The Ballito Pro is set to take place from December 9 to 19 and the high-level surfing action will be accompanied by entertainment and lifestyle events.
Event organisers, backed by the O’Neill company, have confirmed the dates for their “summer festival” north of Durban and that it will incorporate the South African Surfing Championships for the first time this year.
Based at Willard Beach in KwaDukuza, the core surfing activities will be the Men’s Ballito Pro (WSL–QS5000), Women’s Ballito Pro (WSL–QS1000), SS Smth Shapes Rookie Rippers Pro Juniors (WSL–JQS1000 men and women) and the SA Champs.
The December date is unusual, as the event, which normally takes place in July, was postponed due to the pandemic.
While the surfers battle it out on the waves, festival-goers can enjoy a variety of recreational activities and retail options, which will be appropriately spread out due to the pandemic, according to the organisers.
The non-surfing activities include a pro skate competition, free sunrise yoga and pilates, beach volleyball, fashion shows and dance displays.
There will also be “retail delight” at Willard Beach daily from 9 am to 5 pm, featuring a food court and cider garden, arts and crafts and exhibitions, surfboard displays and shaping and other “pop ups” from various companies.
The “After Dark Programmes” live entertainment includes Yami’s Unplugged, Miss Mikes Junior Pageant on December 16, Ballito Village Sunset Festival, Gidela Lounge and Shisanyama and the Ballito Village Sundowner Festival from 5 pm to 11 pm daily.
Moreover, there is going to be a Covid-19 safety awareness campaign that incorporates a vaccination and testing site at Willard Beach.
The event will be broadcast in a partnership with DStv People’s Weather channel 180, Openview Channel 115, and Ballito TV.
The SA Surfing Championship has previously been held in Durban, Cape Town, East London, Jeffreys Bay, Seal Point, St Michaels on Sea, Victoria Bay, Mossel Bay, Trafalgar and Richards Bay. It is the first time the event will take place in Ballito.
Heather Clark of Ugu Surfriders is the overall individual South African title holder, with eight national titles, while Greg Emslie of Buffalo City holds the record in the men’s division with five national titles.
This year’s event will feature eight district teams, six men and four women, featuring a total of 96 competitors.
These surfers would have competed in a series of trials within their districts in order to be selected to compete at the national level.
Robin de Kock, general manager of Surfing South Africa, said they’re excited to be associated with the Ballito Pro in the form of its annual national championships.
“The 55th edition of this iconic event is particularly important as it determines the South African Men and Women’s Champions and decides which district will take home the coveted President’s Cup.
“We are grateful to the KwaDukuza Municipality for putting their faith in us and we are confident that the athletes will embrace the opportunity to sample Ballito’s famous surf,” he said in a statement.