Well, you can’t have your cake and eat it mate! Today the swell dropped off considerably from yesterdays clean 3-5ft peelers to some dribbly 2-foot knee high rollers. But, what did remain consistent was the damn fine weather, another groovy day in Ballito, baby!
The energy around the event site was a lot more subdued, either as a result of the laid back treffers or just the general ambiance and subdued swell. If yesterday was SoCal Punk, today was Deep House. Personally, I was just frothing to see the next set of Saffas take to the brine, cue Dylan Lightfoot in Heat 8 and Jake Elkington straight after. There was also the hope that the big man himself, Jordy Smith would make an appearance just around 12 pm, when the tide was full, not ideal I know, but the beach was frothing.
Prior to his heat, Dylan Lightfoot resembled a majestic Amazonian Puma, lurking in the shadows looking fierce, focused and fired up. The man was in the zone, possibly in the danger zone, a good place to be as he would need to be calculated coming up against Jack Freestone, Lucca Mesinas and yesterdays chief Wiggolly Dantas. Jack ‘in the box’ Freestone came out firing in the small conditions with a quick fire 7.3 and a respectable 5.83 to put the pressure on the boys out back.
Wiggolly was ready though, licking his chops at the 2 ft glassy waves and like a sharpshooter from the Wild West, popped a pair of sevens off his first two waves seeing him wrestle the win from ol Jack. Dylan certainly had his back against the ropes requiring an excellent score to see him through to the next round. With the final seconds of the heat ticking away Dylan did what he could, dropping two late rides with the best coming in at a 3.77, alas the man from J-Bay was forced to close up shop, the 8.33 just a touch out of reach, considering the conditions, he would have needed a mutant to roll through.
Jake Elkington, Soli Bailey, Reef Heazlewood, Joh Azuchi… another ball buster of a heat was up next. Jake seemed a little rattled as he battled against the worlds best, making two critical errors on waves that could have provided a decent score to put him in a defendable position. Waves went buy, lips were sliced and diced and petty floaters were aplenty.
Coming down to the wire, heat 6 was a showdown. As we moved into the final 10 minutes, it was gonna be a battle for second place. Jake busting a big aerial just before the buzzer went which startled a couple of the lighties on the beach, one kid actually screamed out ‘I hate horns’. All the rhinos on the beach feeling the hate speech, not cool bro. Reef Heazlewood went on to obliterate his 30-minute colleagues with an impressive 8.43 backed up by a 7.33. He really showed some super technical high risk stuff in the small sections, absolutely critical. A strong showing from the Aussie. Now, with the beach comparable to the Oi Rio Pro we waited for Jordy. Come on Big Guy, where you at?!
Prior to Jordy’s heat, the word on the beach was the contest would be called due to the real testing conditions. What was once 2ft soon became 1ft, something many of the QS grinders were accustomed to. But, the beach was PACKED, if you didn’t know better you’d think it was finals day. So Jordy, the face of the event was in the water and the beach was humming, like a mosquito (but in a good way).
The energy was electric and even though the ocean was lobbing some little ledges (or where they waves, tough to tell?) the vibe was great and those out in the water did what they do best to give the people a show. As I tried my best not to be grip and smash JBL speakers blasting music from some shitty SoundCloud rappers from the groms, Jordy was doing what he does best, crazy to think such a heavy man could just tear apart small waves like that. It was almost criminal. With a tail high move here, and a little snap over there, and one big air revo there, BOOM, Jordy was through to the next round, winning his heat as he banked a 7.7 on his last wave!! No lukka Jords!
Climbing out the water, the man was swamped by not only groms, but ‘fangirling’ ballies on the beach. I didn’t even blink and Jordy had the Iconic Red Bull hat and Oakley shades on his kop. Where was he stashing those? Under his mullet, maybe?
Following heat 12, the call was made: Heat 13 would be the last of the day. Everything following Jordy’s heat seemed rather procedural, so we ramped up the vibe and moved straight into the 2nd Monster Cash Up. A little divine intervention saw that flat spell bump up a notch, possibly a rogue bit of groundswell, offering up a solid little ramp section for the swarms of surfers out in the water. The Live feed was streaming through our Facebook (catch up below) and taking home the dolla this round was the Monster man himself, Beyrick de Vries. Hearing his name blasted out of the speakers, the man basically ran across the water, paused to sign some autographs, and was fully pumped to collect his winnings. Good job mate! See all of you tomorrow for more action!