The World Qualifying Series is made up of just over 1000 surfers all applying for the same 10 available positions on the Championship Tour. Their applications take them all round the globe, often to the ass end of nowhere in search of points which will see their CV’s accepted and find full-time gainful employment with the world’s elite on the Championship Tour. They’re pretty much global point hunters, with each contest adding to that golden cumulative number!
So as the hordes of championship tour hopefuls (and the WCT bubblers, needing to shore up their QS plan-b for re-qualification in 2018) descend onto the shores of Ballito for the first QS 10 000 event of the year in search of further points, here’s a cheeky list of contenders to watch out for…
“Tryna get a drivers license and buy some cars!” – anybody remember when Hiroto Ohhara took out the US Open of Surfing in 2015? When asked what he was ganna do with the US $100 000 he calmly stated the above… buy some cars! Yep Hiroto is surfing’s very own young thug. But check his small wave game and you’ll understand what a threat he is. And if he qualifies for the big league at the end of the year, he’ll be the first Japanese to do so!
Alex Ribeiro came to South Africa hot as hell! He took out two events back to back and now he’s looking at the Ballito Pro for the hat trick! While the country was facing a drought, Alex came to SA and made it rain. For himself. He took out the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing presented by Hurley and backed up with a win in CT at the Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro presented by O’Neill. If winning is a habit, Mr Ribeiro has set himself up quite nicely heading into the first QS 10 000 of the year in Ballito.
The lanky brother hailing from Cape Town has been on a filthy roll. He blitzed his way through the Volkswagen City Surf Series coming 1st, 2nd and 1st. Mfeb comes to Ballito ranked 21st on the qualifying series, and that tall, dark and handsome man with the stylish fro, who drives a vintage 1970’s cream Mercedes, has put himself in striking distance of qualification.
Mr Mendes has been round town for a long time. Gallivanting around the globe, to and fro, in search of them precious QS points. But regardless, we don’t seem to know much about the homey. Mendes won the Australian Open of Surfing in 1.5 foot waves and more recently fought his way to top honours at the Gotcha Ichinomiya Shida Open in Japan in absolutely horrendous one foot slop. So it’s pretty much safe to say, Mendes shreds in waves smaller than 2 foot. If Mendes converts his current QS lead into a CT position, the brother better spend some time, in maybe, three foot surf. But alas, he still leads the QS heading into Ballito, so what can we say, nothing.
Beyrick de Vries
de Vries started off the year with a couple of poor results at the VolksWagen City Surf Series. But in Japan, the land of the rising sun, Beyrick de Vries rose his performance levels. Perhaps it was all the raw fish, or maybe all the wasabi lit a fire under his bum? Needless to say, de Vries went out and wasabi’d the lip in Japan to garnish himself with a quarter final finish. Placing himself on 27th wrung of the QS, like Mfeb, in striking distance of the elite.
If you don’t know the Kidd, best you do your research. The young man shreds and he just took out the SSA Ballito Trials presented by Billabong. Local knowledge can often times be more precious then gold, and Richard lacks none of that. He took down an army of hot young local surfers with style to burn. Using that home-base knowledge to great effect. Hopefully his red hot surfing and understanding of his home contours, helps to take down some overly hyped names.
Stay tuned for further updates on all happening at the Ballito pro presented by Billabong.
Report by Cyle Myers.