Chris Bertish at Dungeons 

South African Chris Bertish, renowned for conquering many of the world’s most challenging big waves, has been invited to compete in three prestigious international big-wave surfing events including the inaugural edition of the of the Stand Up World Tour which will crown the first Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) World Champion later this year.

Invitations to the Mavericks Surf Contest in California, the Nelscott Reef Paddle-in Classic in Oregon and the Stand Up World Tour event at Makaha in Hawaii are recognition for the 35-year-old Capetonian’s pioneering exploits in huge surf around the globe over the past decade.

“I’m truly honoured to be invited to these events where only athletes who have proven themselves in the world’s heaviest waves make the cut,” Bertish said. “I love surfing big waves, it's my passion, and to be representing South Africa amongst the elite 24 invitee’s from around the globe at Mavericks, the 12 at Nelscott Reef and to be seeded into the top 16 in the world for the first ever SUP World Champs is a huge honour and privilege.”

Bertish’s string of ground-breaking feats include becoming the first surfer to paddle into and ride waves at the primarily tow-in venues of Jaws (Maui, Hawaii), Ghost Trees (California) and the Cribber (Cornwall, England) while at home he introduced Stand Up Paddleboarding at the daunting Dungeons break near Hout Bay and Whale Rock in Table Bay along with being the first to tow-in at Seal Island in False Bay, statistically the most densely populated Great White shark venue in the world.

His accomplishments are not limited to daredevil stunts in mountainous seas as in 2001 he was the first, and to date only, South African surfer to win the Monster Paddle division of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, the Oscars of big wave surfing. And he has reached the final of the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event at Dungeons, finishing third in 2006, amongst other notable local and international results and award nominations.

A former Sales & Promotions Manager for Billabong SA, Brand manager for Gul Wetsuits in the UK and for multi-national apparel and wetsuit giant O’Neill in SA, Bertish boasts an impressive marketing CV. In 2007 he introduced the O’Neill Raw Courage Awards which focus on paddling into and riding the biggest waves within the borders of South Africa and recognise and credit the achievements of the country’s rapidly growing brigade of big wave chargers.

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Gonzalo Zubizarreta 

An action-packed day of competition took the ASP WQS 5-Star Movistar Pantin Classic into serious business today as no less than thirty-two heats were held in consistent three to four foot (1 to 1.2 meter) waves, thirty-two men only making the cut through Rounds 3 and 4. A majority of event top seeds escaped from a shocker loss and the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) ratings’ top competitors could start grabbing valuable points and secure themselves a ticket for Day 3 of competition where things will heat-up fast.

As light on-shore winds and grey skies settled over Pantin’s renowned beach, heat tactics and wave choice were crucial again throughout the day giving a clear advantage to those sitting on the consistent right-handers offering more scoring potential. Advancing through two heats today thanks to a series of solid and committed turns to reach the excellent result range in Round 2 was Australian competitor Shaun Gossmann Gold Coast, AUS), 26, who was at ease despite the changing surf conditions today.

“I really enjoy Pantin, I’ve had good results here over the years and I enjoy the little corner to the right of the beach which reminds me of the Wall at Duranbah,” Gossmann said. “I felt in rhythm today despite the few slow moments but I got a bit of momentum and just carried through with it.”

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Chad Compton 

The kick-off of the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 5-Star Movistar Pantin Classic put the ASP Caravan back to work with all surfers and staff getting on with the European leg meant to wrap-up next weekend. After a thick fog forced organizers to wait until midday to send the first heat out, things went on smoothly in clean three-foot waves giving Round 1 competitors their chance to advance and join event top seeds into Round 2 where seventy-two men are directly seeded.

With the inconsistency of the waves making things hard for all competitors, today’s winners looked for precise wave selection and heat tactics to clinch their ticket for Round 2 and the expected better conditions supposed to start breaking from tomorrow morning at Pantin. With a series of close heats and average scores, a couple of surfers only managed to step-up and find some scores in the excellent range, both surfing in Heat 2 of today’s first round and advancing through to Round 2.

Matt Pagan (California, USA), came up with the day’s best heat result of 16.60 points (out of a possible 20) showing the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) judging panel he could go vertical and let his fins go off-the-top to claim a 9.17 point ride, the best of Day 1. Pagan, who has been competing for his first season in Europe this summer, dominated his bout to grab a ticket for Round 2 where he will meet with Hawaiian wunderkind John John Florence (Oahu, HAW), Romain Laulhe (Anglet, FRA) and Marco Polo (BRA).

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