Julian Wilson has just claimed the Mr Price Pro Ballito over crowd favourite and fellow Dream Tour surfer Jordy Smith in clean and wedging peaks at Surfer’s Point. After taking an early lead, Jordy eventually lost the advantage when the Australian hit a hot streak mid-heat to register a combination that included a perfect ten, before backing that up with an 8.93 to leave the big South African in dreaded ‘combo-land’ by heat’s end.
“Sorry I didn’t win guys, I tried my best!” said Jordy to the local crowd during the awards ceremony. Then, talking about Julian’s ten point-ride in their match-up Jordy recalled watching his opponent “try about a million of them and not land one” during their trip to Reunion while filming for Jordy’s signature movie Bending Colours – admitting his surprise at seeing Julian land the off-axis spin made popular by fellow Dream Tour competitor Josh Kerr (dubbed the Kerr-Azy flip) in the final.
Julian’s win, which follows a great quarter-final finish at last month’s Oakley Pro Bali, should ensure that he leaves our shores with re-newed confidence as the Dream Tour heads to the much-anticipated Billabong Pro Tahiti, which kicks-off on 15 August.
Despite losing the final, Jordy’s performance this week will also see him take some good form along to Teahupo’o next month. If you factor that in with Jordy’s recent performance at the Volcom Fiji Pro – which showed massive improvement in his backside surfing in big barreling lefts – he’ll be looking for a solid result to improve on his current 4th in the ASP world rankings, and get himself solidly wedged alongside tour leader Mick Fanning and second-placed Kelly Slater in the hunt for the title.
A little further back in the draw and not making the final day, north coast local Beyrick de Vries and J-Bay’s Dylan Lightfoot both secured excellent results in the Prime event.
Following a runner-up spot at the recent 6-Star Los Cabos Open of Surf, Beyrick’s equal 9th at the Mr Price Pro will go a long way towards moving him up the ASP One World Rankings. There’s still a long way to go before 2014 Dream Tour spots are locked-in, but with a solid upturn in the Umhlanga local’s performances this year on tour, his current 35th in the world is a good position to currently find himself in.
Supertubes local Dylan Lightfoot was contesting his first ever Prime event (only the Top 96 in the world qualify for Prime events, with Dylan earning a wildcard spot the week prior). His equal 17th from a start as a wildcard will be just the kind of result he needed to help him start working towards a spot amongst the Top 96 and an automatic invite to all the Prime events in 2014.
For more photos, video highlights and results from the Mr Price Pro Ballito visit: www.mrpricepro.com
Official press release below.
Julian Wilson Crowned 2013 Mr Price Pro Ballito Champion
Ballito, South Africa, (Saturday July 6, 2013) – Australian Julian Wilson, 24, (Coolum Beach, QLD) has won the ASP Prime Mr Price Pro Ballito, defeating Jordy Smith, 25, (Cape Town, ZAF) in a memorable Final at Willard’s Beach on Saturday July 6, 2013.
Stop No. 3 of 8 on the ASP Prime Series culminated with the most anticipated match-up of this year’s competition – event standouts, Smith and Wilson, living up to expectation with inspired performances in front of a capacity crowd.
“I’m really happy to get the win!” Wilson said of his 18.93 to 16.70 victory over Smith. “It’s my third time in Durban and I’ve gotten a good result each time. I really enjoy spending time here, it’s a great place with friendly people where I feel warm and comfortable. It definitely helps with my results.”
While Smith assumed an early lead to put Wilson in a combination situation (needing a combination of two scores) with his 7.67 and 8.83 (out of ten) scores, it was Wilson’s high-risk approach that was rewarded.
Knowing he needed something extra-ordinary to take the win, Wilson put everything on the line, completing an extremely critical Alley Oop aerial maneuver to score the first perfect 10 of this year’s competition.
Following up with a 8.93 slob grab reverse aerial maneuver, Wilson cemented his win over the local favourite and was chaired up the beach as the deserved 2013 Mr Price Pro Ballito Champion.
“Jordy put the pressure on me at the start but there were plenty of opportunities and I just had to flip the heat and put some scores on the board,” Wilson said. “That was the first time I’ve landed that air in a contest and I had to do something because I had my back against the wall. I’m stoked I could pull it off and come away with the win.”
Wilson is the second Australian to win the event since Chris Davidson (AUS) in 2008 and has pocketed R407 500 (US$40 000), rocketing to World No. 1 on the ASP World Rankings.
Smith had a dream run through to the final with flawless performances and perfect scores as he defeated Aritz Aranburu (EUK) in the Quarterfinals and Stu Kennedy (AUS) in the semifinals.
Unfortunately for Smith it was not the dream finish he’d hoped for, nonetheless pocketing R207 500 (US$20 000) and assuming the World No. 2 position.
“It was an honour to surf in the final against Julian, I’m just sorry I didn’t win it,” Smith said. “Julian stuck that air and it was amazing. I went on a trip to Reunion with him and he tried it a million times and didn’t make it and then he goes into the final and sticks it first time!”
The Australian contingent proved the most dominant on the final day of competition, with Stu Kennedy and Mitch Crews reaching the semi finals and placing equal third respectively.
Crews brought his big match temperament to an all-important semi final clash against Wilson. Producing a full repertoire of maneuvers, Crews was unfortunate not to find the near perfect score needed to beat the polished and more experienced Wilson.
Crews advanced from World No. 39 to World No. 27.
“I’m really happy to get all the way to the Semis and to surf against Julian,” Crews said. “Jordy and Julian have been standouts all event and there’s not much you can do when they’ve got you. This is a big result for me and I hope to continue my run and get a bunch more results to make the tour next year.”
Kennedy suffered a case of nerves against Smith in their semifinal match up. Feeling the pressure against the local favourite, Kennedy went for big turns but was uncharacteristically not able to stick them. The Australian was defeated in a combination situation.
Kennedy rockets from World No. 53 to 31 and will be looking to climb the ladder in the hope of qualifying for the WCT in 2014.
The Mr Price Pro Ballito enjoyed six days of action packed world-class surfing as Willard’s Beach delivered great waves and capacity crowds.
The action continues tonight with the Free Music Concerts on the Beach at Salt Rock and more exciting Festival activities at the Mr Price Pro Ballito Beach Festival tomorrow.
Log on to www.mrpriceproballito.com for more information including highlights and results.
Julian Wilson (AUS) 18.93 def Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.70
Semi Final Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.80 def Stu Kennedy (AUS) 9.90
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.00 def Mitch Crews (AUS) 12.33
Quarter Final Results:
Heat 1: Stu Kennedy (AUS) 12.70 def Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 12.16
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.36 def Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 11.34
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.40 def David Do Carmo (BRA) 9.44
Heat 4: Mitch Crews (AUS) 13.84 def Mason Ho (HAW) 11.07
Remaining Round 16 Results:
Heat 7: Mitch Crews (AUS) 12.17 def Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 10.74
Heat 8: Mason Ho (HAW) 14.67 def Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.26