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Bianca Buitendag Upsets World No 1 on way to Semis at Vans US Open of Surfing

July 31st, 2015 No comments
Bianca Buitendag in action at the Vans US Open of Surfing where she reached the Semifinals on Thursday  Image: WSL / Morris

Bianca Buitendag in action at the Vans US Open of Surfing where she reached the Semifinals on Thursday  Image: WSL / Morris

Beyrick de Vries Advances to Last 24 in Men’s Event

Huntington Beach, CA/USA (Thursday, July 30, 2015) – Bianca Buitendag caused a huge upset on Thursday by eliminating two-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in the Quarterfinals at the Vans US Open of Surfing, stop no. 6 on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Championship Tour (CT).

What started as a low-scoring affair in the one metre waves at Huntington Beach ended with an exciting exchange that unfolded in the final minutes. Moore posted a 5.60 but the South African netted a 7.60 to steal the lead and take victory over the two-time event winner.

The result is Buitendag’s best ever at the US Open, marking the second time that she has eliminated the Hawaiian this season and will see Moore relinquish the Jeep rankings leader’s yellow jersey to Courtney Conlogue (USA).

“I was keeping my cool and being patient,” Buitendag said. “I’m not going to say I expected to be here, it’s pretty shocking for me and I’m stoked. The whole heat I was waiting, which was frustrating. That one wave popped up in the last two minutes and I was just dying to surf. I’m taking things one event at a time after a tough start to the year. I’m so blessed and I’m just going with it.”

Buitendag narrowly outpointed Coco Ho (HAW) in their Round 4 duel earlier in the day and faces a semi-final clash with close friend Johanne Defay (FRA) when competition resumes. Ranked No. 6 coming into the US Open, the 21-year-old from Victoria Bay will move into the Top 5 with four events left on the 2015 CT schedule.

The bottom half of the draw sees Huntington Beach local Conlogue take on Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) after they defeated Malia Manuel (HAW) and Nikki van Dyk (AUS) in their respective Quarterfinal bouts.

In the QS10,000 Vans US Open of Surfing men’s event, Umhlanga’s Beyrick de Vries advanced to the last 24 when he finished second to a rampant Filipe Toledo (BRA), the current World No. 4 and defending event winner, in Round 2. While the super confident Brazilian surfed without a leash and took to the air at every opportunity, netting a pair of nine-point rides in the process, de Vries stuck with his powerful rail turns, earning the first excellent ride of the heat, an 8.17.

He then used the priority system intelligently to add a 7.77 before clinching the runner-up berth with an 8.34 that eliminated third and fourth placed Granger Larsen (HAW) and Caio Ibelli (BRA) from the event.

De Vries, the only South African in the men’s draw, will be up against Miguel Pupo (BRA) and Maxime Huscenot (FRA) in a three-man Round 3 encounter where the winner progresses directly to the Quarterfinals. Those placing second and third will contest man-on-man Round 4 heats with the winner advancing and the loser ousted from the event in equal 9th place overall.

Competition will continue today, starting at approximately 5pm CAT with Men’s Round 3 followed by the Men’s Pro Junior Quarterfinals where South Africa’s Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) and Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) will take on HB local standout Kanoa Igarashi (USA) and Barbados based Joshua Burke (BRB) in Heat 4.

The Vans US Open of Surfing runs from July 25 through August 2, 2015 and is webcast LIVE via WorldSurfLeague.com and VansUSOpenofSurfing.com.

Each year, the Vans US Open of Surfing features the best in the world tearing up the storied break at Huntington Beach. Along with competitions for skate and BMX and dozens of on-site sponsors, the nine-day festival features four separate surf contests, including Junior Tour contests for men and women, a high-stakes men’s Qualifying Series battle, and a women’s Championship Tour contest for the Top 17.

Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.80 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.14
QF 2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 11.10 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.60
QF 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 16.43 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 15.20
QF 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.26 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.03

Women’s Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 14.00 def. Alessa Quizon (HAW) 10.60
Heat 2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 11.10 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 10.63
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.83 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 10.33
Heat 4: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.97 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.10

Women’s Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
SF 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)

Men’s Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS) 17.50, Joan Duru (FRA) 16.70, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.77, Tiago Pires (PRT) 9.23
Heat 2: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 13.74, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 13.70, Michael Dunphy (USA) 12.53, Santiago Muniz (ARG) 10.04
Heat 3: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 17.50, Marco Fernandez (BRA) 12.96, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.73, Parker Coffin (USA) 9.43
Heat 4: Timmy Reyes (USA) 15.27, Carlos Munoz (CRI)13.97, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 12.87, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 12.07
Heat 5: Freddy Patacchia (HAW) 17.43, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 14.57, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 10.50, Heitor Alves (BRA) 8.20
Heat 6: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 16.50, Mitch Crews (AUS) 15.00, Davey Cathels (AUS) 12.57, Steven Pierson (PYF) 4.50
Heat 7: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.20, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 16.54, Granger Larsen (HAW) 15.20, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.87
Heat 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.10, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 13.64, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 12.83, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 12.10
Heat 9: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 13.20, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 11.90, Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.37, Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.74
Heat 10: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 17.00, Charles Martin (GLP) 13.54, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.93, Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 9.14
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.60, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 11.57, Jack Freestone (AUS) 8.66, Nat Young (USA) 6.00 INT
Heat 12: Billy Stairmand (NZL) 13.10, Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 12.07, Dane Reynolds (USA) 11.83, Joshua Moniz (HAW) 10.67

Men’s Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS), Nathan Yeomans (USA), Marco Fernandez (BRA)
Heat 2: Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Joan Duru (FRA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 3:Tim Reyes (USA), Mitch Crews (AUS), Freddy Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 4: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN), Carlos Munoz (CRI), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Alex Ribeiro (BRA), Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 6: Miguel Pupo (BRA), Beyrick De Vries (ZAF), Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
Heat 7: Dion Atkinson (AUS), Tanner Hendrickson (HAW), Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 8: Billy Stairmand (NZL), Charles Martin (GLP), Tomas Hermes (BRA)

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

World’s Biggest News Story Unfolds In The Surf At Jeffreys Bay

July 25th, 2015 No comments
Julian Wilson rides the only wave in the final of the J-Bay Open before it was called off after a shark attack on his opponent Mick Fanning  Photo: WSL / Cestari

Julian Wilson rides the only wave in the final of the J-Bay Open before it was called off after a shark attack on his opponent Mick Fanning Photo: WSL / Cestari

Surfing Column for Independent on Saturday – 25 July 2015

By Paul Botha

This world’s biggest news story this week unfolded at Jeffreys Bay when Australian surfer Mick Fanning experienced arguably the most comprehensively recorded shark encounter of all time just minutes into the Final of the J-Bay Open last Sunday.

