Big-time surfing will hit Port ELizabeth over the next few weeks, with junior and professional events set to take centrestage. After a few minor hits of interest in the surfing world, including the Billabong Grom Games and Josh Enslin’s successful Guinness World Record attempts, big surfing events have always seemed to bypass Port Elizabeth.
They have more often than not preferred the drama of Jeffreys Bay or the sublime perfection of Seal Point, Cape St Francis.
This is all set to change with two major surf events set for Port Elizabeth over the next fortnight or so.
The first is the Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard No 1 – the first in a four-part series that will take place across the country.
The Billabong Junior Series is the longestrunning junior surf series in the world, and has developed champion surfers like No 2 professional surfer Jordy Smith, as well as the highly successful Bianca Buitendag from George.
This much-anticipated event will see the best junior surfers from across the country compete for top honours as well as two return air tickets to Bali from All Aboard for the best U18 girls and boys.
It will take place at Pollok Beach tomorrow and Sunday.
Following that will be the first in a new surfing series of surf contests called the City Surf Series, to be known as The Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro, presented by Billabong and Volkswagen.
Set to take place from April 7 to 9 in Port Elizabeth, this event kicks off what promises to be a groundbreaking professional series set to put South African surfers back on the international map.
It consists of a World Surf League (WSL) World Qualifying Series 1 000, with 1 000 points up for grabs for first place, as well as a Junior Qualifying Series 1 000.
“The competitive surfing circuit is looking extremely positive for the year across all divisions,” Billabong South Africa marketing manager Chad D’Arcy said.
“In the previous years, much attention has been focused on the junior surfers, and rightfully so, but with the advent of the Surf City Series this year, all surfers will get a chance to compete and win prizes and points on an international standard.”
This weekend will see light and variable conditions prevail for most of the contest period, and surfers in the Billabong Junior Series will see small but highly contestable conditions for their event.
During the back half of the year, the Eastern Cape will enjoy more surfing events, with the Billabong SA Junior Champs to be held in J-Bay in October and the Billabong Junior Series Finals at Seal Point, also in October.
For more information on these events, go to the Surfing South Africa website, www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za