All systems go for Mr Price Pro

2014-06-30 00:00

THE world’s top ASP Qualifying Series (QS) professionals have descended on the wave-rich coast of KwaDukuza, for the start of the ASP Prime-rated Mr Price Pro Ballito today.

The second Prime-rated event of the 2014 season has attracted 17 of the top 34 rated surfers on the elite ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), who will go on to compete in the prestigious ASP World Championship (WCT) ­J-Bay Open, from July 10 to 21.

Located just 30 minutes north of Durban, Willards or Surfers Beach, as the locals know it, is a fast, hollow right-hander that breaks just off the rock, north of Ballito’s main beach. Working best on a south-west swell and a low tide, it is known to produce world-class barrels.

The exclusive 96-man field is made up of 88 surfers who qualified through their world rankings, plus six wildcards in David van Zyl (CT), Slade Prestwich (DBN), Dylan Lightfoot (J-Bay), Michael February (CT), Fred Patacchia Jnr (HAW) and Tanner Gudauskas (USA). Brandon Jackson (DBN) and Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) are the final two qualifiers who earned their places into the main event courtesy of the Mr Price Pro Ballito trials, presented by Surfing South Africa, on Saturday.

Jackson proved the standout of the day, winning the four-man final over fellow advancing surfer Sykes, who finished runner-up.

“I used to compete on the QS, so rocking up this morning and seeing all the familiar faces felt great,” Jackson said. “Last year I missed out on the trials, so I am really stoked to come back, take it out and get into the main event.”

World number 11 and 2010 Mr Price Pro Ballito Champion Jordy Smith (DBN), heads up the draw as the top seed for the event and will settle for nothing less than a podium finish. “Every event I enter, I aim for the podium. South Africa is home. I love nothing more than winning in front of my home crowd,” Smith said.

Joining Smith are fellow elite WCT campaigners Kai Otton (AUS), former ASP World Champion CJ Hobgood (USA), Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) who make up the event’s top five seeds.

Other surfers to look out for include past champions Glen Hall (IRL) 2012, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 2011 and Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 2009, as well as former Pipeline Master Jeremy Flores (FRA).

They will be met with fierce competition from QS rating leaders Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), winner of the ASP Prime Quiksilver Saquarema Pro in Brasil and Matt Banting (AUS) who is fresh of a win at the 6-Star Los Cabos Open of Surf in Mexico.

The Surfline swell forecast looks promising with consistent surf for the week ahead. Fun, waist high surf is expected today and tomorrow, increasing to chest and even some shoulder high sets through on Wednesday.

A similar size SSW to S groundswell is on the radar for around Friday, that could see wave-faces increase in time for the final on July 5 and 6.

The Mr Price Pro Ballito will be webcast live via

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