Adriano De Souza Wins 2012 Billabong Pro J-Bay

Adriano De Souza wins the 2012 Billabong Pro J-Bay Photo: Alan Van Gysen

Words by Gero Lilleike
Photos by Alan Van Gysen

Word on the street has it that the 2012 Billabong Pro J-Bay was one of the best, if not the best event held in Jeffreys Bay to date. Last year saw a lack in swell and the surfers had a tough time competing in the small conditions. This year, J-Bay lit up and provided world class surf almost right through to the end of the event and for those who were there, excluding myself, must have been treated to some phenomenal surfing and I’m pretty sure people will remember this one for years to come.

Adriano De Souza digs in deep to win the 2012 Billabong Pro J-Bay Photo: Alan Van Gysen

Two-time J-Bay winner Jordy Smith, despite his best efforts, fell to the sword of Frenchman Joan Duru in the round of 16 who went on to face Brazilian Adriano De Souza in the final. But it was local boy Dale Staples who carried the hopes of South African spectators with an epic battle against Hawaiian John John Florence in the round of 16. Staples laid down the law to advance to the quarter finals, leaving Florence with his tale between his legs. Dale Staples then came up against Aritz Aranburu in the quarters and unfortunately struggled to catch the right waves, giving Aranburu an easy win.

Adriano De Souza and Joan Duru both came out on top in the semi’s and set the stage for the final showdown.  The two battled it out in the onshore conditions and at the end of the day,  Adriano De Souza was crowned the Billabong Pro J-Bay winner for 2012 with a 16 – 13.60 defeat over Duru. De Souza had this to say of his win, “I’ve come to South Africa and to Jeffreys Bay for so many years, and have always seen the guys win the Billabong Pro, and now it’s my turn, I’m just so happy, and I’m going to remember this win for my whole life. J-Bay is a special place for me and hopefully see you again next year.”

Dale Staples shows John John Florence who’s boss at the 2012 Billabong Pro J-Bay Photo: Alan Van Gysen



2012 Billabong SA Champs

Billabong SA Champs 2012 – Photo: Gero Lilleike

Words and Photo’s by Gero Lilleike

I had the pleasure of watching a few heats on Day 3 of the Billabong SA Champs which took place at Long Beach, Kommetjie, Cape Town. Apart from the mostly gloomy weather, it was a great experience and it’s always inspiring to watch our local talent doing what they do best, shred and rip and shred some more.

In my opinion, the waves weren’t the greatest and the surfers had a tough time picking the right waves to get the scores. Even though conditions weren’t ideal, the competitors still managed to put on a good show for the supporters and judges on the beach with some powerful maneuvers and aerial assaults. All the surfers seemed to be surfing well considering the conditions and standout surfing  performances included Nikita Robb, Klee Strachan, Dan Redman, Beyrick De Vries, Chad Du Toit, Greg Emslie and Mikey February.

Billabong SA Champs 2012 – Photo: Gero Lilleike

On the fourth and final day the competition moved location to nearby Misty Cliffs which apparently offered nice, clean 3-4 ft surf for the competitors to tear apart. It was all business in the Misty Cliffs boardroom and the day was packed with big hacks, aerials and the odd barrel, or two. Here are the final results for the 2012 Billabong SA Champs:

U20 Girls

1. Heidi Palmboom (KZNC) / SA Champ

2. Tanika Hoffman (WP)

3. Emma Smith (EP)

4. Nikita Kekana (SKZN)

U20 Boys

1. Mikey February (WP) / SA Champ

2. Dylan Lightfoot (EP)

3. Jarred Veldhuis (EP)

4. Steven Sawyer (EP)

Open Girls

1. Nikita Robb (Bor) / SA Champ

2. Chantelle Rautenbach (Bol)

3. Tarryn Chudleigh (WP)

4. Krystal Tavenor (Bol)

Open Mens

1. Casey Grant (SKZN) / SA Champ

2. Dan Redman (KZNC)

3. Beyrick De Vries (KZNC)

4. Greg Emslie (Bor)

VonZipper Air Show
– Diran Zakarian (Bol)

Kustom Kustomized Maneuver – Jared Veldhuis (WP)

DaKine Highest Heat Score Award – Dan Redman (KZNC)

ZigZag Blowing Up Award – Max Armstrong (WP)

BuchuLife Performance Award – Nikita Kekana (SKZN)

Final Team Placings:

1. WP – 43950
2. KZNC – 38782
3. EP – 37418
4. BOR – 36840
5. BOL – 35528
6. SKZN – 33990
7. SC – 24660
8. Zul – 19736
9. GSA – 10

Check out the highlight photo’s of the day at or Video highlights can be found at

Billabong SA Champs 2012 – Photo: Gero Lilleike

2012 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards

The winners of the 2012 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards, sponsored by Monster Energy, were announced yesterday in Anaheim, California. The categories for the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards include the Monster Tube Award, Monster Paddle In Award, XXL Biggest Wave Award, Verizon Wipeout of the Year Award, Surfline Mens Performance Award, Billabong Girls Performance Award and the ultimate Ride of the Year Award.

