SA surfers keen to bring the Mr Price title home

2013-06-26 00:00

WITH defending Mr Price Pro Ballito champion Glenn Hall (Australia) out with a spinal injury he picked up in Fiji, South African surfers are keen to bring the title home.

It is a prestigious event, being one of only eight on the ASP World Tour and offering the most ranking points outside of a World Championship Tour (WCT) event. It has a record of having 12 of the 13 event winners qualify for the WCT the following year.

Top of the pile for South Africa is current ASP world number three, Jordy Smith, winner of the event in 2010 and fresh from 13th spot at the recent Oakley Pro Bali. After winning in 2010, Smith enjoyed great form, which saw him collect the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay title and secure number two on the ASP rankings.

Smith said: “This is great time to be in South Africa and the waves on the North Coast really deliver. This event spurs me on and home-crowd support is a huge advantage.”

Smith said that the South African surfers will push hard to claim the title and will be tough opponents to overcome. “We are going to be strong competitors because of the experience we have surfing here, at our home break,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how the local riders fare against world-class surfers at an event of high calibre,” he said.

Ballito’s break couldn’t be closer to home for Umhlanga’s Beyrick de Vries, a wild card in last year’s event, and the highest seeded non-WCT surfer this year. He went from strength to strength after last year’s contest and sees the event as his launching pad to surfing greatness.

“Without that wild-card entry last year, I would not be in the Primes this year and would not have qualified. My spot this time is on merit, and thanks to the points I earned at last year’s event.”

De Vries’s confidence has been boosted by finishing second at the six- Star Los Cabos Pro in Mexico last week, which has seen him move to 41st spot on the ASP men’s rankings. This allows him to qualify for the remaining Prime events this year, giving him the opportunity to strengthen his position on the rankings.

“The result in Mexico has given me momentum heading into the Mr Price Pro,” he said. “I went into Mexico having recovered from injury and was aiming for a finish to allow me to be in the Primes for the second half of the year, and could not be happier with how it worked out.”

Durban’s Chad du Toit is another surfer familiar with what Ballito offers. Another wild-card entry last year, he hopes for a better experience this time. “I had a great first heat and was in the zone, but the wheels fell off in the second heat and I was done,” he said.

“This time, my goal is to glean some solid points and cash to get back on tour for the European leg of the season. This is a big event for me.”

In total, there are 11 South Africans in the event from July 1 to July 7, including ASP world number 20 Travis Logie, and Durban’s David van Zyl, a wildcard entry.

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