This is one of those WQS contests that really matters…it’s so big time it’s called a “Prime” event and the winner will be in the WQS drivers seat after the event.
Owen Wright, who’s on a roll of epic proportions, warms up for his heat at New Pier in Durban, South Africa. Photo courtesy Quiksilver.
Travis Logie Leads the Local Charge as International Competitors Fight Back
(New Pier, Durban, South Africa) New Pier surfer Travis Logie, one of the favourites in the 2009 Quiksilver Pro Durban, made use of his local knowledge to spearhead the local charge to win his heat this morning and advance through to the Round of 48. Following a disappointing day for the local boys that saw several top contenders eliminated, only Logie and Cape Town’s Royden Bryson kept the Rainbow Nation’s flag flying as they placed first in their respective heats to advance.
South Africa’s Travis Logie is always a threat in his home waters. Photo courtesy Quiksilver.
“There were actually some fun waves out there, and I really enjoyed surfing my heat,” said Logie after leaving the water. “It was quite inconsistent out there and I was in two minds if I should sit and wait for the good ones or just get some scores under my belt. In the end I decided to just take off on anything half decent and went for the big turn option, and it seemed to pay off.”
The only other South African to make it through today’s heats was Durban’s Chad du Toit, who placed second behind Logie to move in to the next round. Logie and du Toit eliminated Brazilian world tour veteran Yuri Sodre, and Scottburgh charger Gavin Roberts in their early morning heat, while Bryson advanced with Australian Daniel Ross ahead of Adam Robertson (Australia) and Luke Patterson (Durban).
Of the South African casualties, the biggest surprise was the elimination of reigning champion David Weare (Durban) after a disappointing heat against Tahiti’s Alain Riou and the Hawaiian duo of Jesse Merle-Jones and Mason Ho. As the onshore wind began to strengthen at the start of the heat, all four surfers found themselves out of sorts in the shifting lineup and battled to find a rhythm. Weare in particular seemed flustered as time ticked by, falling twice on waves that were potential high scorers. As the final few seconds of the heat ticked down Weare found himself needing a 5.11 and facing a flat ocean. Riou and Merle-Jones took the top two spots relegating Weare and Ho to the beach for the rest of the event.
“I’m really bummed to be out the event,” said a clearly disappointed Weare, “I really wanted to defend my title and I blew two waves that could have put me one step closer to it. I think I just took the wrong option going for that aerial on the second wave and it cost me. I blew a wave and lost a heat.”
Australian Owen Wright continued his Quiksilver Pro Durban charge as he once again posted the day’s highest heat score – 15.00 out of a possible 20 – to take the heat and move into the final 48 along with World Tour number 14 Jihad Khodr, eliminating Jarrad Sullivan (Australia) and Marcio Farney (Brazil).
Eric Geiselman leading the American charge in South Africa. Photo courtesy Quiksilver.
American Eric Gieselman’s high-flying aerial antics were a hit with both the crowd and the judges, as one stylish punt scored him an 8.00, one of the highest wave scores of the day and saw him take out the win ahead of runner-up Brent Dorrington (Australia), while Dion Atkinson (Australia) and Damien Fahrenfort (Cape Town) were knocked out.
Former Durban surfer Shaun Gossmann, who now resides in Australia, called on his years of surfing at New Pier to take his heat and advance with Jean da Silva (Brazil), while Virgin Mobile Wild Card Julian Wilson (Australia) was in devastating form and easily dispatched of Dale Staples (St Francis) and Warwick Wright (Durban) to move into the remaining 48 with Puerto Rican Brian Toth.
The first twelve heats of the Round of 96 were surfed today at Durban’s New Pier, and tomorrow will see the remaining twelve heats completed. A 6.30 am call will be made by the contest director, and with the forecast promising 3-4 foot waves and clean conditions through the morning at Ansteys Beach on the Bluff, there is the possibility of tomorrow’s heats being surfed there.
The Quiksilver Pro Durban is currently being contested by some of the world’s best surfers and carries the highest possible WQS rating and US$145,000 in prize money with the winner pocketing US$20,000 and 3,500 WQS ratings points.
If you can’t get down to the beach be sure to log on to www.quikprodurban.com where you can watch the live webcast featuring live footage and score updates in real time, punctuated by commentary from some of world surfing’s most respected voices, among them 1989 World Champion and former Durban local Martin Potter. Results, daily images, highlight video’s, surfer profiles and more can also be found on the event website. If you can’t get to a computer or down to the beach log on to www.quikpro.mobi on your mobile to get all the news, results and action.