Garret McNamara, Nathan Fletcher, Dave Wassel and Maya Gabeira have dominated the Billabong XXL Global Big Waves Awards. The winner in each category are as follows.

XXL Biggest Wave Award

Garret McNamara – Praia do Norte, Portugal

2012 Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award – Garret McNamara – Praia do Norte, Portugal. Photo: Wilson Riberio

Ride of the Year Award

Nathan Fletcher – Teahupoo, Tahiti


Monster Tube Award

Nathan Fletcher – Teahupoo, Tahiti

Nathan Fletcher, Billabong XXL Biggest Tube Award-Teahupoo, Tahiti. Photo: Brian Bielmann



Monster Paddle In Award

Dave Wassel – Jaws / Peahi, Maui

Dave Wassel, Billabong XXL Paddle In Award, Jaws, Peahi, Maui Photo: Frank Berthuot


Verizon Wipeout of the Year Award

Garret McNamara – Jaws, Peahi, Maui

Surfline Mens Performance Award

Nathan Fletcher – San Clemente, CA

Billabong Girls Performance Award

Maya Gabeira – Teahupoo, Tahiti

Surfing in Muizenberg

Words and Photographs by Gero Lilleike (unless otherwise stated)

I awake to the gentle sound of the sea and as I rise from my slumber, I look out my window and smile. Not too far away, 3ft waves roll toward the beach, beckoning me to go play. The sun is out, the sky is blue and it’s time to go surf. I arrive at ‘Surfers Corner’ in Muizenberg and find myself in chaos as throngs of people bustle on the beach and in the sea, soaking up this beautiful day like seals in the sun.

Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

I suit up and make my way to the waters edge. Everywhere I look I see people, most with some sort of surf craft at hand. Muizenberg is one of many crowded surf spots in Cape Town and I would even go so far as to say that it’s quite possibly the most crowded surf spot in South Africa. The wave at Muizenberg is generally quite small and breaks gently, making it a particularly popular beach for people wanting to learn how to surf. Paddling out at Muizenberg is like driving into oncoming traffic, you constantly have to dodge and dive to avoid collisions with other surfers. Getting a wave to yourself is a rare occasion and everyone paddles for the same wave making it a free-for-all wave frenzy. Surfing etiquette? What’s that? I wasn’t out for long and before I could even react a surfer rode over me leaving me to bleed in the sea.

The view at Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa

Apart from the perils of surfing at Muizenberg, it can be a fun place to surf, especially when there’s a record to break. In 2009, the Earthwave Beach Festival saw 443 surfers take to the water, attempting to set the Guinness World Record for the most surfers to ride a single wave. The attempt was successful, with 110 surfers riding the same wave, beating the old record of 100 set in Santos, Brazil in 2008. To this day, Muizenberg holds that record proudly.

Another interesting fact is that Muizenberg is considered to be the birth place of surfing in South Africa. The earliest recorded surfing event in South Africa apparently took place in Muizenberg in 1919 when Heather Price, a Capetonian woman, befriended two American marines who disembarked in Cape Town on their way home after World War One. The two kind gentlemen happened to have solid wood, Hawaiian style surfboards and proceeded to introduce Heather to stand-up wave riding. The photograph of Heather Price surfing in Muizenberg speaks for itself.

If you ever have the pleasure of visiting Cape Town and have the nerve to learn how to surf, visit Muizenberg, rent a board or a surf instructor and go for a paddle, you might be pleasantly surprised at how fun surfing really is. Good luck and enjoy.

Steve Erwin (Surf Shack), The Best Surf Instructor in Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa

The Soft Side of Teahupoo

Words by: Gero Lilleike

Photographs:  Tim McKenna

You don’t need to be a photographer or even have any knowledge of the art to appreciate the power of an image, all that is needed are open eyes and an open mind. Whilst perusing one of my favorite website’s, , I happened to come across some amazing images that I found quite fascinating, mainly due to the fact that I’ve never really seen or heard of the ’tilt-shift technique’ in photography before.

