Humble Muizenberg surfer hits the BIG time
Paul Sampson of South Africa surfs at Longbeach Cape Town South Africa. Image via @IGpaulchowsampson

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Modest Muizenberg surfer hits the BIG time

By tying 1st on the African Qualifying series, humble Muizenberg surfer Paul Sampson is on the WSL Challenger Series. Here’s what comes next.

29-03-24 15:02
Humble Muizenberg surfer hits the BIG time
Paul Sampson of South Africa surfs at Longbeach Cape Town South Africa. Image via @IGpaulchowsampson

We are over the moon to report that humble Muizenberg surfer Paul ‘Chow’ Sampson has taken a massive step towards his dream of becoming a pro competitor on the world stage. Following his brilliant victory in the Cape Town Surf Pro earlier this month, the next leg of World Surf League African Qualifying series, the SA Open of Surfing, took place in the Eastern Cape.

Sampson didn’t win the tournament outright (in tricky conditions at Pollok Beach), but he did enough to tie for first spot on the men’s African Qualifying rankings, with 1 350 points. He thereby booked himself a spot on the WSL Challenger Series (CS) – along with three other South African surfers. The other qualifiers are Luke Slijpen (tie 1st), Tide-Lee Ireland and Luke Thompson (tied 3rd). Aidin Masencamp, an impressive wildcard at last year’s J-Bay Open, was unlucky to miss the cut by the smallest of margins.


Muizenberg surfer
Paul ‘Chow’ Sibanda Sampson wins the Cape Town Pro on his way to qualifying for the WSL Challenger Series (CS) in 2024. Image: Kody McGregor/World Surf League

The humble Muizenberg surfer got his nickname ‘Chow’ from the way he devours waves, no matter their size. He is coached by South African surfing legend Cass Collier, and credits much of his success to God. Coming from a disadvantaged background, Sampson’s talents were spotted early on by Surfing South Africa (SSA).

SSA got him into a development programme at just ten years of age. He was also supported by SurfShack Outreach in Muizenberg, which is a facility for at-risk youths to get them off the streets and into the water. You can see the humble Muizenberg surfer in the popular tourist break on most good days.


Muizenberg surfer
Sampson will want to show off his aerial histrionics on the WSL Challenger Series, which travels all around the world. Image: World Surf League/Kody McGregor

Being one of the top surfers in Cape Town, South Africa and even Africa is one thing. But the step up to the WSL CS in 2024 will be a whole new kettle of fish for Sampson. It is one tier below the elite Championship Tour (CT) where you’ll find Jordy Smith, John-John Florence, Ethan Ewing and the like. It is therefore the ultimate battleground for young, hungry surfers vying for the big tim.


  • Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast (Queensland, Australia): 27 April – 4 May 2024
  • North Narrabeen, Sydney (New South Wales, Australia): 9 – 16 May 2024
  • Ballito (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa): 1 – 8 July 2024
  • Huntington Beach (California, USA): 3 – 11 August 2024
  • Ericeira (Portugal): 29 September – 6 October 2024
  • Saquarema (Brazil): 12 – 20 October 2024


Muizenberg surfer
Sampson at the Cape Town Pro at Long Beach, Kommetjie, Western Cape. Image: World Surf League/Kody McGregor

The 2024 Challenger Series fields 80 men. Championship Tour (CT) surfers who fall below the WSL mid-season cut automatically qualify for all CS events. This provides an intense field of professional competitors moving up and down the rankings based on their results.

  • 49 men compete as allocated by seven WSL regions: Australia/Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe, Hawaii/Tahiti Nui, North America, and South America.
  • 12 men from the CT who did not make the mid-season cut.
  • 10 men from the previous year’s CS.
  • 3 men who were CT surfers in the prior season did not requalify.
  • The men’s 2023 World Junior Champion,
  • 5 men’s wildcard entries per event.

A big challenge for all South African surfers will be generating the sponsorship required to make the WSL CS events in 2024. Fingers crossed our four South African lads can pull it off.

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