The incident took place in perfect conditions, pumping 1.5 to 2 metre waves and in front of a couple of thousand spectators on the beach and tens of thousands more around the world glued to the live TV and internet coverage provided by the half-a-dozen high definition cameras focused on the action.

Fanning, a former three time world champ and three-time and defending J-Bay Open champion, was waiting for his first ride as his opponent and fellow Aussie Julian Wilson paddled back to the line-up after his opener. Sensing something behind him, Fanning was confronted by a large shark that became entangled in his legrope before knocking Fanning off his board, snapping the leash in the process.

Separated from his board, Fanning started swimming for shore as Wilson changed direction and, ignoring his own safety, paddled towards his friend to offer assistance. The vigilant water safety crew reacted immediately and were on the scene within 15 seconds. Marine safety expert Grant Spooner circled the area in his 6 metre inflatable boat to ward off any further action by the shark while jetski pilots Jeremy Phillips and Paris Basson plucking Wilson and Fanning from the ocean.

Executing the well defined safety plan perfectly, the surfers were delivered to nearby Magnatubes Beach where emergency medical staff and an ambulance were already waiting. Miraculously Fanning emerged physically unscathed from the attack and after being treated for shock the surfers were returned to the contest site by car.

Following consultation between the surfers and WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow, it was eventually decided to cancel the rest of the Final. The surfers were awarded equal second place points while the US $140 000 prize-money at stake in the Final was split evenly with each receiving $70 000 (about R850 000).

What followed can only be described as a media frenzy as news outlets, including the world’s biggest organisations, broadcast and published the graphic video footage, high resolution images and interviews with anyone involved. Opinions swirled around on whether it was an attack, and encounter or an incident, the type and size of the shark, whether the WSL had sufficient safety in place and if a surfing event would ever be held at Jeffreys Bay again.

To their credit, the WSL handled the circumstances with aplomb, issuing a statement that the surfers’ safety was the primary concern and applauding the actions of water safety crew, while the commentators and analysts calmly reported live on a scenario that was unprecedented at a major event.

Thanks to Fanning’s bravery, Wilson’ heroics and the exceptionally fast reaction of the safety team, a situation that could have had a far worse outcome was averted. And 30 minutes later local surfers were out at Supertubes enjoying the excellent waves peeling down the point!

ENDS

Shark Attack on Defending Champion Mick Fanning Halts J-Bay Open

July 19th, 2015 No comments
The J-Bay Open was called off today during the Final after three-time WSL Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) was attacked by a shark. Image: WSL

The J-Bay Open was called off today during the Final after three-time WSL Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) was attacked by a shark. Image: WSL

Finalists Receive Equal Second Place After Competition Called Off – WorldSurfLeague.Com

JEFFREYS BAY, South Africa (Sunday, July 19, 2015) – The J-Bay Open, Stop No. 6 on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), was called off following a dramatic incident that involved three-time WSL Champion and defending event winner Mick Fanning (AUS) being attacked by a shark in the opening minutes of the Final against Julian Wilson (AUS).

The scene unfolded live on WorldSurfLeague.com as the Australian fought off the animal and, after his leash snapped and he was separated from his surfboard, started swimming towards the shore as Wilson paddled over to assist.

The Water Safety Team arrived within seconds of the incident and while the large inflatable boat circled the area to ward off any further action from the shark, both surfers were picked up by jetskis. Despite his severed leash, Fanning remained physically unscathed by the incident.

“We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured today,” Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner, said. “Mick’s composure and quick acting in the face of a terrifying situation was nothing short of heroic and the rapid response of our Water Safety personnel was commendable – they are truly world class at what they do.”

“The safety of our athletes is a priority for the WSL and, after discussions with both Finalists, we have decided to cancel the remainder of competition at the J-Bay Open. We appreciate the ongoing support we have in South Africa and once again want to express our gratitude to the Water Safety Team.”

“I was just sitting there and I felt something grab or get stuck in my leg rope and I instantly just jumped away,” Fanning said. “It just kept coming at my board and I was kicking and screaming. I just saw fins, I didn’t see any teeth. I was waiting for the teeth to come at me as I was swimming. I punched it in the back. I’m totally fine, I’ve got nothing wrong with me. There’s a small depression in my board and my leg rope got bitten and I’m totally tripping out.”

“I was just cruising and waiting for my turn, my opportunity and I knew Julian (Wilson) was down the point,” continued Fanning. “I was just about to get moving and start paddling again and all of a sudden I had this instinct that something was behind me. I started getting pulled underwater and then the thing came up and I was on my board and it was right there. I saw the whole thing thrashing around but I was getting dragged under by my leg rope. I felt like it kicked me off but it was still there going and I was still attached to my board. I felt like I punched it a couple of times and then it was dragging me and then my leg rope broke.”

“I started swimming and screaming and yelling at Jules (Julian Wilson) to move as well, but he was coming at me,” said Fanning. “What a legend, coming after me. I was swimming in and I turned around and I had this thought, what happens if it comes to have another go at me, so I turned around so I could at least see it coming. Before I knew it the boat was there, the jet skis were there and we were in safely. I just can’t believe it. To walk away from that, I’m just so stoked. I want to let all my family and friends know that I’m okay.”