That said, the results the technique yielded in these particular shots are something to marvel at. What I love about these shots is the level of  deception the photographer, Tim McKenna, has achieved.  This achievment is largely attributed to the fact that the deception lies in the contradiction.   The photographs were taken at  Teahupoo in Tahiti, one of the world’s heaviest and death-defying waves, however, the photographs depict a miniature scene which can be perceived to be completely harmless and even playful at times but for the surfers who ride these waves, the reality is far more terrifying. Amazing photographs.


If you are interested in surfing, surf culture, surf art and surf photography then is a cool site to visit. If you want to view the original article, click here.

Push the Tempo

The sea is calm with no waves in sight. It’s been like this for days. There’s nothing left for me to do but engage in some mind surfing, even then I find no resolve. The sea gently laps the shore. On flat days like this my thoughts are blown out of proportion as I imagine gigantic swell heaving towards the shore, visciously wild and unridden. While I revel in the vestiges of my mind, somewhere across the vast expanse of the ocean, a beast is born.

The thought of big wave surfing scares the living shit out of me, but thats me and I have utmost respect for those who seek and conquer the world’s biggest waves. So when I came across this story, thanks to my friend Kelly Slater,  my mind was once again in turmoil trying to comprehend the thrill of big wave surfing. I think this story is an amazing example of the guts and determination of the human spirit to succeed against all odds.

Taming the Beast

It’s difficult to imagine what it must feel like to surf at Teahupoo, Tahiti, arguably the world’s heaviest wave. Most of us would rather think of doing something else but for those brave enough, Teahupoo can either offer the ride of your life or end your life at the crack of its whip. The choice is yours, be good or be dead.

The Billabong Pro Tahiti has experienced some of the heaviest and gnarliest swell in the contest’s history. The raw determination and guts of the surfers who ride these waves is commendable to say the least and goes to show that people are capable of alot more than we care to realise. Enough said, words cannot grasp the intensity of Teahupoo in its entirety but watch this video and decide for yourself or visit for more. If this doesn’t satisfy you, nothing will.

Jordy Smith clenches Billabong Pro in J-Bay

Photo’s and words by Gero Lilleike

Let’s forget about wasting drumrolls for Kelly Slater, it’s just not worth it. It’s a good thing King Kelly never showed up at the 2011 Billabong Pro in Jeffreys Bay because Jordy Smith was destined to remain champion and would have put Kelly Slater over his knee for a good old hiding.

In the final day of the contest, Jordy Smith came up against Mick Fanning in the final in less than ideal conditions in what was a closely contested heat, with Jordy taking the win. The previous day saw J-Bay lighting up with some solid swell and a full day of magnificent surfing from all the competitors. Standout performances included Jordy Smith eliminating Bede Durbidge with some insane manoeuvres. Julian Wilson also ripped into an incredible 10 point tube ride that was quite possibly the wave of the contest.

The atmoshere and vibe on the beach was equally entertaining and watching the pros at work was really amazing. Congratulations to Jordy Smith on his second win at J-Bay and to the rest of us South Africans, we can be proud.

Billabong Pro J-Bay Kick Off

Words by Gero Lilleike

Photo: ASP World Tour

Somewhere in the world, a champion is tearing into some epi-stellar waves, not to mention Kelly Slater in Fiji, but here in South Africa, our very own champion, Jordy Smith, has started his assault at the 2011 Billabong Pro in Jeffreys Bay, offloading a well deserved 16.87 points in the first heat of the contest. 

King Jordy

It seems that the Supertubes machine hasn’t quite turned on yet but the 3-4 foot surf gave Jordy Smith plenty to work with. Click here to watch Jordy showing Kelly who the real king is. Now all we need is for King Kelly to get to J-Bay and hand over his crown. Drumroll… 

Live News from Leatherfoot to follow later in the week, for now, keep up to date with the latest action at . Aloha.

Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards 2011

There’s a saying that goes “the early bird catches the worm”. Well, unfortunately, I wasn’t the early bird to catch this worm. However, even though I only picked up on this story a month too late it still holds massive relevance to all those big wave surfers, who to this day,  carry their massive testicles around in trollies.

I will always be amazed at how these surfers find the courage to ride waves of such epic proportions. This act, of riding monstrous waves, can only be understood by those super-athletes, the brave men and women who ride them. For the rest of us,  sitting in our offices watching these videos while the boss isn’t looking, can only use our imaginations and dream of riding gigantic waves. For us, it’s completely incomprehensible  and unfathomable. Nonetheless, I have attached a video that illustrates the epic nature of big wave surfing. Surfing is indeed the most exciting sport in the world.