Dylan Lightfoot and Ariane Ochoa took out the Men’s and Women’s Qualifying Series titles at the Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Surf Classic in Port Alfred, with Thomas Lindhorst and Ceara Knight crowned the Junior Men’s Junior Women’s champions respectively.
Finals Day Highlights:
Dylan Lightfoot revelled in the powerful surf and won the Men’s 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 that saw him overtake eventual runner-up Luke Slijpen to secure victory, with Chad du Toit and Slade Prestwich having to settle for 3rd and 4th places.
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 (Spain) 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 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 who was chased all the way to the heat-ending siren by Luke Slijpen, the reigning WSL Africa Junior Men’s champion, who ended 2nd.
Luke Thompson repeated his 3rd place result at the previous event in PE and Eli Beukes finished 4th.
In the Junior Women’s final, the duo of Ceara Knight and Zoe Steyn dominated the 25-minute match-up while 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. 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. It was just enough to edge out Steyn by the closest of margins to take her first QS1,000 win in her career.
Royal St Andrew Hotel Port Alfred Surf ClassicResults
1st Dylan Lightfoot 13.55
2nd Luke Slijpen 12.75
3rd Chad du Toit 10.50
4th Slade Prestwich 10.35
1st Ariane Ochoa 14.30
2nd Shino Matsuda 12.75
3rd Ren Hashimoto 9.35
4th Julie Nishimoto 7.50
1st Thomas Lindhorst 11.75
2nd Luke Slijpen 10.70
3rd Luke Thompson 10.25
4th Eli Beukes 9.50
1st Ceara Knight 10.75
2nd Zoe Steyn 10.65
3rd Shino Matsuda 6.60
4th Minami Nonaka 3.15