“Mick (Fanning) was kind of out in no man’s land so I was really watching him and had my eyes on him,” said Wilson. “Mick (Fanning) was looking down the point and I saw the whole thing pop up behind him. It came up and he was wrestling it. I saw him get knocked off his board and then a wave popped up and I thought, ‘he’s gone’. I felt like I couldn’t get there quick enough.”

“The results don’t mean anything to me, I’m just happy he’s alive. I literally thought when I was paddling for him that I wasn’t going to get there in time, especially when I saw him off his board and swimming away. I thought it was going to grab him and take him under. I’m so happy we’re both on the beach right now, I was so worried about Mick’s life.”

Applying the rules relating to ‘Force Majeure’, the WSL awarded both Fanning and Wilson equal second place and 8,000 points on the Jeep Leaderboard. They will split the prize money between them equally, receiving $70,000 (about R840 000) each. The result sees Fanning move up two places to second on the rankings, Wilson move up to third and Adriano de Souza (BRA), who was eliminated by Wilson in the Quarterfinals, retains the Jeep rankings leader’s yellow jersey.

Before the incident occurred the pair was set for an exciting 40-minute all-Australian Final with Wilson searching for his first CT win at Jeffreys Bay and Fanning looking to defend his J-Bay Open title and claim his 21st CT victory. The pair has had four previous head-to-head heats with Fanning claiming the win each time.

Earlier in the day the form goofyfooter of the event, Adrian Buchan (AUS), faced Wilson in an all-Australian clash in the opening Semifinal. Wilson advanced to the Final thanks to his heat-high opening score, leaving Buchan with third place in the event. Buchan jumps up ten places to 20th on the Jeep Leaderboard and marks his first Semifinal appearance since the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters.

“At the moment it doesn’t feel great” said Buchan. “I had an opportunity at the end and didn’t really finish, but I feel really proud that I’ve got my year back on track and I felt like I was doing the surfing here to go all the way. It was great to have a good battle out there with Julian (Wilson) in pumping J-Bay. I feel confident at all the locations coming up, I’ve had big results everywhere and I know I can perform at all the spots left.”

The second Semifinal saw Kelly Slater (AUS) and Fanning, the two most successful surfers at Jeffreys Bay and long time rivals, battle for a place in the Final. The pair has had 15 previous man-on-man heats in CT history, with Slater taking 9 wins to Fanning’s 6 and their last match-up was the Final in Fiji in 2013.

Two 8-point rides from Fanning with less than ten minutes gone left the 11-time World Champion in a combination situation. Slater managed to escape with an excellent 9.43 for a long floater, quick barrel and series of carving turns but was left searching for a 7.30. Fanning sealed the deal with a 9.63 in the final minutes and sailed through to the Final. The Semifinal berth for Slater marks his best result of the season sees him move up to 6th place on the rankings.

“Now I’ve seen it all,” said Slater of the attack. “I was coming up the beach and I saw all the boats and skis go straight to the lineup. I knew there was only one possible reason that would ever happen in a contest and that’s if someone got attacked by a shark. I ran up the beach trying to get some information. I’m halfway between crying and laughing because he (Fanning) got so lucky. I’m lost for words to be honest. We almost just watched our friend get eaten by a shark and I’m just blown away that there’s no damage at all.”

World no. 1 Adriano de Souza (BRA) was sent home after the Quarterfinals by Wilson. With only seven waves surfed during the 35-minute clash it was the Australian that held the edge and took the win. De Souza wasn’t able to find the waves or the scores he needed but retains his place at the top of the rankings heading into the next event in Tahiti.

“Julian (Wilson) is such a good surfer,” De Souza said. “I think I lost that heat for myself, I lost my rhythm on my last wave and that cost me. I’m definitely in the hunt for a good result in Tahiti right now. I started my training early and I’m trying to get strong. I just need to do well and get to the Quarters or Semis at every single contest. That’s my goal. At this stage everyone has a chance and I’m focused on my training and my equipment.”

Reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) was also eliminated in the Quarterfinals at the hands of Semifinalist Slater. Despite a strong showing from the Brazilian and an impressive 17.23 heat total two nine-point rides from the 11-time World Champion were too much for Medina to overcome. A 5th place finish sees Medina move to 15th place on the Jeep Leaderboard heading into Stop No. 7, the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

“We both got some sick waves,” said Medina. “It’s hard to beat Kelly (Slater) out here, especially when the waves are like this. He’s the guy out here and I knew that was going to be tough. There isn’t much I can do, but I had fun out there and I’m happy with the end result. I’m excited for Tahiti. Last year I had a great result over there. Now I’m going back home to get prepared.”

Highlights from the J-Bay Open are available on WorldSurfLeague.com.

J-Bay Open Final Results:
2 – Mick Fanning (AUS)
2 – Julian Wilson (AUS)

J-Bay Open Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.40 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.20
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.13 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 16.26

J-Bay Open Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.00 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 15.67
QF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.53 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.33
QF 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.10 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.23
QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.17 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 9.00

J-Bay Open Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Kai Otton (AUS) 16.60 def. Nat Young (USA) 11.34
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 18.67 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.83
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.53 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.00
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.90 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.87

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

WSL Media Manager:

Amy Denman
Communications Manager
adenman@worldsurfleague.com
+1 310-570-8821

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Spectacular Surfing By Planet’s Premier Performers

July 11th, 2015 No comments
Dangerous wildcard Dane Reynolds from California upset World No. 2 Filipe Toledo from Brazil with spectacular surfing at Jeffreys Bay on Friday  Photo: WSL / Cestari

Dangerous wildcard Dane Reynolds from California upset World No. 2 Filipe Toledo from Brazil with spectacular surfing at Jeffreys Bay on Friday Photo: WSL / Cestari

Surfing Column for Independent on Saturday – 11 July 2015

By Paul Botha

The local surfing community and hundreds of thousands of followers online are being treated to spectacular surfing by the planet’s premier performers in the battle for points and prize-money on the lucrative South African leg of the World Surf League.

