Tackling world-class waves

2013-06-20 00:00

TRAVIS Logie (34) knows a good wave when he sees one. Although he now lives in California, he is from Durban and when he says Willards Beach (Ballito) has a world-class wave, it’s best to sit up and take note.

Willard’s hosts the Mr Price Pro Ballito from July 1-7 and Logie, the current world No 20 on the ASP rankings, joins No 3 and fellow Durban surfer Jordy Smith in leading a strong South African presence at the event.

Said Logie: “When Ballito is turning … even when it’s average, it’s a world-class wave. It’s probably the best wave on the Prime Tour and personally, I have enjoyed some of the best waves of my career out there.”

Logie is keen to get his hands on some of the R2,5 million in prize money, plus use “home” waves to his advantage in a field of 88 internationals.

He’s come close before, finishing second to Australian Chris Davidson in 2008. This remains Logie’s career-best result in an event that has seen him secure every spot from second to 30th, with the win still eluding him.

While the event offers crucial ratings points and counts toward his ASP world rating, it’s one Logie would cherish to conquer.

“This event is important for both tours [ASP and WCT]. It’s great to be back on familiar water and having the backing of the crowd is a huge plus. All I need to do is take out the win,” he said. With surfers coming from around the globe to Ballito, it gives a clear indication of the high regard wave riders have for the North Coast break. Said Logie: “This is the only ASP-rated event in Africa and many of the international surfers list this as their favourite wave. It’s a huge drawcard and I believe, even if there were more events in South Africa, they would still come.”

As in any sport, it’s tough to predict what will happen on the water, but Logie, who finished in the top 20 of the WCT last year, is worthy of respect and can take on the world’s best. He has a reputation for ruining many a top rider’s winning ambitions and perhaps this could be his ground-breaking event.

“I always seem to meet a world title contender along the way and I look forward to those heats. I think the guys get a bit nervous, whereas I tend to perform 100% better when taking them on,” he said. Logie has been on the WCT Tour for seven years and believes surfing in South Africa is healthy, with a steady crop of new talent being churned out. Said Logie: “South Africa pumps out good surfers each year. I look at myself, Jordy (Smith) and Bianca Buitendag who have managed to stay at the top level because we wanted it. It’s about having the drive, determination and focus to reach that point and stay there.”

This year’s Mr Price Pro Ballito features 13 South African surfers. Besides Logie and Smith, Beyrick de Vries, Shaun Joubert, Dale Staples, Michael February, David van Zyl, Chad du Toit and wildcards Greg Emslie, Steven Sawyer and Matt Bromley take to the water.

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