Bluff, Durban – An inspired performance from Durban’s Davey Weare saw him surf to victory against USA’s Austin Ware in excellent surf at Ansteys on the Bluff near Durban. Utilising their Prime-status alternative venue, the contest organisers had little hesitation in choosing Ansteys for the final day of surfing at the Quiksilver Pro Durban.
“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 stoked we moved here,” said Kerr of the new location. “These waves have plenty of push and there’s 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.”
The last local surfer Davey Weare surfed a red-hot heat against German surfer Marlon Lipke, with the Durban surfer sneaking into some tight barrels and off-the top combinations to keep the local hopes alive. One wave in particular looked like a perfect barrel but Davey 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,” said Davey. “I though 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 Austin Ware who defeated by Josh Kerr, 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 Austin Ware from America eliminated Brazilian Jihad Kodre from the event, after Jihad’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, stoked to get so far. This is my first six star final, so I am absolutely pumped!”
Davey Weare turned the heat on against Tiago Pires in the second semi-final and surfed an inspired heat in front of his home crowd. Davey 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 Davey, commenting on the vocal local crowd. 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.” Davey was looking relaxed and surfing smoothly in the clean conditions at Ansteys.
The Quiksilver Pro Junior hit the water just prior to the main final, and was a tightly contested final between Klee Strachan from Warner Beach and Nick Godfrey from St Francis. Near the end of the heat it was Godfrey in the lead and with priority when he gave a wave to Strachan. Klee 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 Warre, but the waves were still pumping. Davey’s first scoring wave consisted of a clean tube ride and a big close-out move, and he just improved from then onwards. Without wishing to detracts from Austin’s performance, Davey Weare peaked during the final and was clearly going to win it. He followed up with two more big scores that showed off his repertoire of futuristic airs and big turns, and Austin was left needing a 9-plus score to get into the lead. Austin was gracious in his defeat, praising Weare on his performance, and it was a very stoked Davey who emerged from the water the Quiksilver Pro Durban 2008 Champion.
“So incredibly happy right now,” said Davey on the beach just seconds before he was hoisted up on his friends shoulders 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 wins US$15,000 and 3000 points for his efforts, and solidifies his hunt for a spot on the coveted World Tour in 2009.