Starting with the Ballito Pro, where Michael Rodrigues posted a rare perfect 10-point ride before fellow Brazilians Italo Ferreira, Caio Ibelli and Alejo Muniz racked up a slew of high-flying manoeuvres in the pristine final day conditions, and continued in Jeffreys Bay where the J-Bay Open commenced yesterday.

For the record, Muniz took the win at Ballito, pocketing the R500 000 winner’s payout and shooting to a substantial lead on the Qualifying Series leaderboard thanks to his haul of 10 000 points. This virtually ensures him a spot among the Top 34 surfers who will contest the 2016 Championship Tour, the elite series of events that determine the annual world surfing champion.

In Jeffreys Bay, the sixth of 11 stops on this year’s CT, the world’s best displayed their prowess in testing conditions on the opening day of competition. Despite a 12 day holding period in which to run the four days of heats required to decide the winner, the wave and weather predictions have been blighted by summer-like conditions with Easterly onshore winds replacing the customary Westerly winds that prevail in the winter months.

With a solid overhead swell steaming down the fabled 300 metre dune lined point known as Supertubes, WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow had no hesitation in sending the surfers to work even though onshore winds were forecast.

And those watching were certainly not disappointed as the likes of Tahiti’s Michel Bourez, Australian Julian Wilson and dangerous wildcard, Dane Reynolds from California sliced, diced and carved up the long liquid walls, boosting themselves above the lip of the waves and landing in full control to post heat winning totals.

The unfavourable wind became stronger but the bumpy wave faces did not deter defending event champion Mick Fanning from Australia whose trademark high-speed manoeuvring took him to victory.

The legendary Kelly Slater, a four-time J-Bay event winner, was in his element. The Floridian took to the air on one ride and then somehow found a tube section on another to record two of the highest scores of the day’s action, along with the highest heat tally.

The South African contingent in the event will all need to contest sudden-death elimination heats in Round 2 when competition resumes. Capetonian Michael February, a last minute replacement for the injured Australian Matt Banting, finishing second behind Fanning in his first foray at the highest level of the sport.

Slade Prestwich from Scottburgh, winner of the JBU Supertrials, finishing third in his encounter and Durban’s Jordy Smith also placed third after an uncharacteristically low scoring performance that saw the current World No. 18 head directly to the medical facilities after his heat for treatment on a back spasm.

The holding period for the J-Bay Open runs until 19 July and the event can be watched live at worldsurfleague.com.

ENDS

Alejo Muniz Crowned 2015 Ballito Pro Champion

July 5th, 2015 No comments
Alejo Muniz (BRA) throws a sheet of spray on his way to victory in the Ballito Pro held in pristine conditions at Surfer’s Beach in KwaDukuza on Sunday  Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari

Alejo Muniz (BRA) throws a sheet of spray on his way to victory in the Ballito Pro held in pristine conditions at Surfer’s Beach in KwaDukuza on Sunday  Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari

Muniz Consolidates QS Rankings lead : Runner-up Dave Cathels leaps to No. 6

Alejo Muniz (BRA) won the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong at Surfer’s Beach in KwaDukuza on Sunday to consolidate his lead at the top of the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rankings.

Muniz, 25, defeated Davey Cathels (AUS) in the 40-minute Final held in pristine 1.0 to 1.5 metre beach break waves, dropping a near-perfect score of 9.33 out of 10 and adding a 7.83 to leave the 24 year-old Australian in a combination situation where he needed to replace both his counting rides.

The Brazilian had his name etched on the brand new trophy for the Ballito Pro and was elated to hear that his points tally now exceeded the projected cutoff for qualification Top 34 ranked surfers who will contest the elite Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT) in 2016.

“It’s been amazing and I would like to thank everyone that came down to the beach,” Muniz said. “I want to dedicate this trophy to my brother because he’s the one that is pushing me and he’s an amazing person, so I just try to be like him, a good person and really focus on surfing. Thanks all the Brazilians that came down to support me too, and I love Ballito.”

“That’s amazing news,” he added on hearing of the qualification scenario. “I’ve been there (on the CT) for 4 years and it’s a dream come true for us from Brazil to be able to surf against the best, against our idols. There is a lot work to do still but if you’re saying I’m in I believe you and thanks.”

Muniz dominated his Quarterfinal match-up against 17-year-old Kanoa Igarashi (USA), posting a pair of eight point rides, before easing past fellow Brazilian Caio Ibelli in their Semifinal clash with a pair of sevens to reach the Final in Ballito.

Cathels, who rocketed from No. 39 to sixth on the QS rankings after picking up 8 000 points for his runner-up finish in Ballito, was thankful for the time he spent in Ballito.

“It’s been great, I always love it here in Ballito. Everyone’s so nice and the waves were so good and I had a great time with my girlfriend, Mattie,” Cathels said. “I’d like to say great thanks to team Fletcher and his family, they always look after me every time I come here, and Julie and Beyrick de Vries and their family too. South Africans, you guys are always such welcoming people and thanks for having us in your home country.”

His route to the Final saw Cathels secure narrow victories in duels with compatriots Soli Bailey in the quarters and the Mitch Coleborn in the semis.

Caio Ibelli (BRA) moved up eight places to No. 3 on the QS rankings following his third place finish today and is determined to maintain his challenge for a place on the CT for 2016.

“The waves were really fun and I think I fell on my first wave that could have been the wave that would count at the end,” Ibelli said. “I couldn’t find the best wave to get the better score I needed but I’m happy with third, it’s a really good result. The third spot on the QS’s are huge for me and I’m going to keep training and surfing so I can hold that spot until the end of the year.”

Mitch Coleborn (AUS) felt like he missed out in his Semifinal loss to Cathels, but was happy to move into the top 10 in the rankings after finishing third overall in Ballito.

