The Quiksilver Pro Africa presented by Virgin Mobile in association with Resolution Health was finalised at New Pier, Durban, South Africa yesterday with Luke Munro taking the Six Star Prime WQS title.
A blazing performance by Luke Munro saw the Australian take the inaugural Quiksilver Pro Africa from on-form local hero Jordy Smith. In perfect three to four-foot performance waves that allowed the surfers to cut loose and go for broke, the two surfers went head-to-head, performing an array of radical moves that included some high risk aerial manoeuvres from Smith that has become his trademark move, and some massive carving turns that saw Munro take the title.
The last three heats of the round of 16 commenced in perfect offshore three to four-foot waves. The first heat to hit the water, South African Davey Weare coming up against American Dane Reynolds, was a curious mix of no waves and tactics, with only one wave ridden by each surfer up until the last minute. On the countdown, Davey caught a small one for a small score, and in the dying seconds Reynolds picked up a left and fell off. The exchange saw Reynolds through with a winning margin of 0.1.
“I really thought I had blown it. Seems like I punched my board for nothing,” said a slightly flustered Reynolds on the beach afterwards. “I can’t believe I won that. I feel kind of bad for Davey, but I’m stoked to get through. No waves came through in our heat and we were just waiting all heat.”
The second heat of the day saw Frenchman Mikael Picon defeat Rodrigo Dornelles in a fairly close heat, and the final round of 16 heat saw the final South African Greg Emslie lose to the Hawaiian surfer Roy Powers.
“It’s an honour to defeat a surfer like Greg,” said Powers, full of praise for his opponent. “He’s already a legend in his country and in the world of surfing and I’m stoked to beat him. My program for the year is looking good to re-qualify, but I’m not going to get big-headed about it, there’s still lots of work to be done.”
As the quarters hit the water the tide drained and the waves improved for some classic encounters. First up was the Aussie pair of Kieren Perrow and Adrian Buchan, with Buchan getting the nod with some powerful backhand surfing.
The Smith/Padaratz clash was one of the best of the days, with Jordy going ballistic on one wave that included a massive air and a series of powerful manoeuvres to score a perfect 10 points, the second 10 point ride of the event. Smith’s second wave was a 9.4, left Padaratz needing a combination of scores to catch up.
Australian Luke Munro took Dane Reynolds to the cleaners in the perfect New Pier walls, with Reynolds needing a 9.67 score at the end of the heat for victory and the final heat in the quarters. “It’s like three to four-foot perfect pointbeak conditions out there,” said Luke Munroe after his quarter. “I love these conditions, it’s just like the Gold Coast. I haven’t really been surfing my best so far but I felt my feet out there in that heat.”
The final quarter saw Hawaiian surfer Roy Powers beat French surfer Mikael Picon with the Frenchman needing a 9.93 at the end of his heat.
The temperature was soaring on the beach as the semi-finals hit the water. Jordy carried on his incredible form by disposing of Adrian Buchan, continuing with his tradition of combo’ing his opponents with his progressive aerial surfing. Despite putting on a valiant effort till the last minute, Adrian Buchan was eliminated from the event. A great performance from the Australian, this result will see him ascending comfortably on the WQS ratings.
In the second semi, Luke Munro charged ahead of the Hawaiian Roy Powers, with a great 9.5 score as well as a second score of 7.83. This left Powers chasing hard for a good second wave, but he failed to get another good one in the bag. “It was great out there, the waves are so good and they’ve been good all week,” said a stoked Munro on the beach afterwards. “This is such a great time to be in Durban for waves. When we come later in the year the waves are normally not so good, so a week of surf like this makes it so obvious why the event got a prime rating.”
The two competitors paddled out into the final in the prevailing good conditions. It was Smith who started off with a flurry of waves, catching 4 waves before Munro was even on the board. Munro sat and waited for the sets, and the strategy paid off. Munro’s opening wave scored an excellent 8.5 points, and this was followed up with a 6.8 ride. Jordy, who busted one giant air on his best wave and nearly pulled off a second similar move on the same wave, scored a 7.83 as his best score and was left chasing a 7.48 score. The ocean slowed down a bit towards the end of the final, and a last-gasp attempt by Jordy was not enough to for him to get the required score.
A very stoked Luke ‘Munners’ Munro was carried out of the water on the shoulders of his fellow Australian surfers.
“I knew that I had to wait for the good ones if I wanted to beat Jordy. He has been on such form all week, and can get high scores on bad waves, so I really needed to focus on the sets,” said a stoked Munro on the beach afterwards. “I’ve been watching Jordy all week, and I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to match him on the airs and supermans on the smaller waves, so my strategy was to wait and it paid off. I’ve had a really bad start to the year so with this one in the bag hopefully I can get some momentum going and carry on like this. Jordy has been surfing so good, so it’s great to beat him at his home beach.”
Munro wins US$15,000 and 3000 points for his efforts, and climbs to 13th place on the WQS. For his efforts Jordy climbs to 3rd on the WQS behind Tiago Pires (Portugal) and Neco Padaratz (Brazil).
The Virgin Mobile Expression Session saw Heitor Alvez win the prize for the best air, and Travis Logie won the prize for the best wave.
Image © Barry Tuck/Quiksilver