Surfers greeted by perfect weather conditions in Ballito on day one

2014-07-01 00:00

PERFECT conditions greeted the first day of this year’s edition of the Mr Price Pro at Willard Beach, Ballito yesterday.

Called on from 7.30 am, surfers and organisers were given windless, glassy conditions, with waves of two to three foot, which remained at the latter as the day progressed.

Ninety-six surfers were in the line-up and organisers were more than happy with a full day of heats, getting the bulk of the early rounds done and dusted. Heats were 30 minutes each, with the first two from each qualifying for the round of 48. For those finishing third and fourth, it was game over.

While most of the expected big names pulled through, the biggest upset of the day as far as South Africans were concerned was seeing Umhlanga local Beyrick de Vries finish a disappointing fourth in his heat as he came, saw and was conquered. He could only muster a lowly 6,13 and quietly exited the scene, a total contrast to last year where, as a wildcard, he progressed to the quarter-finals. He was joined by fellow South Africans Michael February (4th), Dale Staples (4th), Brandon Jackson (3rd) and Shane Sykes (3rd) who did not qualify.

On the positive side, seasoned campaigners Travis Logie, Jordy Smith and David van Zyl made the grade and are still in contention. Logie and Smith won their heats, Logie impressive in compiling 13,60 and giving the local crowd something to shout about early in the day. On his day, Logie is capable of beating the best and an opening win with a decent score is just the tonic needed to take on the rest of the week and be a threat worth noticing.

Smith, champion here in 2010, went about his business with astute calmness and precision, scoring 14,33 and making his presence felt from the word go. He loves this break and his win is becoming a distant memory as he harbours thoughts of returning to the top of the winner’s rostrum once more.

“It’s a great way to start and I couldn’t ask for more,” he said. “This is one of my favourite hunting grounds and it’s time to add to that 2010 title. Conditions could not have been better and, with the forecast for the rest of the week looking favourable, I can’t wait to hit the water again and [hopefully] make progress in the right direction.”

While Brazil produce the goods at the soccer World Cup, most of their surfers hit the mark yesterday, looking comfortable in moving through to the next round. Caio Ibelli and Filipe Toledo got the momentum going by finishing first and second in the day’s opening heat and were joined by Tomas Hermes, Peterson Crisanto, Alex Ribeiro, Heitor Alves, Wiggolly Dantes, Alejo Muniz, Krystian Kymerson and Jadson Andre in the next round.

As the shadows lengthened and a fresh wind blew in from the sea, organisers called heat 16 as the final piece of competition for the day when the surf became inconsistent and choppy as the tide came in. This leaves eight heats outstanding in the first round, which starts bright and early at 7 am today.

The forecast is another favourable one, with an off-shore wind expected around mid-morning. This should allow for close to another full day of surfing, allowing heats in the second round to be taken care of. In fact, the whole week’s forecast looks positive and organisers are confident of remaining on top of the scheduled proceedings and getting through the heats as quickly as possible.

With beach activities, great surfing and the sun out, Ballito is the place to be and get the July school holidays off to a good, healthy start.

There are two South Africans still to surf in the first round today, Dylan Lightfoot in heat 20 and Slade Prestwick in heat 24, the final heat the opening round.

Yesterday’s results:

Heat 1: Caio Ibelli (Bra) 15.10

Filipe Toledo (Bra) 10.66

Ricardo Christie (NZL) 9.17

Michael February (ZAF)8.23

Heat 2: Thomas Hermes (BRA) 15.80

Nic von Rupp (PRT) 9.50

Messias Felix 8.57 (BRA)

Charles Martin 4.47 (GLP)

Heat 3: Tiago Pires (PRT) 9.56

Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 8.83

Santiago Muniz (ARG) 6.54

Dale Staples (ZAF) 6.53

Heat 4: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 14.26

Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 12.83

Steven Pierson (PYF) 12.30

Bino Lopes (BRA) 7.83

Heat 5: Heitor Alves (BRA) 13.23

Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 12.93

Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.27

Thiago Camarao (BRA) 11.44

Heat 6: Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.60

Dillon Perillo (USA) 13.44

Wade Carmichael (AUS) 12.87

Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 11.93

Heat 7: Wiggolly Dantes (BRA) 13.74

Davey Cathels (AUS) 11.60

Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.44

Evan Geiselman (USA) 11.23

Heat 8: Frederico Morais (PRT) 14.34

David van Zyl (ZAF) 12.77

Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.60

Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 10.80

Heat 9: Billy Stairmand (NZL) 14.77

Tim Reyes (USA) 13.43

Cory Arrambide (USA) 11.90

Halley Batista (BRA) 7.07

Heat 10: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.83

Thomas Woods (AUS) 14.73

Perth Standlick (AUS) 12.14

Beyrick de Vries (ZAF) 6.13

Heat 11: Torrey Meister (HAW) 15.76

Matt Banting (AUS) 13.66

Garrett Parkes (AUS) 12.84

William Cardoso (BRA) 5.23

Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.33

Krystain Kymerson (BRA) 12.70

Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 11.33

Mason Ho (HAW) 10.70

Heat 13: Stu Kennedy (AUS) 12.50

Kai Otton (AUS) 11.06

Shane Sykes (ZAF) 9.57

Jesse Mendes (BRA) 8.93

Heat 14: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 12.70

Granger Larsen (HAW) 11.17

Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.34

Jean da Silva (BRA) 9.90

Heat 15: Marlon Lipke (DEU) 11.20

Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.06

Chris Ward (USA) 10.50

Masatoshi Ohno (JPN) 9.07

Heat 16: Adam Melling (AUS) 11.60

Joan Duru (FRA) 10.13

Jay Thompson (AUS) 9.94

Luke Davis (USA) 8.17.

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