Who’s Now/Who’s Next: Ten Surfers To Watch In 2011

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Dale Staples. Photo: Ewing

The Pitted Saffa: Dale Staples

With a clean style honed on the right-handers of Jeffrey’s Bay, South African Dale Staples’ surfing is nothing short of a genuine pleasure to dale-thumbwatch. The nineteen-year old natural-footer is fast, radical, and polished, and has a comfort in the tube far beyond his years.

“He is one of the best tube riders in the country, and probably in the world,” says close friend and Now/Next alumni Shaun Joubert.

One setback for South Africans wanting to make it on the world stage is getting comfortable in the heaving left-handers of Pipeline and Teahupoo, yet here too Dale seems on the right track, already having been invited to surf the Billabong Pro at Chopes. “I don’t really think his backhand is very weak,” says Joubert. “He is powerful and always goes 110 percent.”

Huge contest results, international movie spots, and the ability to pull off crazy airs has him following on from Jordy Smith and Joubert before him—Staples may well be South Africa’s next big thing. And some of the heftiest praise yet lofted onto Staples? During an interview with Slater after a heat at J Bay, he turned to watch Dale on a wave and said, “This kid rips!”—Craig Ritchie

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