With a golden tan and easy smile the winner of the JBU Supertrials presented by RVCA, and the wildcard entry into the JBay Open, Slade Prestwich (20) held the support of all locals and fellow South Africans in his hands. He paddled out this morning into an intimidating three man line up. Round one of the JBay Open, the surfing event of the JBay Winterfest and the sixth leg of the WSL, saw him pitted against the yellow jerseyed Adriano de Souza from Brazil and also Kolohe Andino from the United States.
Slade who hails from Durban, has already had a taste of the big leagues, having competed in several World Qualifying Series (WQS) events for the past five years. Of course he grabbed his first ever opportunity to participate in the WSL Championship Tour with both hands. All eyes were on this young surfer, one of three South African contestants. His white jersey was followed with a hawk’s eye, willing him to bring glory to the national surfing community.
Before taking to the waves at Supertubes (in a fairly stiff onshore), an Easterly threatened to trip up the contestants, the young Durbanite had to battle the usual butterflies in the stomach. “The nerves were going through the roof, although I was super excited,” said Slade.
With a scoreboard of Andino at 14.03 and De Souza at 13.24, Slade had to be satisfied with 10.33. “They were not the best of waves. I just didn’t get what I was waiting for,” he said from the surfers’ lounge, directly after his performance. “However, I am satisfied that I did my best. I am happy with what the conditions allowed me.”
Slade has to take on his Nemesis from today again. He was drawn to surf against the Brazilian, De Souza, in the second round, possibly tomorrow if the contestable.