Smith looks to J-Bay after not finding the waves in Ballito

2014-07-02 00:00

HE left it to the last few seconds to perform a full rotation air as the crowd held their breath, but it was not enough to see Jordy Smith progress to the round of 24 at this year’s Mr Price Pro Ballito yesterday.

Smith, the only South African left in the running late yesterday afternoon, finished third in his round of 48 heat, thereby having to call it a day and reflecting on what could have been. Smith was patient throughout the heat but battled to find any decent waves that would work for him.

With the surf at Willard Beach somewhat choppy, delivering lots of swell with big sets, many of the waves that looked promising petered out, causing surfers to abandon their ride and shoot over the back of the wave to await something better.

Smith could not get any decent score and languished in third and fourth throughout the heat. However, with 25 seconds of the heat remaining, it was a case of too little too late as he finally found what he had been waiting for, pulling off his aerial move to score a 9,20. With the two best waves counting, his next best score was a lowly 3,77, giving him a total of 12,97, not enough to break into the top two.

Going through from the heat were Time Reyes (USA) with 14,27 and Torrey Meister (HAW) with 13,94. The result sees Smith finish 25 overall, a disappointing result for him, having won in 2010 and being a losing finalist to Australian Julian Wilson last year. “It’s not a great result, especially on my home surf, but I couldn’t find the waves that worked for me. That’s how it goes and best of luck to the surfers still in the competition. Now I can focus on the next event at J-Bay,” he said.

The last eight heats of the first round were first up yesterday and Australian Yadin Nicol provided the early entertainment as he posted a winning score of 19,10 out of a possible 20 in his heat — the best scores of the event until 19-year-old Brazilian Felipe Toledo set the day alight in his second round heat.

He scored a near-perfect 19,83, scoring a perfect 10 on one of his waves, which he followed up with a 9,83, allowing him to drop scores of 9,40 and 8.

He produced one of the best displays of surfing ever seen at Ballito, his massive air reverse doing the business with the judges and belying the fact he is only ranked 16th in the world. “It all came together for me … What I tried worked for me and came off,” he said. “Luckily, the waves were bigger and more powerful than yesterday allowing me to pull some moves. It was great and I am happy to still be in the event.”

Other than Smith, the day also saw the end of Travis Logie and David van Zyl in the second round, while Dylan Lightfoot and a game Slade Prestwich were found wanting in round one. Officials called the day off after eight heats in the second round with four remaining, just before 4 pm. A call will be made at 7 am today and once more, favourable weather conditions are expected.

Men’s round of 48 results:

Heat 1: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 16,33

Tomas Hermes (BRA) 15,27

Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 14,26

Alex Ribeiro (Bra) 9,60

Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 19,83

Tiago Pires (PRT) 15,23

Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 10,74

Nic von Rupp (PRT) 9,44

Heat 3: Heitor Alves (BRA) 16,67

Davey Cathels (AUS) 12,37

David van Zyl (ZAF) 11,23

Travis Logie (ZAF) 10,50

Heat 4: Frederico Morais (PRT) 12,33

Dillon Perillo (BRA) 10,66

Wiggolly Dantes (BRA) 10,16

Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 7,94

Heat 5: Matt Banting (AUS) 13,63

Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 13,07

Billy Stairmand (NZL) 12,30

Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10,33

Heat 6: Tim Reyes (USA) 14,27

Torrey Meister (HAW) 13,94

Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12,97

Thomas Woods (AUS) 12,43

Heat 7: Jadson Andre (BRA) 12,76

Tom Whitaker (AUS) 12,24

Stu Kennedy (AUS) 12,10

Joan Duru (FRA) 11,87

Heat 8: Adam Melling (AUS) 14,53

Marlon Lipke (DEU) 13,20

Kai Otton (AUS) 13,13

Granger Larson (HAW) 11,43.

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