Cape Town - Australia's Jackson Baker was crowned the 2018 SA Open of Surfing champion at Pollock Beach, Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday.
According to the Team SA website, Baker's opponent, Adin Masencamp of Strand took the early lead with a 5.67 wave but was left trailing in Baker's wake when the Australian ripped through a right-hand bomb to bank an excellent 8.00.
"Adin got the first wave, he got a five and then this one big wave came and I just knew I had to stay on my feet but I got to the end section, dropped an eight I knew I was in the driver's seat," Baker told Team SA.
Baker then quickly backed his eight up with a score of 3.83 that remained stuck in his top two until three minutes before the end when he found a 5.33 to extend his lead over the South African.
Masencamp fought hard but was unable to close the gap. With 90 seconds on the clock, Masencamp needed 7.67 for a win but Neptune was not playing ball and the Capetonian had to concede defeat.
This was Masencamp's fourth final in the six-event City Surf Series, an achievement that earned him a coveted wildcard entry into the biggest QS-rated event in Africa, taking place in Durban next week.
With the offshore wind picking up at midday and the tide draining, the waves were hollow and quick to close out, making it very difficult for the surfers to fit in more than two manoeuvres per wave but Baker managed to find the diamonds in the rough and deliver the goods.
"I'm stoked. The waves have been challenging during the whole event period but to come out of here with a big result leading into the next event, I'm frothing," said Baker.
The men's LQS1000 longboarding final was a hugely entertaining see-saw affair with the lead changing hands multiple times.
South Africans Matthew Moir, Sam Christianson and Alfonzo Pieters all took turns at the helm but in the end, it was Moir from Cape Town with an on-the-buzzer 7.00 point ride that clinched the title with Christianson in second and Pieters in third.
"It was really hard conditions. Before the final heat started, I was not sure how I was going to catch a wave but I saw a little run that was coming through so you just had to be in the right spot and try and do as many things as you could," said Moir.
A two-time former world champion, Moir is stoked to have longboarding contests as part of the City Surf Series as there haven't been longboarding events on home shores for years.
"It's so cool to have longboarding as part of these events now. I have been doing this since I was 14 and we never had contests. I have been trying to get riders amped for longboarding and get them overseas and having these contests as part of the City Surf Series is a good stepping stone," he said.
Two South Africans, Nicole Pallet (Durban) and Tanika Hoffman (Cape Town) are through to the women's QS3000 round of 16 that gets under way on Sunday morning.
The finals of this historic event takes place at around midday and with top riders like Championship Tour contender Silvana Lima (Brazil), Dominic Barona (Equador), top seed Philippa Anderson (Australia), Pauline Ado (France) and former world champion Sofia Mulanivich for Peru still in the mix, the competition is still wide open.