Daniel Emslie and Louise Lepront win the Rip Curl Cup

A decrease in swell and a wind switch to offshore southwest made for some small but clean and highly contestable conditions for the final day of surfing in the Rip GromSearch and the Rip Curl Cup. Both events were presented by the Royal St Andrews Hotel and supported by Sea Harvest. The competitions were the anchor events of the Port Alfred Easter Festival presented by Sunshine Coast Tourism.

After a few elimination rounds were run off, the finals were whittled down to the four top surfers in each division.

The Rip Curl Cup Open Women’s was a close affair. Natasha Van Greunen came on strong towards the end, but Louise Lepront held the lead until the final siren, taking the R20k first prize cheque for her efforts. She also won the GromSearch title and was incredibly stoked to do the double.

“I am so happy to have won,” said the beaming SA Junior team member Lepront. “It is a great feeling to have won both. It was tricky out there, and Natasha was surfing well, so it feels great to win.”

In the Rip Curl Cup Open Men’s Division, Daniel Emslie, on the recovery trail after a recent leg injury, was the deserving winner with a very tight and dynamic backhand display on the left bowls of East Beach.

“The last year has been one of the most disappointing years of my life in terms of contest surfing, and the win couldn’t have come at a better time for me,” said Emslie. “I love Port Alfred so much and am an active member of the Kowie Boardriders, so this place is like a second home to me.”

The Premier U16 Girls Rip Curl GromSearch finals were another explosive affair. The outstanding Louise Lepront emerged victorious and proved her supremacy in women’s surfing in the country.

In the Boy’s division, Josh Malherbe put on the best performance of the heat, including some radical high-scoring moves on the right-handers. Kieren Murphy chased him the whole heat, but Malherbe held onto the lead and got the judges’ nod and the win.

The RoseHill SPAR Expression Session was fast and furious, with all surfers wanting to snag one of the R2,5k prizes up for grabs. In the end, Remi Fourie took the Best Move award for R2,500, and Surprise Maphumulo won the Best Air award for R2,500.

PHOTO: Rip Curl Cup 3rd place finisher Tide-Lee Ireland © Justin Bekker

Rip Curl GromSearch Port Alfred Results:

U12 Girls

Maya Malherbe
Brin Jarvis
Adriana Canning
Summer Harding

U12 Boys

Slayde Shooter
Lazaro De Bruyn
Levi Vosloo
Tyler Balfour

14 Girls

Leah Lepront
Camilla Heuer
Jasmine Venter
Maya Malherbe

U14 Boys

Carl Wiersma
Ben Easterhuyse
Owen Heny
Slayde Shooter

U18 Girls

Anastasia Venter
Louise Lepront
Sarah Scott
Gemma Hanafey

U18 Boys

Simon Winter
Matt Canning
Loghann Tilsley
Clayton Turrel

Girls Premier U16 Division

Louise Lepront
Remi Fourie
Leah Lepront
Taylor Emslie

Boys Premier U16 Division

Josh Malherbe
Kieren Murphy
Rory Dace
Rylan Jarvis

The Rip Curl Cup Women’s Division

Louise Lepront
Natasha Van Greunen
Remi Fourie
Sarah Scott

The Rip Curl Cup Men’s Division

Daniel Emslie
Thomas Lindhorst
Max Elkington
Tide-Lee Ireland

The Rosehill SPAR Expression

Remi Fourie took out the Best Move award and R2,5k, while Surprise Maphumulo won the Best Air award, and both pocketed R2,5k for their moves, sponsored by the Rosehill SPAR.

The Rip Curl Cup and the Rip Curl GromSearch were Surfing South African events. Special thanks to Kowie Boardriders and Mickey Witthuhn for all the much-appreciated assistance over the weekend.

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