Steven Sawyer Wins WSL World Longboard Championships in Taiwan

Steven Sawyer Wins WSL World Longboard Championships in Taiwan

Jinzun Harbour, Taitung/Taiwan (Sunday, December 2, 2018) – South African Steven Sawyer (ZAF) has won the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) World Longboard Championship at the Taiwan Open of Surfing, defeating longboarding legend  Kai Sallas (HAW) in clean, one metre waves at Jinzun Harbour in Taitung, Taiwan.

The 24-year-old from Jeffreys Bay was on fire all event but saved his best performances for the final day, posting excellent heat totals in all three heats, including a near-perfect 9.50 (out of 10) single wave score in the semi-finals, the highest of the entire event. Sawyer’s combination of traditional and progressive longboarding manoeuvres was impeccable as he went one better than his runner-up finish at the 2016 World Longboard Championship.

“2016 was my second year at the World Championships and I don’t think I was ready or prepared to win — This year I was definitely ready,” Sawyer said. “I still pinch myself when I surf against guys like Kai (Sallas), Taylor (Jensen) and Harley (Ingleby), They are all my heroes so competing against them is surreal.

“I was watching Kai all week and he was looking to be the guy to beat so when I came up against him in the final I was really nervous. It was all good though, as I had such an incredible crew cheering me on from the beach that got me really pumped up to perform.”

Sawyer, who is also an accomplished shortboard competitor having won a WSL Qualifying Series (QS) event and earning a wildcard into the 2017 J-Bay Open Championship Tour event, was competing on a surfboard shaped by his father, Des Sawyer, that seemed to suit the waves of Taiwan perfectly. He now joins a select group of South African born WSL World Champions that includes Shaun Thompson, Wendy Botha, Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker and Jordy Smith (Junior)..

“My dad has been shaping me incredible boards recently and they worked so well all event. This is my second time to Taiwan and it is such an amazing place with amazing waves, I think it’s the best surf trip I have ever done — Now it’s become even more special for me,” said Sawyer, who had the massive crowd supporting him on the beach erupting every time he caught a wave, making the atmosphere electric.

Kai Sallas was obviously despondent after coming just short of the title once again. In his 15th year of competing at the World Longboard Championships, a maiden title continues to elude him. Regardless of his runner-up finish, the Hawaiian will remain as one of the icons of modern longboarding.

“To make it all the way to the final and then lose never feels good — it really hurts,” Sallas said. “I feel like I was surfing so well all event and then just lost my rhythm in the final. I’ve been competing for a World title for 15 years now and come really close a few times. I think maybe next year I won’t be taking it as seriously as I do because it hits you harder when you don’t win. I’m happy for Steven and his win, but I’m definitely hurting.”

On his way to the final, Sawyer took down the reigning three-time WSL World Longboard Champion Taylor Jensen (USA) in their semi-final encounter and former Taiwan Open winner Tony Silvagni (USA) in the quarter-finals.

Sawyer’s fellow WSL Africa representatives in the Men’s and Women’s World Longboard Championships were eliminated earlier in the event with Sam Christianson (Durban) advancing to Round 3 before ending his debut campaign in equal 13th place overall. Alfonzo Pieters (Muizenberg) and Chrystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) were both ousted in Round 2  with Pieters finishing equal 25th in the men’s event and Hulett equal 13th among the women in her maiden world title event.

The 2018 Taiwan Open of Surfing will continue on Monday with the WSL World Junior Surfing Championships now that longboard champions have been crowned. This is the first year in WSL history that the Junior and Longboard Champions will be crowned at the same event. The best 18-and-under surfers in the world will do battle for the chance to join the historic winner’s list that features the likes of Andy Irons (HAW), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Adriano De Souza (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS) and many more.

The WSL Africa regional representatives include Luke Slijpen (Hout Bay), Max Elkington (Kommetjie), Eli Beukes (Kommetjie) and Luke Thompson (Durban) in the junior men’s event while Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay) and Zoe Steyn (East London ) will be challenging for the junior women’s title.

Round 1 of both the men and the women are expected to start at 7:00 am local time (12 midnight Sunday night, South African time). The WSL World Junior Surfing Championships run from 3 – 9 December

All the action from the Taiwan Open of Surfing can watched live at www.worldsurfleague.com and on the Free WSL App. Head there for more information, images, highlights and results.