“It was really a shaky start and then I couldn’t come back in the end,” Coleborn said. “I’m still stoked to make it to the semifinal, but I feel like I missed a couple opportunities there so I’m a little bit rattled but it’s all good. I’ve got to stay in the top 10 now and just keep chipping away for the rest of the year.”

The Monster Energy Expression Session presented by Zigzag, run between the Semifinals and Final, saw 10 of South Africa’s most progressive surfers cut loose in the epic conditions with 17-year-old Matt McGillivray from Jeffreys Bay taking home the R20 000 winners paycheque for the most impressive performance during the 30 minute session.

The R25 000 for the Monster Energy Wave of the Week presented by Zigzag was awarded to Michael Rodrigues (BRA) who recorded the only perfect 10 point ride during Round 2 of the Ballito Pro.

The Ballito Pro Festival, the continent’s biggest beach festival, saw tens of thousands of locals and holiday-makers enjoy a week of beach, music and extreme sports entertainment, including some of the country’s best live acts at the Tropika Ballito Pro Music Concert Powered by 5FM at Salt Rock and a unique beachside retail precinct.

The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong was proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, Billabong, 5FM, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).

See more details on the 2015 Ballito Pro, the world’s longest running professional surfing event, at www.worldsurfleague.com and www.theballitopro.co.za

Ballito Men’s Pro Finals
1. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 17.16
2. Davey Cathels (AUS) 10.03

Ballito Men’s Pro Semi Finals
S1: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 15.37 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.63
S2: Davey Cathels (AUS) 13.33 def. Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 10.60

Ballito Men’s Pro Quarter Finals
Q1: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 16.50 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 13.33
Q2: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.17 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.57
Q3: Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 16.33 def. Santiago Muniz (ARG) 15.67
Q4: Davey Cathels (AUS) 14.27 def. Soli Bailey (AUS) 14.16

ENDS

PLEASE NOTE: High resolution images are available rights free to media organisations on request

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centres in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Surfing South Africa
The Ballito Pro, Ballito Women’s Pro and the Ballito Pro Trials, all presented by Billabong, are registered with Surfing South Africa, the governing body for the sport in South Africa and a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 082 699 4493
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

KwaDukuza Municipality and Organizers of the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong
Contact: Collette Bundy
Mobile: 072 287 9839
Email: collettebundy0@gmail.com

For more information about the beach festival, music concerts and Food & Wine festival please contact:

Olivia Jones Communications
Cell: 083 653 1720
Work: 031 303 9341
Email: media@oliviajones.co.za

ITS ON! – Ballito Pro Champion to be Crowned Today

July 5th, 2015 No comments
Ideal conditions at Surfer’s Beach on Sunday morning prompted organisers to get the finalday of the Ballito Pro underway at 8.45am  Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari

Ideal conditions at Surfer’s Beach on Sunday morning prompted organisers to get the finalday of the Ballito Pro underway at 8.45am  Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari

The final day of the 2015 Ballito Pro presented by Billabong got underway at 8.45am today (Sunday) in excellent 1.0 to 1.5 metre glassy waves a Surfer’s Beach in Ballito.

The 2015 Ballito Pro champion will be crowned today and his name will be etched on the magnificent new event trophy.

A QS 10,000 rated event on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS), the Ballito Pro started on Monday featuring 96 of the world’s best surfers. This has been whittled down to the last eight who contest the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Final today.

The Monster Energy Expression Session presented by Zigzag will be run between the Semifinals and Final featuring nine of South Africa’s most progressive surfers in the Ballito Pro and the Ballito pro Trials presented by Billabong, plus local standout Alan Johns. The surfer producing the most impressive performance during the 30 minute session will pocket R20 000.

The winner of the Monster Energy Wave of the Week presented by Zigzag is open all the surfers in the Ballito. Determined by video footage taken during the event, the winner takes home R25 000. See more details at http://theballitopro.com/expression-session/

The Final of Ballito Pro is scheduled for approximately 12.30pm today with the awards ceremony on the beach approximately an hour thereafter.

Ballito Pro Upcoming Quarter Final Match-Ups
Q1: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Q2: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Q3: Mitch Coleborn (AUS) vs. Santiago Muniz (ARG)
Q4: Davey Cathels (AUS) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)

Watch all the action at the Ballito Pro live at www.worldsurfleague.com and www.theballitopro.com

The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong is proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, Billabong, 5FM, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).

ENDS

PLEASE NOTE: High resolution images are available rights free to media organisations on request

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centres in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Surfing South Africa
The Ballito Pro, Ballito Women’s Pro and the Ballito Pro Trials, all presented by Billabong, are registered with Surfing South Africa, the governing body for the sport in South Africa and a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 082 699 4493
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

KwaDukuza Municipality and Organizers of the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong
Contact: Collette Bundy
Mobile: 072 287 9839
Email: collettebundy0@gmail.com

For more information about the beach festival, music concerts and Food & Wine festival please contact:

Olivia Jones Communications
Cell: 083 653 1720
Work: 031 303 9341
Email: media@oliviajones.co.za

High Flying Tactics as Quarterfinalists Decided at Ballito Pro

July 4th, 2015 No comments
Ballito Pro top Seed Italo Ferreira (BRA) soars above the lip of the wave on his way to the highest single ride and heat tally of the day at Surfer’s Beach in Ballito on Saturday. Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari

Ballito Pro top Seed Italo Ferreira (BRA) soars above the lip of the wave on his way to the highest single ride and heat tally of the day at Surfer’s Beach in Ballito on Saturday. Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari

Alejo Muniz Jumps to Top of QS Rankings as Brazilians and Australians Dominate on Day 6

The world’s best surfers took to air at the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong on Saturday, performing gravity defying manoeuvres above the lip of the overhead, onshore waves at Willard Beach in KwaDukuza.

