Some of South Africa’s top professional surfers are in Hawaii to compete in the career-deciding Reef Hawaiian Pro, the first of the Hawaiian Triple Crown series of events which kicked off in Haleiwa on the north shore of the island of Oahu yesterday.
This event forms part of the series which will determine the 2008 men’s and women’s ASP World Champions as well as the qualifiers for the 2009 ASP World Tours.
South Africans David Weare (Durban) and East Londoners Greg Emslie and Rosanne Hodge, along with the rest of the SA contingent in the event, are facing notoriously powerful surf, predicted to reach five metres on the Hawaiian scale (seven metre faces).
According to this report, the SA trio are at a career crossroads, as they are on the cusp of qualifying for the prestigious and lucrative top tiers of world surfing next year.
And although they may well have done enough on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) during the year, there are enough points at stake in the remaining events to see them overtaken in the ratings and relegated to competing on the ‘Grind’, as the WQS is referred to, in 2009.
They’ve already had close calls on the circuit. Emslie, an eight year veteran on the ASP World Tour before narrowly missing out at the end of last year, and Weare, who spent an injury riddled 2007 at surfing’s top table, currently occupy the number eight and nine positions in the ratings, well within the top 15 cutoff for qualification.
However, with the bulk of the world’s top 45 ranked surfers and a host of notoriously competitive Hawaiian locals in the mix for the Reef Hawaiian Pro (12-23 November) and the O’Neill World Cup at Sunset Beach (24 Nov-6 Dec), and a massive 3 000 points on the line in the two 6-Star Prime rated events, the South Africans will be determined to improve their points tallies to protect their positions.
Good luck, guys and gals! We’ll be rooting for you!