Quiksilver Pro Durban: WQS 6-Star Prime Down To 16

I’ve never been to South Africa but the waves sure look fun. With 16 surfers left, valuable WQS points are at stake and the winner of this comp will have a really good chance of making the WCT next year…

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Logie Posts Highest Wave Score to Reach Final 16

Travis Logie

(Ansteys Beach, Durban, South Africa) Durban surfer Travis Logie (above) continued his run of good form in the Quiksilver Pro Durban at Ansteys Beach on Durban’s Bluff today as he posted the highest wave score of the event – a near perfect 9.33 out of a possible 10 – to win his heat and advance to the final 16 of the six star prime Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) event.

Logie is fresh off a win in the Mark Richards Pro in Newcastle, Australia, and is looking like a serious contender in the Quiksilver Pro Durban, dispatching of such names as 2000 World Champion Sunny Garcia (Hawaii) and world tour stalwarts Yuri Sodre and Jean da Silva (both Brazil) on his way to the final 16.

Jesse Merle Jones

Jesse Merle Jones. Photo: Quiksilver/Ewing

In today’s Round of 24 match-up Logie found himself up against current ASP World Tour number 14 Jihad Khodr (Brazil) and Hawaiian ripper Dusty Payne in the powerful four to five foot surf. Brimming with confidence Logie took off on a heaving left in the opening seconds of the heat and went to work on the powerful wall, packing in two huge forehand top turns before jiving his tail out the back of the wave on his last move as the crowd on the beach erupted in appreciation. The judges clearly shared the crowd’s enthusiasm, awarding Logie his near perfect score and giving him a strong lead over his two opponents.

“That wave was such a bomb,” said Logie afterwards. “I saw it coming up right on the siren and knew it had potential to be a huge score if I really went for it. So I didn’t hold back and just tried to push every turn as hard as I could. The funny thing is I think it’s the first decent wave I’ve had the entire event, and I’m just stoked the judges appreciated it. It’s always good to start your heat off with a good score and 9.33 is just about as good as you could wish for.”

Julian Wilson

Event wildcard Julian Wilson doing damage. Photo: Quiksilver/Ewing

The consummate professional, Logie took his time in picking his remaining rides, posting a respectable 6.0 later in the heat to entrench his lead. Logie now finds himself having to contend with French Polynesian surfer Alain Riou in the next round, as the contest switches to man-on-man format. Riou has proved one of the more resilient surfers in the event thus far, taking down World Tour surfer Jay Thompson, American Nathan Yeoman, and 2008 Quiksilver Pro Durban winner David Weare, and will be a serious threat to Logie.

“Alain and I are really good friends,” Logie said when asked about his next match-up. “We’ve both been on the Quiksilver team for years and have done a lot of trips together. We’re both goofy-footers and I think it could be a very interesting heat, regardless of what the conditions are like. I’ve got some new boards and they are going amazingly well for me, so I’ll just do what I can do out there and hope that it’s enough to get the thumbs up from the judges.”

Another close friend of Logie’s is fellow New Pier local Brandon Jackson who is also enjoying a great run at the moment. Fresh off a fifth place finish in the Drug Aware Pro in Margaret River, Australia, the natural footer had a close call in his Round of 24 heat against American Brett Simpson and Australian Leigh Sedley.

In the dying seconds Jacskon found himself sitting in second place and defending a narrow lead over third placed Sedley. As the clock ticked down Sedley needed just a 3.83 to usurp Jackson’s second place and eliminate him from contention, when a big right-hander loomed on the horizon for the lanky Australian. Feeling the pressure as he took off, Sedley was a little wobbly off the bottom and as he banked off the top executed a conservative first re-entry which he followed up with a mistimed closeout turn.

“When I saw Leigh paddle into that wave I thought it was game over,” said Jackson after the heat. “He’s a great surfer and an amazing competitor and I knew he didn’t need a big score, so I really thought that was it.”

The crowd on the beach were breathless with anticipation as the final seconds before the siren signaling the end of the heat ticked down, and they sat awaiting the judges’ decision. Likewise Sedley sat in the shorebreak waiting for the announcement, while Jackson, in a last ditch effort, took off on a closeout and pulled into a big barrel. When the commentator announced that Sedley had scored only a 3.13, Jackson’s position in the final 16 was secured and the local crowd erupted with excitement.

Australian surfer Julian Wilson (21) is recognised as one of the most radical surfers in the world at the moment, and today showed he has the professionalism and talent to adapt his flamboyant style to contest surfing as he scored 15.16 out of a possible 20 to win his heat from Hawaii’s Jesse Merle-Jones and eliminate Japan’s Yujiro Tsuji. Wilson received a Virgin Mobile Wild Card into the event, and has not neglected the opportunity offered by the higher seeding as he’s charged his way through to the final 16 where he will take on Brazilian Wiggolly Dantas.

Australian Owen Wright continued his good run as he won his heat from French Polynesia’s Alain Riou, eliminating Jay Thompson in the process. Wright seemed a little out of sorts today, lying in third for most of the heat, before picking up a great ride in the dying seconds to push him into first and relegate previous runner-up Thompson into the losing third position.

Brazil’s Jadson Andre also found the powerful left-handers at Ansteys Beach to his liking as he secured a heat score of 15.00 to take the win and advance to the final 16 with Ireland’s Glenn Hall, while Australia’s Kirk Flintoff filled the third place slot and was knocked out. Aussie Daniel Ross and Brazil’s Wiggolly Dantas dispatched of Capetonian Royden Bryson, while Yadin Nicol (Australia) fell victim to rampant compatriot Matt Wilkinson and a classy looking Marco Polo (Brazil).

The last heat of the day saw the Durban duo of Antonio Bortoletto and Ricky Basnett take on 2009 World Tour member Drew Courtney (Australia), a formidable opponent in any conditions. As the tide moved in and the conditions became shiftier, the trio spread themselves over a 200 metre stretch of beach, each surfing a different peak. Bortoletto’s peak in the middle of the beach seemed flatter and weaker, while Courtney sat for the first 15 minutes without catching a wave. Basnett on the other hand found a little nugget of a right-hander in the far south, and picked off a couple decent waves before securing an 8.17 and pushing himself into a respectable lead.

Courtney made the most of the last ten minutes of the heat as his section of beach came to life, racking up a series of lefts that he worked for all they were worth and secured his second place position to advance with Basnett and eliminate Bortoletto.

Today saw the completion of the Round of 24, leaving just 16 surfers in contention for the 2009 Quiksilver Pro Durban title and US$20,000 first place cheque.

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. With only 16 surfers remaining in the event, this weekend will see the crowning of the 2009 Quiksilver Pro Durban champion and the surf action promises to be fierce. Tentatively the contest organisers plan to surf through the Round of 16 and possibly the quarter finals at Ansteys Beach tomorrow, with the semi-finals, Quiksilver Pro Junior final, and the main event final then being held at New Pier, Durban on Sunday. But with the unpredictability of the surf conditions, this schedule could change and it is recommended that anyone wishing to attend the event log on to www.quikprodurban.com to check the day’s schedule.

Similarly, if you can’t get down to the beach be sure to log on to the website where you can watch the live webcast featuring 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 videos, 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.