The last 24 competitors in the QS 10,000 rated event on the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) held nothing back, attacking the waves at Bather’s Beach during Round 3 in the morning and then boosting their way into the last 8 after the contest was moved 300 metres north to Surfer’s Beach for Round 4.

Alejo Muniz (BRA), No. 3 on the QS coming into Ballito, jumped to the top of the rankings when he comprehensively outpointed Medi Veminardi (REU) in Heat 1 of the Round of 16. Muniz relished the more powerful waves at Surfer’s Beach, dropping three scores in the excellent range (over 8.00 out of 10), with the top two totalling 17.16.

“Moving the event was the right choice,” Muniz said. “Here you can push on your turns more. As soon as I knew that they were going to change I tried to set up my mind to surf differently and I think it worked really well.”

“Going to the top of the rankings is very important. I was on the CT for four years and when I got out last year I felt like I could I could do it better, so I’m trying to get back to prove to myself that I can do it better. I know it’s a long way until the end of the year and I’m not thinking about winning, just about making heats.”

Seventeen year-old Kanoa Igarashi (USA), ranked No. 84 and on his first trip to South Africa, surprised former CT member Joan Duru (FRA) in their Round 4 duel by posting a massive 9.23 point ride to overtake the Frenchman and then extended his lead with a further 7.40.

“I was pretty out of rhythm that heat and just took a deep breath to reset my mind,” Igarashi said. “The first wave that came after that was the 9. It was such a perfect wave and I was in good position and surfed my hardest on it.”

“It’s my first time in South Africa and I love it so much. This is a huge result for me. I’m going jump up probably about 50, 60, 70 spots and that’s a huge confidence booster for my year, so I’m super excited.”

Muniz and Igarashi will face off in the first of the Quarterfinal heats on Sunday morning.

Mitch Coleborn (AUS) was another who benefitted from the move to Surfers Beach. The goofyfoot (rides with right foot in front) targeted the left breaking waves and used the wind to complete a huge slob-air that netted him an 8.17 and added a 7.33 to win his heat against fellow Australian and close friend Mitch Crews.

“I was with one of my buddies and I didn’t get the start that I wanted. Finally towards the end of the heat I found those two waves,” Coleborn said. “That was what I was looking for the whole time, those little southerly ramps into the wind. I’m stoked to make it the quarters. It’s my best result all year and hopefully I can keep the momentum going.”

Top seed Italo Ferreira (BRA) upped his game after finishing runner-up to compatriot Caio Ibelli in Round 4. The current World No. 8 progressed to the last eight with a consummate display of competition surfing, earning a near-perfect 9.40, the highest single ride of the day, for an incredibly high forehand aerial manoeuvre.

“My last wave was great. I did a big front side air on my first wave but I didn’t land it so I tried again and it worked,” Ferreira said. “I was so stoked when the heat ended and I’m super excited for the quarters.”

Ferreira faces Ibelli in the Quarterfinals in a rematch of their Round 3 encounter after Ibelli dispatched Ezekiel Lau, the last Hawaiian in the event. Coleborn is up against Santiago Muniz (ARG), the brother of Alejo, and the last of quarters sees an all-Australian duel between Davey Cathels and Soli Bailey.

The organisers will convene at 7am to decide on when to start the final day of competition. The 2015 Ballito Pro champion will be crowned on Sunday and all the action can be watched live at www.worldsurfleague.com and www.theballitopro.com

The Monster Energy Expression Session presented by Zigzag will be run between the Semifinals and Final featuring nine of the most progressive surfers in the event plus local standout Alan Johns. The surfer producing the most impressive performance during the 30 minute session will pocket R20 000. The winner of the Monster Energy Wave of the Week presented by Zigzag determined by video footage taken during the event takes home R25 000. See more details at http://theballitopro.com/expression-session/

The Ballito Pro Festival, the continent’s biggest beach festival, also comes to an end on Sunday after a week of beach, music and extreme sports entertainment. The final Tropika Ballito Pro Music Concert Powered by 5FM will be held at Salt Rock on Saturday evening.

The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong is proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, Billabong, 5FM, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).

Ballito Pro Upcoming Quarter Final Match-Ups
Q1: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Q2: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Q3: Mitch Coleborn (AUS) vs. Santiago Muniz (ARG)
Q4: Davey Cathels (AUS) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)

Ballito Men’s Pro Round 4 Results
H1: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 17.16 def. Medi Veminardi (REU) 14.90
H2: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 16.63 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 13.94
H3: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 17.90 def. Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 13.67
H4: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.67 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.66
H5: Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 15.50 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 12.63
H6: Santiago Muniz (ARG) 14.10 def. Marc Lacomare (FRA) 12.83
H7: Davey Cathels (AUS) 14.17 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 14.07
H8: Soli Bailey (AUS) 10.66 def. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 9.50

Ballito Men’s Pro Round 3 Results
H1: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 16.50, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 12.50, Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.87
H2: Joan Duru (FRA) 13.83, Medi Veminardi (REU) 12.13, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 11.43
H3: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 14.43, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.96, Brent Dorrington (AUS) 11.10
H4: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.10, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.44, David do Carmo (BRA) 9.80
H5: Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 14.23, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 12.06, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 11.73
H6: Santiago Muniz (ARG) 15.83, Mitch Crews (AUS) 14.43, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 13.17
H7: Davey Cathels (AUS) 15.20, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 15.10, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 14.10
H8: Soli Bailey (AUS) 16.37, Heitor Alves (BRA) 15.93, Jadson Andre (BRA) 15.50

ENDS

PLEASE NOTE: High resolution images are available rights free to media organisations on request

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centres in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Surfing South Africa
The Ballito Pro, Ballito Women’s Pro and the Ballito Pro Trials, all presented by Billabong, are registered with Surfing South Africa, the governing body for the sport in South Africa and a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 082 699 4493
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

KwaDukuza Municipality and Organizers of the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong
Contact: Collette Bundy
Mobile: 072 287 9839
Email: collettebundy0@gmail.com

