28 June, 2018 28 June, 2018

Ballito Pro pres by Billabong – Day 4

It certainly was a sad day of surfing at the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong. The final South African left in the draw, Matthew McGillivary, was knocked out of the event, leaving a field of internationals to spar for top honours. We started off with a record number of South Africans in the draw, and they all got knocked before the 4th round. Bummer. Anyway, let us not dwell on the negative, we still have a truckload of red-hot action ahead of us. And we love surfing, and we love watching surfing, so buckle up, the action’s about to get crazy.  

We absolutely adore Ricardo Christie’s surfing. He’s smooth powerful and surfs with a certain 80’s hair flick flair. He’s through to round 5 where he will face Imaikalani deVault. Image: WSL / Cestari

Griffin Colapinto:

Ahhhh the jovial Californian that’s stolen our hearts. There are many overhyped sponsored kids who make the Championship Tour, names that are predicted to change the world of surfing and go for titles straight off the bat. But more often than not, these kids get slapped back down by the veterans, cut down to size, painting a picture that they’re not all their sponsors have built them up to be, but Griffin’s a bit different. He stepped on the CT and claimed a 3rd place result at his first event on tour. Boom. And he’s maintained a fairly solid showing through the year thus far.

Griffin’s a jovial character, we’ve seen him hanging ‘round the contest site smiling and laughing continuously. And why shouldn’t he be stoked, Billabong’s loading his account with more dollar than he can spend, girls are smiling at him all over the globe, his DM’s are full, and he’s one of the most exciting surfers in the world right now. He’s like an 18-year-old John Frusciante when the Red Hot Chilli Peppers asked John to join the band. Could life get any better!? You’re eighteen and you just got asked to play guitar for the band of your dreams. You’ve pretty much gone from being an ordinary snot nose grom to a demigod overnight.

Griffin hasn’t blown up in this event just yet, but he’s displayed a certain nonchalance in his heats. Cruising through the draw and two heat wins with ease. Where everyone’s been throwing the kitchen sink at the problem, Griffin’s thrown the small plastic plug at the same issue and come out on top. We reckon he’s got ample left to give, and he’ll bring that to the fore as competition heats up.

Young girls by smiling at Griffin all over this globe. Image: WSL / Cestari

Wade Carmichael 

Wade Carmichael is like Gimli from Lord of the Rings. You know Gimli, the ax-wielding dwarf warrior, son of Glóin. Wade is like Gimli, not in the way that he’s short, in fact, he’s probably one of taller surfers on the Q, but rather in the way that he’s a powerfully solid character, with a low centre of gravity that won’t get knocked down. 

Wade doesn’t ever rely on acrobatics and new age trickery to get through heats, instead, he sticks to the fundamentals of good power surfing. Swinging that filthy ax round like a madman destroying lips like Gimli destroyed orces. 

Wade never cuts a turn short, once he starts swinging that damn heavy ax, it’s going all the way around, no matter who’s on the hundred and eighth degree of his swing. Wade could easily win this event and it’d be a great day for fundamentalists if he did.

The ax-wielding Carmichael strikes again. Image: WSL / Cestari

Jack Freestone

You never know with Freestone, what sort of attitude he’s bringing to an event. Sometimes Jack looks overworked and unengaged. And rightfully so, when you go from CT event to CT event, to a QS event, a Billabong ‘Life’s Better in Boardshorts’ shoot to another QS event without returning home, you’d also feel pretty drained. Jack has fallen off the CT, he did a couple of QS events at the beginning of the season, but other than that he hasn’t been too active on the competition front. Jack looks reenergised, he looks focused, driven and hungry for points. A newborn baby and the price of nappies will do that to a man. 

The waves at Ballito look pretty similar to what Jack exposes himself to at his home break of Duranbah. A peaky, wedgey sand bottom grindy little beach break. The wave is tricky to surf, and it unloads unreasonably fast on the inside bank, but Freestone knows how to deal with the issue at hand. Like a seasoned parent dealing with a toddler displaying a tantrum in the toys aisle at the Shoprite, Jack spanked the lip and placed the wave in line and his scores on the board.

Jack Freestone’s looking engaged and hungry. And we love it when Jack’s on form. Image: WSL / Cestari

Yago Dora

We thank the lord every night for surfers like Yago Dora. Two days ago we wrote about how fantastic it is having airs in your arsenal of weaponry to make it through heats. Well, Yago Dora just displayed how sharp that blade really is. 

While everyone in Yago’s heat battled for the inside position at the rock out back, Yago snuck off quietly by himself and sat on the lefts in the middle of the beach. It was from there that he unleashed a hailstorm of airs complimented by high scores on his competitors. And his airs only got bigger and more inverted with each attempt. Soon all his competitors who tried to build a house on the rock-solid foundation of fundamental surfing found that Yago’s hailstorm of airs had washed their houses away. By the time his competitors realised that hustling for priority by the rock was a frivolous ordeal, Yago already had his competitor’s combo’d, courtesy of a 9.77 and a 9.40. Can’t wait to see him take to the skies tomorrow. 

Yago Dora put on an aerial exhibition in his round 3 heat combo’ing his competitors. Image: WSL / Cestari

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