Daniel Emslie and Louise Lepront win the Rip Curl Cup, and Lepront wins the Rip Curl GromSearch title, along with Josh Malherbe

Louise Lepront, victorious at East Beach © Justin Bekker

East Beach, Port Alfred – 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. 

Daniel Emslie, on the come-back trail © Justin Bekker

“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.”

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

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.

Josh Malherbe, a stoked Rip Curl GromSearch winner © Justin Bekker

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.  

Rip Curl GromSearch Port Alfred Results:

U12 Girls

  1. Maya Malherbe
  2. Brin Jarvis
  3. Adriana Canning
  4. Summer Harding

U12 Boys

  1. Slayde Shooter 
  2. Lazaro De Bruyn
  3. Levi Vosloo
  4. Tyler Balfour

14 Girls

  1. Leah Lepront
  2. Camilla Heuer
  3. Jasmine Venter
  4. Maya Malherbe

U14 Boys

  1. Carl Wiersma
  2. Ben Easterhuyse
  3. Owen Heny
  4. Slayde Shooter

U18 Girls

  1. Anastasia Venter
  2. Louise Lepront
  3. Sarah Scott
  4. Gemma Hanafey

U18 Boys

  1. Simon Winter
  2. Matt Canning
  3. Loghann Tilsley
  4. Clayton Turrel

Girls Premier U16 Division 

  1. Louise Lepront
  2. Remi Fourie
  3. Leah Lepront
  4. Taylor Emslie

 Boys Premier U16 Division

  1. Josh Malherbe
  2. Kieren Murphy
  3. Rory Dace
  4. Rylan Jarvis

The Rip Curl Cup Women’s Division

  1. Louise Lepront
  2. Natasha Van Greunen
  3. Remi Fourie
  4. Sarah Scott

The Rip Curl Cup Men’s Division

  1. Daniel Emslie
  2. Thomas Lindhorst
  3. Max Elkington
  4. 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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