OnTheWater

Surfing-Australia’s Ewing, Brazil’s Weston-Webb win in South Africa


(Reuters) – Australian surfer Ethan Ewing won his first World Championship Tour event on Friday, taking out countryman Jack Robinson in the final of South Africa’s Corona Open J-Bay in pumping waves at the famed right-hand point break.

Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb, who finished runner up in the world last year, powered her way to a win over Australia’s two-time world champion Tyler Wright in the women’s final with a gutsy performance on her backhand.

After some lacklustre conditions at earlier stops, Jeffreys Bay delivered some of the best surf of this year’s tour, with big, powerful walls reeling for hundreds of metres (yards) down the rocky point.

While Friday’s final day conditions did not quite match the perfection of Thursday, Ewing identified the best waves and surfed with smooth and stylish precision to win his maiden WCT title.

“It’s been such good year. I feel like my first year on tour I got so smoked and last year was kind of a warmup, but this year I’m really showing my surfing and feeling comfortable,” Ewing said. “This is one of the dream events to win.”

The usually cool and unflappable Ewing gestured and screamed towards the judges after his best wave of a final, a series of searing, high-speed carves that scored a 9.13 out of 10.

Robinson surfed with flair and unpredictability throughout the event, overcoming adversity earlier in the day when he broke his board in his semi-final against Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi.

Robinson was forced to run in over the sharp reef to get a fresh board before paddling back out and getting his top score to win the heat.

Weston-Webb consistently racked up the top scores in the women’s event, stringing together multiple critical turns that sent her free-falling out of the top of the waves that towered above her. Her final heat total of 17.5 out of 20 was the highest of the event.

“I just want to thank God for everything, he kept me safe during that event. I probably got a million waves on the head, that was really scary, and nearly died on the rocks a million times, but all worth it in the end!” said Weston-Webb, who jumped to third in the world rankings.

“I just wanted to surf good and go and have fun and gosh what beautiful waves we had for this event. I’m so grateful just to be a professional surfer.”

The tour next heads to Tahiti and the intimidating tubes of Teahupo’o for the last chance for surfers to claim one of five men’s and women’s spots for the one-day Finals event at Lower Trestles in Southern California in September.

(Reporting by Lincoln Feast in Sydney; Editing by Toby Davis)

Read more from this Story