The South African and international surfing community is frothing at the prospect of the Qualifying Series (QS) rated 2018 City Surf Series (CSS), a spectacular festival of surfing launched in Nelson Mandela Bay on Wednesday, February 28.
The second edition of South Africa’s premier surfing series sees six events, culminating in the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing presented by Hurley, taking place in different cities along our pristine coastline from April to June, cashing in on ideal conditions typical to this time of year.
SSA president, Johnny Bakker said it was great to be in partnership with VW and the WSL in growing the series to where it is today and beyond.
VW general manager of communications, Matt Gennrich said getting involved with surfing was a no-brainer as the VW brand has been associated with surfing for years with surfers and their camper vans going on surfing safaris in the old days.
Each of the 5 CSS events will feature QS rated men’s, women’s junior men and junior women’s competitions, Surfing South Africa (SSA) longboard men and women and SUP men and women’s categories.
A major change from last year’s series is the upgrading of the VW SA Open of Surfing women’s event to a QS3000, making it the biggest women’s QS in Africa and hoping to attract some of the world’s best ahead of the debut of the women’s CT event in JBay a week later. The Nelson Mandela Bay Pro men’s event has also been upgraded to a QS1500 to start the CSS on a high.
“We are working on expanding the series into other areas in Africa. The series enables South African surfers to compete on a regular basis and compete locally in QS event without spending a lot of money to go overseas,” said WSL Africa head of operations, Colin Fitch.
In an exciting edition is the launch of a new event, the Port Alfred Classic, which will be the inaugural event in an exciting new series. Bringing old school back, the Port Alfred Classic will feature men’s and women’s QS Longboard events with the two disciplines also added to the Volkswagen SA of Surfing presented by Hurley.
“It is insane to have this competition up and running in South Africa and if Michael February makes it onto the CT Tour that would be the biggest gift that could have been given to us in South Africa,” said world number two longboader, Steven Sawyer.
The VW Open of Surfing has furthermore relocated from Durban to Nelson Mandela Bay, bringing a welcome economic injection to the metro and exposure to local surfers in an area with a variety of surf spots.
“The VW South African Open of Surfing being hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay in June is an economical boost for during a quiet time for the city. It is expected to bring in an estimated 4000 to 6000 visitors and an R18 million cash injection for the city,” said Cllr Andrew Whitfield.
All events will be giving back to the community and environment by incorporating CSI Learn to Surf Initiatives as well as Community Clean-the-Beach programmes, sponsored by Tuffy Plastics.
In the 2017 edition of the CSS, 300 previously disadvantaged kids across the 5 events were taught to surf.
“Our CSI learn to surf programme for the City Surf Series is fundamental to the success of our series. We understand the need to not only provide competitions for those needing the development, but also to expose previously disadvantaged kids to surfing and the positive impact it can have. We hope in years to come that kids who have come through these programmes are competing in our events and on the world stage”, said Accelerate Sport CEO, Edward Gregory
The CSS festival of surfing aims to expose and further elevate the sport of surfing, recently included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, develop local talent, attract foreign athletes to our shores and create a festive place for all to immerse themselves in the stoke and vibe of the surfing lifestyle.
The 2017 CSS exposed South African surfers to top level competition against other local and international surfers, earning them valuable QS points and putting them in a strong position ahead of this year.
The biggest success story of the 2017 series was undoubtedly Michael February who won three of the series events before going on to earn third at both the Ballito Pro and US Open of Surfing.
With these successes under his belt, February ended the 2017 season one spot outside of qualifying for the Championship Tour (CT) and earned the first reserve position. The men’s CT is surfing’s elite competition where only the top 34 surfers in the world compete for world champion status.
“The City Surf Series was just a massive thing for me last year, especially in the beginning of the year when there are not a lot of events. This series helped me earn points leading up to the Ballito Pro and get some good practice in for later in the year,” said Michael February.
Surfing in all its forms is growing across the spectrum locally and abroad with upper LSM markets and professional people now seeing it as a new lifestyle of choice as well as a healthy, fun sport
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2018 City Surf Series Event Schedule:
VW Nelson Mandela Bay Surf pres. by Billabong – 30 Mar – 2 April
Royal St Andrews Port Alfred Classic pres. by Quiksilver (Inaugural event) – 6-8 April
Mitchum Buffalo City Surf Pro pres. by Reef Wetsuits- 13-15 April
ZigZag Durban Surf Pro pres. By G-Force – 18-20 May
Jordy Smith CT Surf Pro pres. By O’Neil – 14-17 June
VW SA Open of Surfing pres. By Hurley – 19-24 June