Smith gaining ground

2013-07-06 00:00

SUCH is the throw of the dice at the Mr Price Pro Ballito that both South Africans still in the event — Jordy Smith and Beyrick de Vries — had to meet in the round of 16. This meant one had to go and true to form, it was the more experienced Smith who advanced and is still on track to become the first former champion (2010) to reclaim the title.

The fourth day of official action dawned with clear 1,5 metre surf, later coming through at two metres, allowing event organisers to continue with the remaining heats from the round of 24, after a halt to proceedings was called at 2.30 pm on Thursday as an incoming tide killed any decent breaks.

De Vries was first up for the day, taking on Portugal’s Marlon Lipke. For De Vries, it was the possibility to break new ground in the event having reached the round of 24 last year as a wildcard entry. Making the most of his home break, he produced the goods, scoring a total of 12,90 to close out Lipke’s 8,06. The only downer was having to take on Smith next.

South African rookie Dylan Lightfoot’s dream run in the event ended against the experienced Brazilian Jadson Andre, whose score of 16,50 was way too good for Lightfoot’s 9,34. Others advancing to the round of 16 were Aritz Aranburu (Basque), David do Carmo (Brazil), Mitch Crews (Australia) and Mason Ho (Hawaii).

Morocco’s Ramzi Boukhiam started the round of 16 on fire, rustling up the highest wave of the day, a 9,57 as he posted an overall tally of 17,07, another day’s best. Australian Stu Kennedy continued his solid showing, eliminating Brazil’s Jesse Mendez, before the SA showdown took to the water.

De Vries tried gamely but could not match Smith’s best waves of 6,50; 7,50 and 6,93, which saw the current world No 4 through to a 14,43 against De Vries’s 9,30. For his efforts, De Vries finished the event tied ninth (with all those who lost in the round of 16), pocketing about R43 000 and shooting up from 41 to 30 in the ASP world rankings.

“It was a bummer I had to eliminate Beyrick, a fellow South African, as he has enjoyed a great event and was looking strong,” said Smith. “With the wind picking up out there, there was a lot of chop and it was hard work in the take-off zone. I’m pumped to be in the quarters and still in with a shout.”

Aranburu produced a strong performance to oust France’s Maxime Huscenot, a former world junior champion, who had enjoyed steady progress and was a surprise loser. Top seed for the event, Australian Julian Wilson, despite looking smooth and composed, had to wait till the final 30 seconds of his heat to get the winning wave and score against a threatening Andre, winning with 11,53 to 10,33.

“It was hard out there, with some tricky, big breaks coming through. Jadson is a tough competitor and I had to take the last possible wave as time clicked away, in the hope of getting enough to get through,” said Wilson.

With the on-shore wind increasing, one more heat (the 12th of the day) was possible as Do Carmo knocked out the USA’s Kolohe Andino, ranked No 21 in the world, who battled to find any waves of substance in the heat. At the conclusion of the heat, organisers put matters on hold as conditions deteriorated. Just before 2.30 pm, surfing was called off for the day.

Surfers in the quarter-finals are Smith, Boukhiam, Kennedy, Aranburu, Wilson and Do Carmo.

It’s another early start today, organisers making a call at 7 am and hoping to get surfers in the water from 7.15 am.

ROUND OF 24 RESULTS

Heat 3: Beyrick de Vries (ZAF) 12.90 def Marlon Lipke (PRT) 8.06

Heat 4: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 11.63 def Thomas Woods (AUS) 11.63

Heat 5: Jadson Andre (BRA) 16.50 def Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) 9.34

Heat 6: David do Carmo (BRA) 13.26 def Dion Atkinson (AUS)

Heat 7: Mitch Crews (AUS) 12.87 def Jean Da Silva (BRA) 9.67

Heat 8: Mason Ho (HAW) 15.30 def Billy Stairmand (NZL) 14.83

Round of 16 Results: Heat 1: Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 17.07 def Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.93

Heat 2: Stu Kennedy (AUS) 14.07 def Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.00

Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.43 def Beyrick de Vries (ZAF) 9.30

Heat 4: Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 15.66 def Maxime Huscenot (REU) 8.40

Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.53 def Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.33

Heat 6: David do Carmo (BRA) 14.20 def Kolohe Andino (USA) 5.50

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