Joaquin Del Castillo (PER) clinched the title in the inaugural Cape Town Pro presented by Quiksilver at Big Bay, Bloubergstrand Sunday.
The first World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series QS1,000 rated event held in Cape Town since 2010, 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 a prize-purse of R30 000 (About US $2 000).
Del Castillo led the high scoring Final against Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) from the outset, weaving his way through the tricky one meter 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 in his limited English. "Thanks Cape Town, thanks South Africa, I'm really, really happy. Thank you."
The victory earned Castillo R12000 and 1,000 points that will see him jump nearly 100 positions up the QS rankings from his ranking of 160th coming into the event. In a heart-warming display of sportsmanship, he was carried from the edge of the water to the podium by a pair of local surfers..
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 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 (ZAF) and Lightfoot out-scored Michael February (ZAF) in their respective Semifinal matchups. De Vries and February finished equal third overall with R3 000 and 560 points each.
The final day of the event got underway in glassy one metre waves, but a thick mist bank that rolled in after the semifinals 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.
Get results from the Cape Town Pro here.