All three South African longboard surfers who jetted halfway around the world to compete in the inaugural Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships have suffered early exits, as the top seeds were upset by their peers in the outstanding surf.
The first of two events that will determine the 2017 WSL longboard champion, this event is also the first WSL event to be staged in Papua New Guinea in the South-West Pacific.
Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay), the No 2 seed following his runner-up finish in the 2016 WSL World Longboard Championships on Hainan Island, China in December, placed second in his Round 1 heat, before receiving a walk-thru to Round 3 when his opponent did not show up.
In Round 3 Sawyer dispatched Brazil’s Bage Brayner with a heat tally of 13.07, which included an excellent ride that earned 8.0 out of 10, but could not maintain his momentum in his three-man Round 4 encounter, where he placed third and was eliminated from the event in equal ninth place overall.
Matthew Moir (Cape Town) followed a similar path, taking the runner-up position in his opening encounter and then walking though to Round 3. The former two-time ISA world longboard champ faced Adam Griffiths of Great Britain for a second time and again finished second, ending his campaign in equal 13th spot.
Twenty-seven-year-old Alfonso Peters (Muizenberg), the third member of the WSL Africa contingent, also finished runner-up in his first ever heat outside South Africa. Formerly a homeless child in Manenberg, Cape Town, and mentored by the Surf Shack outreach programme, he defeated Moir in the Tigers Milk Surf Classic at his home break last year, but was outpointed by the experienced Kevin Skvarna (USA) in Round 2, placing 25th overall.
Both the men’s and women’s events are down to the last eight competitors. The event has three days of waiting period remaining for the organisers to find the best possible conditions at the long righthand reef break in order to crown the respective champions.
Picture of Peters in action this week courtesy of WSL/Hain
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