Taiwan Open World Longboard Championship Men’s Final Results:

1: Steven Sawyer (ZAF) 16.10
2. Kai Sallas (HAW) 15.10

Taiwan Open World Longboard Championship Men’s Semi-final Results:

SF1: Steven Sawyer (ZAF) 16.10 DEF. Taylor Jensen (USA) 12.96
SF2: Kai Sallas (HAW) 15.80 DEF. Cole Robbins (USA) 15.10

Taiwan Open World Longboard Championship Men’s Quarter-final Results:

QF1: Steven Sawyer (ZAF) 14.76 DEF. Tony Silvagni (USA) 12.94
QF21: Taylor Jensen (USA) 14.23 DEF. Harley Ingleby (AUS) 13.57
QF3: Kai Sallas (HAW) 16.33 DEF. Edouard Delpero (FRA) 12.83
QF4: Cole Robbins (USA) 14.67 DEF. Antoine Delpero (FRA) 12.36

SRC: WSL / Life’s a Beach Communications

J-Bay Open 2015

J-Bay Open 2015

This year I went up for the last weekend to see the finals and what a showdown it was! I wasn’t equipped to take good photos this time, so just shot a few very amateurish ones, but you’ll get the gist of it. I didn’t get any of Mick’s shark encounter as I was literally too shocked to take pictures while it was happening. The crowd was gasping, water patrol straight on it and well, the rest is so well covered that I don’t need to rehash it all again. Enjoy the images!

Rolling Retro 2015

Rolling Retro 2015

It’s on folks! The most ‘laid back’ surfing event to hit the Cape Town calendar is back and it’s going to be a blast. Be sure to get there early, because this year it’s going to be a cracker. I’m hitting it for the third year in a row and can truly say that it’s one of the most enjoyable contests on the South African surf calendar.

The contest is pretty laid back too in that regard, but don’t make a mistake, some top surf talent come and show off their mad retro skills.

For those that are unfamiliar with the setup, RVCA and VUDU Surf usually make available a bunch of old surf boards for contestants to surf on in the comp. The ones with the most style and flair make it through. Whether a classic fish or longboard, style is what it’s all about, so expect many a soul arch and larry laybacks.

Some tips on having an enjoyable Rolling Retro experience

  • Chicks (and okes for that matter) can dress up (pin-up style is a big hit!) retro and win prizes
  • Come early, the beach gets packed
  • Bring enough shade
  • Bring loads of sunscreen
  • Bring enough cash for beers and boeries at the Llandudno lifesaving club (they are to die for after a cold surf)
  • Don’t be a douche and free surf in the contest area

The event is on the 22nd of February 2015 from 09:00 – 22:00, see you there!

Surfers Rally For A Good Cause As Movember Heads For The Beach

Surfers Rally For A Good Cause As Movember Heads For The Beach

Llandudno, Cape Town – On Saturday the 1st of November surfers of all kinds will congregate at Cape Town’s Llandudno beach for a fun day out at the Off The Lip Movember Surf Jam. This event, which is hosted by Quiksilver and the Movember foundation, is aimed at creating awareness as well as raising funds for men’s prostate cancer, testicular cancer and other men’s health issues. Surfers participating in the event are encouraged to dress in seventies surf gear, alter-ego’s welcome, use surfboards from the seventies era and don freshly shaven upper lips to mark the start of a hair-raising month for creating awareness for the Movember movement. (more…)

Rolling Retro 2014

Rolling Retro 2014

Are you ready for a good time? The RVCA Rolling Retro will be held the 9th of Feb 2014 at Llandudno beach. This is a great outing for all on the beach. Various surfers will be riding their own, or old boards supplied by Vudu Surf. Hopefully there will be some contributions going towards Vudu Surf and Dutchie for their factory that burnt down (unconfirmed as of yet – someone set up a donations box!).

If you want to see what it’s like, check out last year’s gallery!

Hot chicks, good surfing and a few beers on a hot Llandudno day, nothing can beat it! Bring your sunblock and brollies and remember to have a granadella lolly for the jolly! Oh yes and there’s usually a few boeries for sale too so bring your mandelas.

