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Big hometown win for Hoffman in Big Bay

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Peru’s Joaquin Del Castillo and home town girl Tanika Hoffman clinched the men’s and women’s titles respectively in the inaugural Cape Town Pro presented by Quiksilver at Big Bay, Bloubergstrand on Sunday.
The first World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series QS1,000 rated events held in Cape Town for six years for men and since 1992 for women, the Cape Town Pro presented competitors with the opportunity to earn priceless points on both the both the QS and WSL Africa regional rankings, along with prize- purses of R30 000 for men and R20 000 for women.
Del Castillo led the high scoring final against Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) from the outset, weaving his way through the tricky one-metre high tide waves and finishing his rides with flair on the sand. The 20-year-old from Punta Hermosa, just South of Lima, posted rides of 7.33 and an excellent 8.67 which Lightfoot could not match, despite earning a pair of sevens.
‘I’m so happy! I’ve come a long way from Peru on my own and I really focused on this competition. This win is for my family, for my country and for Punta Hermosa where I live,’ said an ecstatic Del Castillo, who was chaired from the edge of the water to the podium by a pair of local surfers in a heart-warming display of sportsmanship. ‘Thanks Cape Town, thanks South Africa, I’m really, really happy. Thank you.’
The victory earned Castillo R12 000 and 1 000 points that will see him jump nearly 100 positions up the QS rankings from his ranking of 167th coming into the event.
Lightfoot, ranked 96th before the Cape Town Pro, was satisfied with his runner-up finish and the 750 points that will see him rise nearly 40 places on the leaderboard, but was frustrated at coming so close to a first QS win.
‘I was just out of rhythm with the waves in the final. Joaquin got that eight which was a turning point in the heat and he was in much better rhythm,’ said Lightfoot. ‘I’m satisfied with second place in a QS event – its a major jump on the rankings for me. But when you’re so close to winning that you can almost taste it, it’s so frustrating coming second!’
Del Castillo defeated top seed Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) and Lightfoot outpointed Michael February (Kommetjie) in their respective semi-final match-ups. De Vries and February finished equal third overall with R3 000 and 560 points each.
Clifton’s Hoffman emerged triumphant in the see-saw women’s final in which she and Faye Zoetmulder (Port Elizabeth) both delivered scores in the excellent range, taking the lead with an 8.83 that left Zoetmulder needing an 8.60 for victory.
‘To be a winner in my home town is just great! I haven’t won an event in so long and to win a WSL event and earn some points here is really an honour and so exciting,’ said Hoffman. ‘It was very well surfed final. Faye got a couple of really good waves while I played the patience game. Then I found a great little runner that let me do a couple of turns and gave me an eight, and Faye didn’t find another good wave.’
Zoetmulder, who like Hoffman has competed extensively on the QS circuit overseas, was proud of the standard of women’s surfing at an event in home surf.
‘It was really good final with Tanika, we threw some good scores down. The waves were pretty tricky and it was challenging so to both be getting scores in the excellent range was really good,’ said Zoetmulder. ‘I used to surf the QS overseas and to have two events at home now and not have to travel is amazing. The girls are all competing, we are getting more entries and I’m stoked for the all the sponsors to be getting involved.’
Hoffman pocketed R8 000 and 1 000 points for her victory with Zoetmulder collecting R4 000 and 750 points. Nikita Robb (East London) and Tarryn Chudleigh (Kommetjie) finished equal third after losing to Hoffman and Zoetmulder in their respective semi-final encounters.
The final day of the event got underway in glassy one-metre waves, but a thick mist bank that rolled in after the semif-inals put the event on hold for more than three hours before it was completed in brilliant sunshine and windless conditions.
The awards were presented by Anroux Marais, the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, who is an aspiring surfer. The Cape Town Pro also included Surfing South Africa Pro Surf Tour (PST) events for U-18 boys and girls, along with an outreach programme for 70 budding surfers on Sunday.

Picture of Hoffman in action courtesy of WSL/Van Gysen


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