Antonio Bortoletto’s dream start to 2007 continued today when he won the Volcom Qualifying Series (VQS) finals in perfect 1 – 1.5 meter waves at Durban’s Dairy Beach in South Africa.

Bortoletto, the winner of the Volcom Qualifying event held at Dairy Beach last year, has enjoyed superb form in the early part of 2007, which began when he won the recent Quiksilver Goodwave. His recent form has been a major source of renewed confidence in his competitive ability.

This confidence is now bearing fruit, as today’s victory earned him an air-ticket to the U.S.A to compete in the VQS* World Championships to be held at Newport Beach, California, in May.

But it was not all plain sailing for the local-boy today, in the wild, windy conditions. After falling on his first two waves of the final, it seemed that Bortoletto had peaked too early, but the momentum he gained from his sublime display of smooth, powerful surfing in the semi finals, was enough to carry him to victory over fellow Durbanite, Paul Canning.

Canning tried desperately to find a wave that would offer him something to match Bortoletto's score, but it was not forthcoming. After fighting his way through several tough heats, Canning could not find the all-important ride and had to settle for second place, ahead of Dane Logie (DBN) and Shane Thorne (DBN).

While very strong westerly winds may have been the defining feature of the final leg of the Volcom Qualifying Series, the gales were responsible for some excellent surf and some exceptional high-scoring rides.

Fourteen-year-old Sarah Baum from Amanzimtoti was able to capitalize on the conditions in the Women’s final, executing a series of radical backside manoeuvres that took her to victory ahead of surfers ten years her senior. Fellow Toti surfer, Sarah Maritz, finished in a third place behind Tasha Mentasti (DBN), while Danielle Le Roux (DBN) took fourth place.

The Junior division saw some excellent surfing from St. Francis ripper Dale Staples who sealed an emphatic victory over Chris Leppan (Umhlanga), Kyle Beach (Queensburgh) and Toti’s Klee Strachan.

Beyrick De Vries from Umhlanga continued his rise to stardom with some exceptional surfing in the Grom Division (14 years and younger). Following a string of successful events in Australia recently, De Vries was able to notch up an important win with some high-class surfing in the final.

De Vries finished ahead of Cape Town wunderkind Matt Bromley, who despite surfing exceptionally well throughout the event, had to settle for second place. St. Francis Bay’s Nick Godfrey took third ahead of Mike February (CT). All the finalists of all the divisions have earned the opportunity to take part in the VQS* World Championships that will be held at Newport Beach, California, U.S.A in May.

Zigzag’s “Blowing-Up" award, was awarded to Umhlanga’s Chris Leppan for his radical surfing throughout the competition. Apart from the wild surfing action, Volcom’s Stone Age theme saw all sorts of primordial antics taking place on the beach in between sets, which included a number of themed games for windswept spectators to take part in. Prizes were given to the winners and even the losers got some cool, free product hand-outs.

Competitors were treated to free Redbulls as well as free lunch from Taco Zulu. DVS Shoes gave away a box full of free sandals to a group of lucky spectators and competitors. The South African leg of Volcom’s Totally Crustaceous Tour boasts over R40 000 worth of prize money, as well as product giveaways from DVS Shoe Company and Redbull.

Volcom’s Totally Crustaceous Tour is a Surfing South Africa (SSA) sanctioned event.

Final Results:

Men’s Open

1. Antonio Bortoletto.

2. Paul Canning.

3. Dane Logie.

4. Shane Thorne.

Juniors

1. Dale Staples.

2. Chris Leppan.

3. Kyle Beach.

4. Klee Strachan.

Groms

1. Beyrick De Vries.

2. Matt Bromley.

3. Nick Godfrey.

4. Mike February.

Girls.

1. Sarah Baum.

2. Tasha Mentasti.

3. Sarah Maritz.

4. Danielle Le Roux.

Zigzag Blowing Up Award: Chris Leppan.

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