In 2017 South Africa was finally blessed with an extended WSL Qualifying circuit locally. The inaugural City Surf Series, presented by Volkswagen South Africa, brought WSL 1000 events to Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban and Cape Town, with the additional WSL 3000, SA Open of Surfing also in Durban.
Looking back at the series, it is not hard to see the incredibly positive impact the series has had on South African Surfing. With 3 wins in the 1000’s, Michael February is now 2nd in the world on the Qualifying tour, after a great result in in the 10000 at Ballito as well. With Jordy Smith currently World Number 1, this is a great time for surfing in our country.
The series also gave our top junior surfers the opportunity to surf at WSL level, against the older more experienced guys and against some tough international competition.
Nelson Mandela Bay
The first event, the Billabong Nelson Mandela Pro, was held at the Pipe, in Port Elizabeth. The first ever professional surfing event in the town. The conditions were not ideal, but the field of hungry SA surfers put on an incredible show for the local surf fans.
Next up the series moved to East London, where the competitive surf area’s locals were excited to be surfing against the best of the rest of the country in a professional event. Nahoon Reef delivered for the, Reef Buffalo City Pro and the surfers reveled in the long walls at the iconic surf spot.
The City Surf Series then moved to the long time home of Pro surfing in South Africa, Durban. The Corona Durban Surf Pro saw an increase if foreign surfers, as many South American surfers flew across for a four event run through the Western Cape and Durban. This pushed the local surfers and made for entertaining viewing for the crowds on the beach.
Onto Cape Town and the Jordy Smith Cape Town Pro presented by O”Neill. With the World Number one surfer in attendance to award the winner, it was the Brazilian storm who delivered the results both in the juniors and the open divisions. After massive storms had made the original venue at Big Bay a disaster zone, the contest moved to Melkbos. The tiny West Coast village delivered great waves and huge crowds at the beach.
The final event of the series was the WSL 3000 Volkswagen SA Open presented by Hurley. The 3000 ratings event drew a larger international crew and this put the local surfers up against it. Eventually the Brazilian crew showed their greater experience pulling off major wins across the board.
The series was an incredible success and I am hoping we will be looking at a greater and more expanded series in 2018. Big thanks go to El Jimador Tequila for sponsoring me as the series commentator and to the hard working team at Accelarate Sport for putting on the City Surf Series with WSL.