Jordy Smith rides his luck

2012-07-05 00:00

MOTHER Nature allowed some entertainment on the third day of the Mr Price Pro Ballito, as six heats were completed at Willards Beach before matters were called off for the day yesterday.

As the day dawned, organisers placed the event on hold as bumpy conditions, driven by the previous day’s north-easterly, made for unfavourable wave riding. However, as time ticked on, the wind dropped, allowing conditions to improve.

In the hope of getting in a possible eight heats, officials, judges, surfer representatives and head judge Richie Porta of Australia gave the go-ahead for action to begin at 9 am as the mercury headed to 28°C and sea temperature was 21°C.

Spectators fortunate enough to be on the beach as the action started were not disappointed as surfers made the best use of the rideable but unspectacular waves.

First into the water was defending champion and current ASP World Tour No. 31 Pat Gudauskas, up against Nic Muscroft (Australia), Eric Geiselman (U.S.) and South Africa’s Royden Bryson. Gudauskas wasted no time in picking up where he left off last year, winning his heat with a total of 14 points from a possible 20. Geiselman (12,26) was second, ahead of Muscroft (12,04) and Bryson (9,20).

Brazilian Adriano De Souza, top seed for the contest and world number four, gave a clear indication of his intentions in his heat, recording 16,90, the best score of the day, as he blew away the challenge of France’s Marc Lacomare (13,97), Australia’s Lincoln Taylor (9,73) and South Africa’s David Weare (9,40), who was disappointing and capable of a far better result.

All was not lost for South African supporters as Durban’s Jordy Smith restored some homegrown honour and pride with a solid performance in his heat. A previous champion and current world number eight, Smith did the business with his usual array of aerial antics to score 13,66 and win his heat ahead of Alain Riou (Tahiti), Kai Barger (Hawaii) and Michael February (South Africa).

Said Smith: “There weren’t that many waves and I was fortunate to pick up two good ones early on. Both these rides yielded sixes, which put me ahead, setting me up to go on and win the heat. The pressure was on the others to find favourable waves. While there were opportunities, I think luck was a huge part and it boiled down to getting as many waves as possible.”

Surfers who could hit the water were grateful for the opportunity, including Gudauskas, who said: “I was itching to get into the water and hit the ground running. It was good fun and there were opportunities.”

In the end, though, the elements had the final say as unfavourable conditions returned to put a halt to proceedings.

It could be an early start today as officials make a call at 6.30 am, with a possible start at 7 am.

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