21 April 2008
An inspired performance by local man Davey Weare saw him surf to victory against the USA’s Austin Ware in excellent surf at Ansteys on the Bluff near Durban to capture the Quiksilver Pro Durban title.
Utilising their prime-status alternative venue, the contest organisers had little hesitation in choosing Ansteys for the final day of surfing. “Ansteys was always on the radar,” said contest director Matt Wilson, of the venue choice for the day.
“There’s not much happening at New Pier, or anywhere else on the coast, and we’re seeing some great waves here. The surfers are happy, so it was the right decision to make.” A day of great surfing, big moves and barrel rides ensued, with some explosive match-ups the order of the day.
Josh Kerr from Australia was in the first heat of the day against fellow Australian Shaun Cansdell, and won it convincingly with big turns and some trade-mark airs.
“This is a great wave and I’m stoked we moved here,” said Kerr of the new location. “These waves have plenty of push and there are opportunities for big scores, so it definitely was a good idea to move the event. I got lucky in that heat by catching the good ones, but a win’s a win, so I’ll take it.”
Weare, the last of the South Africans left in the contest, then surfed a red-hot heat against German surfer Marlon Lipke, with the Durban star sneaking into some tight barrels and off-the-top combinations to keep local hopes alive. One wave in particular looked like a perfect barrel, but Weare was clipped while exiting the tube.
Still, he had done enough to win the heat. “My first wave was a great one, with a little barrel and a nice hook,” he said. “I thought that I was going to make that second barrel, and if I had it would have taken some of the pressure off the heat, but it still worked out alright for me.”
The quarter-finals took to the water at low tide, and there were some hollow sections and a few little barrels coming through for the last eight surfers.
Emerging victorious from their encounters were Josh Kerr who defeated Austin Ware; Jihad Khodr, who defeated Heitor Alves; David Weare, who eliminated Dustin Barca; and Portuguese surfer Tiago Pires who took out Leigh Sedley from Australia.
“Well, the waves are fine here at Ansteys. We got a few good ones in that heat,” said Tiago afterwards. “I much prefer the waves at New Pier, but there’s nothing there today, so we’re lucky with these waves.”
In the first semi-final Ware eliminated Kodre from the event, after the Brazilian’s best wave scored a zero. Ware had priority at the time, and was up and riding on the inside when Jihad took off.
“I went for that wave as I needed an early start. I didn’t even see what Jihad was doing,” said Ware of the incident. “Still, I’m stoked to get so far. This is my first six-star final, so I am absolutely pumped!”
In the second semi-final, Weare turned up the heat against Pires and turned in an inspired performance in front of his home crowd. He linked his scoring waves all the way through to the shorebreak, with some good combinations of moves and impressive laybacks.
“I was so stoked to hear the crowds cheering me after every wave,” said Weare. “I’ve got my wife and my daughter and family here, my dad, and all my best friends. It’s unreal to hear their support.”
The Quiksilver Pro Junior hit the water just prior to the main final, and tightly contested final unfolded between Klee Strachan and Nick Godfrey.
Near the end of the heat, it was Godfrey in the lead, and with priority when he gave a wave to Strachan, who maximised the opportunity, pulled off a big turn on the outside, and weaved his way all the way through to the shorebreak for a massive hit, a big score and the Pro Junior title.
The tide had moved in for the final of the main event between Weare and Ware, but the waves were still pumping.
Weare’s first scoring wave consisted of a clean tube ride and a big close-out move, and matters only got better for the local ace as he delivered his best heat of competition in the final.
After his first good ride, he followed up with two more big scores that showed off his repertoire of futuristic airs and big turns, leaving Ware needing a nine-plus score to get into the lead.
The American was gracious in defeat, praising Weare on his performance as a beaming Weare emerged from the water as the Quiksilver Pro Durban 2008 Champion.
‘So incredibly happy’
“So incredibly happy right now,” said Weare just seconds before he was hoisted up on the shoulders of friends and carried up the beach.
“I had a good start, and during the event whenever I had a good start I seemed to do well. I’m a bit overwhelmed right now. I can’t remember all that went on in the heat. The support really did help, so thanks to all those people who were cheering me on from the beach.”
Weare pocketed $15 000 for his victory, as well as 3 000 World Qualifying Series points, which will go a long way towards helping him achieve his goal of qualifying the 2009 World Championship Tour.
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