Reyes claims Mr Price Pro

2014-07-07 00:00

AMERICAN Tim Reyes produced the goods when it counted to claim the Mr Price Pro Balitto yesterday, defeating Australian Matt Wilkinson in a close final that was a fitting end to a week of superb surfing, backed by great weather which only turned on its head on the final day.

With time to spare thanks to the weather playing its part, organisers called off any action on Saturday, meaning the quarter-finals, semis and final would be contested yesterday on a day which delivered a fine display of wave riding as the field was whittled to the final two.

Reyes had quietly gone about his business during the week, doing what had to be done and staying in the contest. Winning his heat on Friday, July 4, American Independence Day, to advance to the quarter-finals, he must have suddenly realised he could go the distance.

He acknowledged that he had just scraped through against the high-flying Krystain Kymerson from Brazil and that “I was getting lucky in tricky surf”.

That luck stayed with him and carried him through as he overcame compatriot Dillon Perillo 11,43 to 9,16 and book a spot against Portugal’s Tiago Pires in the semi-final. Pires had set the tone for the day when he eliminated Brazilian youngster Filipe Toledo 13 to 11,60 in the first quarter-final showdown of the day. It was a massive win for Pires as Toledo had been a hot favourite to take the winner’s cheque after a week that had seen him score two perfect 10 waves and dominate the early and middle rounds of the event.

Also progressing through to the semis were Adam Melling (AUS) who defeated Jadson Andre (BRA) 16,17 to 14,74 and Wilkinson who accounted for another event favourite, Jack Freestone (AUS) 13,20 to 10,90. Wilinson had also enjoyed a big week and came unstuck at a crucial stage of the contest.

Pires and Mellimg fell away in the semis to share equal third, but the day belonged to Reyes (31) who bagged the biggest win of his career to date in waves of six to eight foot. Returning to the water after a six-week shoulder injury, Reyes took the initiative early, scoring 7,17 on his opening ride, which set the cause for his win. It wasn’t all plain sailing though as Wilkinson gave a clear intention that he would also like to get his hands on the $40 000 (around R430 000) winner’s cheque.

He recorded a 9,2 ride in the heat to place all the pressure on Reyes who needed a wave of more than eight to claim the title. Proving that surfing is a waiting game, Reyes picked his moment to score an 8,27 which was enough to claim the title. “Undoubtedly the highlight of my career,” said Reyes.

“Matt was a tough opponent, but I had a dream during the week to sit wide, be patient and the wave would come. It worked for me in the heats and carried me through the final.”

For his win, Reyes reaped 6 500 ranking points, elevating him to an astonishing fifth in the world. Wilkinson though, can take pride in producing an outstanding final day, scoring two waves of 9,90 in the semi against Melling and a 9,2 in the final. The latter was just not enough, but Wilkinson was humble in defeat.

“It’s been a great week and great fun with unbelievable waves,” he said. “I thought I had it until that 8,2 wave Timmy grabbed under my priority. It’s great to come second, but obviously the win would have been better.”

Despite the weather yesterday the surfing was hot and a fitting finale to the 2014 edition of the event. Six days of action-packed surfing will live in the memory, particularly the high-flying antics of many competitors plus those two perfect 10 rides from Filipe Toledo.


Heat 1: Tiago Pires (PRT) 13,00

Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11,60

Heat 2: Tim Reyes (USA) 11,43

Dillon Perillo (USA) 9,16

Heat 3: Adam Melling (AUS) 16,17

Jadson Andre (BRA) 14,74

Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13,20

Jack Freestone (AUS) 10,90


Heat 1: Tim Reyes (USA) 11,50

Tiago Pires (PRT) 11,26

Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15,57

Adam Melling (AUS) 10,50

Final: Tim Reyes (USA) 15,44

Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14,70.

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