Durban Surfer Slade Prestwich Wins Big in Fiji

Fiji – Eighteen year old Slade Prestwich from Durban has just won the Volcom VQS Global Finals held in perfect 4-5 foot surf at Fiji’s infamous Cloudbreak surf spot. The global finals consisted of 9 surfers that had all qualified from 9 various countries including USA, Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, Peru, New Zealand, Puerto Rica and South Africa. The powerful regular-footer used big turns and precision barrel riding to get past runner up Deivid Silva from Brazil. He pocketed a valuable US$10, 000 for his win and thanked his friends back home, sponsors and Volcom for the great event.

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Greg Emslie takes gold at the ISA World Masters Surfing Championship 2013

The ISA World Masters Surfing Championship 2013 was held recently at Montañita, Ecuador. Apart from an overall team silver, we had a few great results.

Masters: Greg Emslie (ZAF), Gold Medal

Women’s Masters: Heather Clark (ZAF), Silver Medal

Kahuna: Andre Malherbe (ZAF), Silver Medal

Grand Kahuna: Chris Knutsen (ZAF), Gold Medal

Well done to the team! For final day results, check out the video below.

Rolling Retro 2013 Photo Gallery

Rolling Retro 2013 Photo Gallery

One of my favourite events of the year was recently held at the beautiful Llandudno beach in Cape Town. The Rolling Retro Surf Festival. Beach goers came out in droves and packed the beach for an awesome day of surfing and sun bathing. The weather gods once again didn’t disappoint and with a South Easter predicted I was bracing for a blow in the afternoon, but not a whisper came up the entire day. Photos after the jump…

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Wavescape Film Festival Cape Town 2012

This is going to be epic, can’t wait!

The Wavescape Film Festival is from 28 November until the 17th of December. The actual screenings on Clifton 4th beach is from the 8th of December. Get the whole schedule here.

PS the art board exibition is at Superette in Woodstock from the 28th of November until the 5th of December. Make sure to pull in!

Billabong Pro 2012 Series 1

This year I seemed to have really outdone myself with the number of photos I shot, so I’m going to break it up into a series of posts. The first lot is from day 2 as far as I can remember.

The conditions were pumping, just like the wind initially, but were highly contestable. After driving from 3am in the morning from Cape Town, I took photos until about 2pm and decided that a rewarding surf would be in order for myself. Point was cooking 3-4ft and I ended up staying in the water for 3.5 hours. The fish was behaving well, got some fin free movement on the bigger turns (love how a twin fin releases as you’re about 90 degrees into your cutback) which sets up the next bottom turn nicely. Wait, what the hell am I talking about? I’m just a very average surfer, who had loads of fun. That’s what surfing in South Africa is all about…

If you like what you see, please share this on Twitter and Facebook, bru, and thanx for the support 😉

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Adriano de Souza takes the Billabong Pro JBay 2012

Adriano de Souza takes the Billabong Pro JBay 2012

Adriano de Souza’s lifelong dream of becoming the Billabong Pro JBay champ came true today when he beat Joan Duru (France) in testing onshore conditions at Supertubes, Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa.

The conditions throughout the competition was excellent, with some beautiful waves and riding skills showcased. The final was quite dramatic, as with about 5 minutes to go Adriano lost a fin on the bricks after trying a desparate final move to make up points (as he was trailing in second). He had to do the run up to the point and get a new board from his caddy and get out to the lineup again, which he did, plus he scored an 8.33 wave to clinch the final in the dying seconds of the heat.

Adriano mentioned that he was dreaming about this moment since he first came to Jeffrey’s Bay at 13 years of age. He was a true champion in the event throughout. Big up to you man! Also a shout out to Joan, who was really stoked to even make the finals and who surfed extremely well. It looked like he had it in the bag, but this is the nature of the top surfing contests out there and made for great viewing.

Watch this space over the next week for the full image gallery (some sick shots coming)!

John John Florence has arrived

Ok, so we’ve seen it coming for a while, but finally JJ’s pulled off a win at the Rio Pro in Brazil. It’s his first WCT victory and by far not the last by the look of things to come. This year’s wide open, with Kelly sitting in 8th now having missed the last comp because of a heel injury. Joel Parkinson’s currently sitting at number one. I reckon if he just continues to chip away with good results he might just walk away with it, but the new school surfers are all snapping at his heels.

