ride. Australian Zaffis also impressed the judges and advanced with him, while Luke Thompson and Ethan Fletcher bowed out. On cue the fog came rolling back in. The contest went back on hold, but it was not going to happen, and the fog sat over the contest site like a giant, wet blanket for the rest of the day. A decisions was made and no more heats were run in the minimal visibility conditions.
There are epic conditions forecast for the final day of the contest, with a light south-east breeze set to freshen things up, so the Vans Surf Pro Classic will finish with a bang.