For more information about the beach festival, music concerts and Food & Wine festival please contact:

Olivia Jones Communications
Cell: 083 653 1720
Work: 031 303 9341
Email: media@oliviajones.co.za

Bumper Weekend of Action Predicted for Ballito Pro Following Successive Lay Days

July 3rd, 2015 No comments
Joan Duru (FRA), a former WSL Championship Tour campaigner, is up against Medi Veminardi (REU) and Billy Stairmand (NZL) in the Heat 2 of Round 3 of the Ballito Pro at Willard Beach when competition resumes  Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari

Joan Duru (FRA), a former WSL Championship Tour campaigner, is up against Medi Veminardi (REU) and Billy Stairmand (NZL) in the Heat 2 of Round 3 of the Ballito Pro at Willard Beach when competition resumes  Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari

Last 24 Set to Explode in Predicted Overhead Surf and Glassy Conditions

A second successive lay day on Friday has set up an explosive weekend of action at the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong as the last 24 in the event fight it out for the prestigious title and coveted rankings points.

The third of nine QS 10,000 rated events on the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series, the Ballito Pro offers the highest level of rankings points available to surfers seeking to qualify for the elite Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT) which decides the annual World Champion.

After a lay day due to small waves on Thursday, organisers met at 8am on Friday and put the event on hold several times to monitor conditions before deciding to call it off at 1pm. With an increase in swell size and windless conditions predicted for the next two days, WSL QS Commissioner Travis Logie opted to return at 7am on Saturday and is hoping to restart competition at 7.15am.

“There were actually some really fun waves this morning, but I knew that if we started running we’d put some later heats in jeopardy,” Logie said. “We probably would have one or two good heats and then the third or fourth heat would have struggled.”

“This afternoon we were hoping for a tide push but unfortunately the onshore came through pretty strong. The forecast is so good for tomorrow and the next day that it’s not worth just running heats for the sake of it.”

When competition resumes in Heat 1 of Round 3, current QS No. 3, Alejo Muniz (BRA) takes on Kanoa Igarashi (USA), the last mainland American in contention, and CT No. 24 Keanu Asing (HAW) in a three-man clash where the top two advance to man-on-man encounters in the Round of 16.

Medi Veminardi from Reunion Island faces Billy Stairmand and former CT campaigner Joan Duru (FRA) in Heat 2 while top seed and current World No. 8, Italo Ferreira, meets compatriots David do Carmo and Caio Ibelli in an all Brazilian match-up in Heat 4.

Event standout Michael Rodrigues (BRA), who has posted the only perfect 10-point ride and the two highest heat tallies to date, will be up against Australians Davey Cathels and Connor O’Leary in Heat 7.

The heat formats change to man-on-man competition from the Round of 16 with the winner advancing and the loser eliminated, until the last two remaining surfers contest the Final on Sunday. The winner takes home R500 000 and adds 10 000 rankings points to his season’s tally.

The window period for the Ballito Pro runs until Sunday 5 July and all the action can be watched live while the contest is running at www.worldsurfleague.com and www.theballitopro.com

The competitors in the Ballito Pro are also competing for valuable specialty prizes in the Monster Energy Expression Session presented by Zigzag and the Monster Energy Wave of the Week presented by Zigzag which will reward the respective winners with R20 000 and R25 000 each. See more details at http://theballitopro.com/expression-session/

While the surfers ride the waves, the Ballito Pro Festival is set to turn up the heat in KwaDukuza by offering the best in beach, music and extreme sports entertainment. Locals and holiday-makers will be spoilt for choice with the week-long festival featuring an
extreme sports programme, the Coastal Living Bru Food & Wine Festival and an exciting retail area while the Tropika Ballito Pro Music Concerts Powered by 5FM bring some of South Africa’s most talented music acts to the stage in Salt Rock.

The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong is proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, Billabong, 5FM, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).

Ballito Pro: Upcoming Round 3 Match-Ups

H1: Alejo Muniz (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Keanu Asing (HAW)
H2: Medi Veminardi (REU), Billy Stairmand (NZL), Joan Duru (FRA)
H3: Brent Dorrington (AUS), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
H4: Italo Ferreira (BRA), David do Carmo (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA)
H5: Marc Lacomare (FRA), Mitch Coleborn (AUS), Stu Kennedy (AUS)
H6: Santiago Muniz (ARG), Gony Zubizarreta (ESP), Mitch Crews (AUS)
H7: Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Davey Cathels (AUS), Connor O’Leary (AUS)
H8: Heitor Alves (BRA), Soli Bailey (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)

ENDS

PLEASE NOTE: High resolution images are available rights free to media organisations on request

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centres in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Surfing South Africa
The Ballito Pro, Ballito Women’s Pro and the Ballito Pro Trials, all presented by Billabong, are registered with Surfing South Africa, the governing body for the sport in South Africa and a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 082 699 4493
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

KwaDukuza Municipality and Organizers of the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong
Contact: Collette Bundy
Mobile: 072 287 9839
Email: collettebundy0@gmail.com

For more information about the beach festival, music concerts and Food & Wine festival please contact:

Olivia Jones Communications
Cell: 083 653 1720
Work: 031 303 9341
Email: media@oliviajones.co.za

Last 24 Determined on Day 3 of Ballito Pro

July 1st, 2015 No comments
Mitch Crews (AUS) displaces buckets of water as he jams a full rail cutback on his way to winning his Round 2 heat and advancing to the last 24 in the Ballito Pro on Wednesday   Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari

Mitch Crews (AUS) displaces buckets of water as he jams a full rail cutback on his way to winning his Round 2 heat and advancing to the last 24 in the Ballito Pro on Wednesday   Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari

Rodriques shines again as Brazilian Storm makes waves in South Africa

The 96-man field of the world’s best surfers in the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong was reduced to 24 when Round 2 of the QS 10,000 rated event was completed in one metre waves at the backup venue of Bather’s Beach in Ballito on Wednesday.

