Dylan Lightfoot and Ariane Ochoa

Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) and Ariane Ochoa (Spain) clinched the Men’s and Women’s titles
at the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic on Wednesday.  
Photo: WSL / Thurtell

 South Africa’s Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) and Ariane Ochoa from the Basque region of Spain took out the Men’s and Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) titles at the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic in Port Alfred on Wednesday, with Thomas Lindhorst (East London) and Ceara Knight (Kommetjie) crowned the Junior Men’s Junior Women’s champions respectively.

After two days of horrendous conditions in the Eastern Cape, the weather was calmer for the final day of Stop No 3 of seven on the 2019 WSL Africa Tour, while overhead waves continued to reel down the sandbank at the mouth of the Kowie River.
 
Lightfoot, ranked No 88 on the QS coming into the event, revelled in the powerful surf and won his quarter-final, semi-final and final encounters with high performance surfing and canny contest strategy to clinch his first QS event title.
 
The final was a see-saw encounter with all four competitors delivering great scores before Lightfoot posted a 6.55 (out of 10) that saw him overtake eventual runner-up Luke Slijpen (Hout Bay) to secure victory, with Durbanites Chad du Toit and Slade Prestwich having to settle for third and fourth places.
 
The 1,000 points for the win moved Lightfoot into the lead in the WSL Africa regional rankings after three events and the Jeffreys Bay surfer will also improve his position on the international QS leaderboard when the latest ranking are published tomorrow.
 
The Japanese women have been on a tear in South Africa and the Women’s final at Port Alfred was stacked with the trio of Shino Matsudo, Ren Hashimoto and Julia Nishimoto. Ariane Ochoa (ESP) was the dark horse in the lineup, but she did not let that deter her from putting on an impressive performance.
 
Ochoa opened her encounter with an excellent ride of 8.50 out of 10 which immediately put pressure on her competitors. She steadily built her score, backing it up with a 5.80 to walk away with her first QS win in South Africa and the second of her career
 
The Junior Men’s final featured four of the country’s top 18-and-under surfers with the spoils going to Thomas Lindhorst from nearby East London who was chased all the way to the heat-ending siren by Capetonian Luke Slijpen, the reigning WSL Africa Junior Men’s champion, who ended second.
 
Luke Thompson (Durban) repeated his third place result at the previous event in PE last weekend and Eli Beukes (Kommetjie), last weekend’s winner, finished fourth this time around.
 
In the Junior Women’s final, the South African duo of Ceara Knight (Kommetjie) and Zoe Steyn (East London) dominated the 25-minute match-up while Japan’s Shino Matsuda and Minami Nonaka, who have been the inform surfers in the 18-and-under women’s events, struggled to find their rhythm.
 
Knight surfed incredibly well throughout the contest and carried the momentum from PE all the way to her second consecutive final. She found the best wave of the heat for a 7-point ride and backed it up with a 3.75 for a total of 10.75 out of 20. It was just enough to edge out Steyn by the closest of margins to take her first QS1,000 win in her career.
 
Knight holds the top spot on the WSL Africa Junior Women ranking heading into the third junior event on the WSL Africa Tour, the Zigzag Durban Surf Pro from May 10-12.
 
Along with its WSL Africa rating, the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic is also the second of four stops on the City Surf Series (CSS). The CSS events embrace sustainability and transformation programs such as the Surfing South Africa Learn To Surf outreach project in collaboration with Caltex, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and Ocean Pledge.
 
Ocean Pledge will assist in creating ‘Blue Events,' while the NSRI will be educating members of the public, competitors, local schools and surf outreach programs about ocean safety and ocean awareness.
 
More information, results, images and video footage will be available from www.worldsurfleague.com and on the free WSL App.
 
The next event on the WSL Africa Tour is the Zigzag Durban Surf Pro from 10-12 May, which is also Stop No. 3 of four on the City Surf Series (CSS).
 
Royal St Andrew Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic Men’s Final Results
1. Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF, Jeffreys Bay) 13.55 points
2. Luke Slijpen (ZAF, Hout Bay) 12.75
3. Chad du Toit (ZAF, Durban) 10.50
4. Slade Prestwich (ZAF, Durban) 10.35
 
Royal St Andrew Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic Women’s Final Results
1. Ariane Ochoa (ESP) 14.30 points
2. Shino Matsuda (JPN) 12.75
3. Ren Hashimoto (JPN) 9.35
4. Julie Nishimoto (JPN) 7.50
 
Royal St Andrew Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic Junior Men’s Final Results
1. Thomas Lindhorst (ZAF, East London) 11.75points
2. Luke Slijpen (ZAF, Hout Bay) 10.70
3. Luke Thompson (ZAF, Durban) 10.25
4. Eli Beukes (ZAF, Kommetjie) 9.50
 
Royal St Andrew Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic Junior Women’s Final Results
1. Ceara Knight (ZAF, Kommetjie) 10.75 points
2. Zoe Steyn (ZAF, East London) 10.65
2. Shino Matsuda (JPN) 6.60
3. Minami Nonaka (JPN) 3.15
 
WSL Africa Rankings (After event #3 – Royal St Andrew Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic)
 
Men:
1          Lightfoot,Dylan - Jeffreys Bay - 1840 points
2          Faulkner,Joshe - Jeffreys Bay - 1420
3          Du Toit,Chad - Durban - 1310
4          Slijpen,Luke - Hout Bay - 1145
5          Prestwich,Slade - Durban - 805
 
Women:
1        Teal Hogg - uMhlanga - 805 points
2        Tanika Hoffman - Cape Town - 780
3        S’nenhlanhla Makhubu - Durban - 765    
4        Zoe Steyn - East London - 720
5        Sophie Bell - Salt Rock - 680
 
WSL Africa Junior Rankings (After event #2 –Royal St Andrew Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic)
 
Junior Men:
1        Eli Beukes - Kommetjie - 1525 points
2        Thomas Lindhorst - East London - 1420
3        Luke Thompson - Durban - 1310
4        Luke Slijpen - Hout Bay - 1170
5        Karl Steen - Durban - 880
 
Junior Women
1          Ceara Knight - Kommetjie - 1750 points
2          Zoe Steyn - East London - 1170
3          Kayla Nogueira - uMhlanga - 815
4        Sarah Scott - Kommetjie - 695
4        Tayla De Coning  - East London - 695