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Lightfoot, Kurokawa and Slijpen Win At The Vans Surf Pro Classic

Vans Surf Pro Classic Finals Day
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Watch highlights from the Finals Day at the Vans Surf Pro Classic

Lamberts Bay - Dylan Lightfoot is the 2019 Vans Surf Pro Classic Men's QS 1,500 winner. Lightfoot put on a polished performance in the final to take the win from fellow South African Koby Oberholzer. The conditions at YoYo's were small but clean, and conducive to high performance surfing, and Lightfoot banked a total heat score of 14.90, enough to place him ahead of Oberholzer and to secure first place. Lightfoot ousted Jordy Maree on his route to the final, while Oberholzer knocked Jake Elkington out of the contest in their semifinal encounter.

Vans Surf Pro Classic line up for finals day This is the sight that greeted surfers and contest organisers on the final day of the Vans Surf Pro Classic. It was a lineup that had been plagued by mist for two days. WSL / Alan Van Gysen

Lightfoot and Oberholzer are both highly skilled and talented surfers, but they have very different surfing backgrounds and approaches to their surfing, one being the ultra competitive QS grinder, while the other being a focused contest surfer who is just as happy surfing in contests as he is cruising down the coast with mates, in search of new waves. In this final however, they were both equally determined to secure a win, and surfed to their utmost in the small conditions. In the end it was the seasoned QS campaigner Lightfoot, with a 7.4 and a 7.5 who took the win from Oberholzer, who had a heat total of 14.05.

"It feels great. I've been putting a lot of effort in my surfing, both mentally and physically, and surfing a lot," said Lightfoot of his second QS win in a row.

Dylan Lightfoot at the Vans Surf Pro Classic Dylan Lightfoot delivered an excellent performance to win the Vans Surf Pro Classic 2019. WSL / Ian Thurtell

In the Vans Surf Pro Classic Women's QS 1,000 event, Japanese surfer Hinako Kurokawa emerged victorious from an intense four-person final. It was a United Nations final, with Japan, Australia and Brazil surfers in the final, as well as Germany, Israel and South African surfers in the semifinals.

In the final, the rambunctious Kurokawa chose to surf both the lefts and the rights off the YoYo's peak and it was this versatility that helped her along the way to the win, proving to be adept at both forehand and backhand surfing. She sneaked in front of Australian surfer Piper Harrison who came in second, with Brazilian surfer Anne Dos Santos in third and fellow Japanese ripper Ren Hashimoto in fourth. The only South African to make any headway in this highly competitive event was Natasha Van Greunen, who was eliminated from the contest in the semifinal where she placed fourth.

Hinako Kurokawa at the Vans Surf Pro Classic Hinako Kurokawa was crowned the champion at the Vans Surf Pro Classic Women's QS 1,000 event at Lamberts Bay. WSL / Ian Thurtell

The Women's Tour in South Africa has been dominated by foreign surfers of late, especially the Japanese contingent, who have been surfing in all of the events on the South African domestic tour. They have been getting good results and gaining valuable contest experience in the process. The Japanese are a strong team, giving loads of support and encouragement to each other, and their hard work is starting to show.

Luke Slijpen tore his way through the field in the Junior Men's Final, belting some big hits for the big scores and managing to amass a heat total of 15 points, well ahead of second placed Luke Thompsonwith 12.95. After last year's event winner Eli Beukes was a shock elimination in the second semifinal, the way was open for Slijpen to go all the way to victory.

Luke Slijpen at the Vans Surf Pro Classic Luke Slijpen added another victory to his already impressive string of results in the last few months with the win in the Junior Men's event. WSL / Ian Thurtell

It was by no means a walkover, with all four surfers pushing hard in the high-performance peaks, although the surf was somewhat affected by the afternoon high tide. Much-vaunted Angelo Faulkner placed third, while the lone American Jackson Butler finished in fourth place.

Disappointed by his runner-up position in the Junior Men's Final Luke Thompson redeemed himself by a win in the Red Bull Shred Session for a super-high forehand reverse.

The next QS event in South Africa is the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres by Hurley that will be held from 13-17 June. The event will consist of a Women's QS 3,000 event, a Men's QS 1,000 event, and Men and Women's JQS 1,000 events.

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