Once again it was Michael Rodrigues (BRA) that shone, delivering the day’s highest single ride score – 9.00 out of 10 – and the highest heat total – 17.40 out of 20 – by combining carving turns and high-flying above-the-lip manoeuvres that perfectly matched the criteria for high performance surfing.

Rodrigues was joined by six compatriots, the aptly named Brazilian Storm, in Round 3 with top seed and current World No. 8 Italo Ferreira, Alejo Muniz, and Heitor Alves also winning their respective Round of 48 encounters.

Ferreira produced a particularly impressive performance, upping his game to claim the second highest heat total of the day – 16.70 – and was happy with his showing.

“That heat was great and I got good lefts and I did some airs,” Ferreira said. “My board is amazing and I’m super confident for the next round. I hope to keep it going and my focus is to get a good result in the event.”

Marc Lacomare (FRA) produced a surprise when he and veteran Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) ended the chances of former elite Top 34 competitors Dion Atkinson and fellow Australian Yadin Nicol. The Frenchman earned the heat’s highest score, a 7.67, and then clinched the win with a 6.77.

“The conditions looked difficult so I knew I wouldn’t get many opportunities and I tried to wait for the right wave and not fall,” Lacomare said. “After a really slow start I got the scores I needed, it was kind of nerve racking but I’m stoked. This contest means a lot but I’m try to not think about it. I just take it heat by heat and will see at the end of the week where that takes me.”

Other Frenchmen to advance included Joan Duru (FRA), Maxime Huscenot (FRA) and Media Veminardi from the French province of Reunion Island, who all won their respective Round 2 encounters, with Veminardi posting an excellent 16.30 heat tally.

Mitch Crews, who spent a year on the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT), was today’s top performer among the strong Australian contingent in the world’s longest running professional surfing event. He earned a pair of scores in the excellent range (8.00 or more out of 10) to progress along with second placed compatriot Stu Kennedy.

“It was a really tough heat, everyone was ripping, so I was stoked to progress over all the boys,” Crews said. “I was thinking just catch waves because it was pretty slow as the tide changed and the heats before everyone was getting through with 4’s and 5’s. It’s a pretty important event and I love coming here and am in a good mindset.”

South Africa’s participation in the event ended when David van Zyl (ZAF) from Glenashley placed thrid in Heat 8 and exited in 25th pace overall, taking home US $1 900 (approx. R20 000) and 1 100 rankings points.

After studying the predicted wave and weather predictions for the remainder of the contest window, the organisers have called for a lay day on Thursday and will reconvene at 7.00am on Friday morning to make a call on when to restart the competition.

When action resumes, first up will be Alejo Muniz (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), the last mainland American in contention, and Keanu Asing (HAW) in a three-man clash where the top two advance to man-on-man encounters in the Round of 16.

The window period for the Ballito Pro runs until Sunday 5 July and all the action can be watched live while the contest is running at www.worldsurfleague.com and www.theballitopro.com

The competitors in the Ballito Pro are also be competing for valuable specialty prizes in the Monster Energy Expression Session presented by Zigzag and the Monster Energy Wave of the Week presented by Zigzag which will reward the respective winners with R20 000 and R25 000 each. See more details at http://theballitopro.com/expression-session/

While the surfers ride the waves, the Ballito Pro Festival is set to turn up the heat in KwaDukuza by offering the best in beach, music and extreme sports entertainment. Locals and holiday-makers will be spoilt for choice with the week-long festival featuring an
extreme sports programme, the Coastal Living Bru Food & Wine Festival and an exciting retail area while the Tropika Ballito Pro Music Concerts Powered by 5FM bring some of South Africa’s most talented music acts to the stage in Salt Rock.

The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong is proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, Billabong, 5FM, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).

Ballito Pro Round 2 Results

H1: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.80, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 14.00, Matt Banting (AUS) 12.73, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 11.76
H2: Medi Veminardi (REU) 16.40, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 14.10, Marco Fernandez (BRA) 12.17, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.14
H3: Joan Duru (FRA) 15.00, Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.94, Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 10.80, Tomas Fernandes (PRT) 10.74
H4: Brent Dorrington (AUS) 13.70, David do Carmo (BRA) 13.10, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 11.60, Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) 11.23
H5: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 15.33, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.16, Hiroto Arai (JPN) 11.40, Flavio Nakagima (BRA) 3.50
H6: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.50, Lau Ezekiel (HAW) 9.80, Perth Standlick (AUS) 9.66, Glenn Hall (IRL) 9.17
H7: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 14.44, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 13.33, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 10.76, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 9.60
H8: Santiago Muniz (ARG) 14.34, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 12.86, David Van Zyl (ZAF) 11.00, Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.80
H9: Mitch Crews (AUS) 16.20, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 15.87, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 12.67, Jose Ferreira (PRT) 8.60
H10: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 17.40, Soli Bailey (AUS) 14.10, Alex Smith (HAW) 12.43, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 11.10
H11: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 14.37, Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.23, Lucas Silveira (BRA) 13.17, Michael Dunphy (USA) 12.40
H12: Davey Cathels (AUS) 15.00, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 14.53, Thomas Woods (AUS) 14.06, Heitor Alves (BRA) 5.97

ENDS

PLEASE NOTE: High resolution images are available rights free to media organisations on request

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centres in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Surfing South Africa
The Ballito Pro, Ballito Women’s Pro and the Ballito Pro Trials, all presented by Billabong, are registered with Surfing South Africa, the governing body for the sport in South Africa and a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 082 699 4493
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

KwaDukuza Municipality and Organizers of the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong
Contact: Collette Bundy
Mobile: 072 287 9839
Email: collettebundy0@gmail.com

For more information about the beach festival, music concerts and Food & Wine festival please contact:

Olivia Jones Communications
Cell: 083 653 1720
Work: 031 303 9341
Email: media@oliviajones.co.za