South African surfers did a fair job with Jordy Smith making it to the fifth round (losing against Joel) and Travis Logie making round 3 (losing to De Souza). It was a little bit disappointing I guess. Really hope Jordy and Travis hit it up big in the next events, especially since Travis does well on the bigger waves.

Here’s John John’s road to victory at the Rio Pro:

CURRENT ASP WCT TOP 10 (After Billabong Rio Pro):
1. 
Joel Parkinson (AUS) 19700 pts
2. Mick Fanning (AUS) 18250 pts
3. Josh Kerr (AUS) 18200 pts
4. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 17200 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 15750 pts
6. John John Florence (HAW) 15750 pts
7. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15700 pts
8. Kelly Slater (USA) 13700 pts
9. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12250 pts
10. Owen Wright (AUS) 12150 pts

Gabriel Medina’s on fire

If Gabriel Medina’s last performance at the Nike Lowers Pro is anything to go by, then the other top ranked surfers should be worried.

A hunger to win.

In 4 words that’s how I’d describe Medina. His heat against Dane Reynolds was proof alone that he’s amongst the best in high performance and ‘new age’ surfing (if you can call it that). It’s exciting man, damn exciting and this year’s going to pan out to be one of the great seasons of surfing, especially now that the ASP has let go of their stupid mid-season rotation idea as part of the One World Ranking system.

Other pros need to wake up and start pulling their wetty wedges out of their arses.

For the final day’s action check the video below

 

Code Red at Teahupoo – the full movie

Here it is. If you haven’t seen this, you have been asleep under a rock, so in all its glory check out this phantom cam footage taken at super high resolution and super slow motion in spots.

It was taken at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, Teahupoo when the contest was stopped because the surf was too big to paddle into.

This in my mind is the most mind blowing display of surfing ever recorded. I’m yet still to see any better footage of surf this gnarly. Enjoy!

 

Billabong Pro JBay downgraded to 6-star ASP qualifying event

It seems that Billabong’s got some financial woes, and in the mids of job cuts and shop closures the ASP Billabong Pro JBay has also become a casualty. For me personally this is extremely sad news, as this year would have been my 6th time going to see all the pros surf and get a chance to take photos. I guess this is a chance to see the up and coming pros surf it out, and it does also open the event to a host of South African competitors that want to crack the nod, but once again, I wonder if I’ll ever have the chance again of seeing the best of the best competing? Sad indeed.

From Billabong suits: “The change in event status follows a broader review in which we are seeking to identify cost savings throughout the business. By retaining an event at Jeffreys Bay, it now provides two qualifying events back to back in the South African region. The move to an ASP 6-Star also opens the event up to South Africa’s aspiring pro surfers for the first time in 20 years and ensures continuity of the event for the local businesses in Jeffreys Bay.”

“We agreed as a Board that whilst very regrettable, the commercial realities are such that a pragmatic approach by ASP at this time seemed sensible,” Richard Grellman, ASP Executive Chairman, said. “Billabong have been long-time supporters of professional surfing and still sponsor three of the ten World Championship Tour events and we look forward to our deep relationship with them continuing.”

Hope we get to see the pros again in some or other format… sigh.

Quiksilver Goodwave Set For 2012 Comeback

Daniel Redman - www.gregewingphoto.com

Daniel Redman - www.gregewingphoto.com

The Quiksilver Goodwave invitational is back by popular demand and will be one of the highlights on the Surfing South Africa event calendar for 2012. The Goodwave was one of the most anticipated events of the year but was postponed in 2011 leaving a gap for a solid, core surfing event in good waves. Quiksilver decided to bring the event back due to the popularity of the Goodwave.

“We are pumped to have the Goodwave back on this year, it’s an insane event to watch, it makes such a difference watching quality surfing in good waves as opposed to small, sub-standard conditions. There are minimal events on the calendar this year for non-traveling surfers so it gives South African surfers something to look forward to, let’s hope that the ocean produces the goods and we get to run it,” said Quiksilver’s Marketing Manager Dane Patterson.

Thirty-two of South Africa’s best surfers will be selected to compete for R25 000 in prize money on the single best day of surf between 1 March and 31 August. The aim of this unique event is to see South Africa’s finest surfers going all out in good, clean surf.

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