The Ballito Pro was greeted with a slight bump in the swell this morning for the opening rounds of competition. The Womens division was sent out first with a high tide wobble on the waves and they surfed through to the semi-finals in a building swell at Bathers beach in Ballito.
With the dropping tide, the surf cleaned up and the first mens round of The 2016 Ballito Pro took to Willard Beach and was completed in overhead waves. The small swell period created a slight wobble throughout the day and it proved to be a challenge for our local competitors.
We had four surfers take to the water today, representing the homeland in the round of 112 and all four suffered the same fate- an early loss in The 2016 Ballito Pro. They all take home a guaranteed US$500 in prize money, which is a decent consolation for losing your first heat.
First up from our South African contingent was trials winner Casey Grant in heat one. Casey fell on two scoring rides and the heat was very slow. A fourth place finish has C-Dog packing his bags and heading home down the South Coast, where he works as a dive boat skipper, to intercept the annual sardine run.
The ever stylish Dave van Zyl, who surfs more than most people, was on route to the round of 96 until he picked off a smaller wave in the last few minutes of the heat giving away priority allowing his competitors some room to move. Which they did. Dave heads the opposite direction of the round of 96 and drives the few kilometers home.
Dale Staple was a stand out at the recent JBU Supertrial event in Jeffrey’s bay but couldn’t bring his form along to the Dolphin Coast and suffers the same defeat as Davey.
Our last Saffa to surf on day one was Dylan Lightfoot from Jeffrey’s Bay, things didn’t goo too well for Dylan, finishing =105th, he takes his dollars home along with 190 QS points.
So all and all a bad day at the office for our South African crew but, tomorrow, our hopes for a local Ballito Pro champion lie with Beyrick de Vries (Heat 8) and Jordy Smith (Heat 12). Michael February and Matt McGillivray are both in heat 18 and hopefully the pair will get a golden double ticket into the round of 48 along with Beyrick and Jordy.
Beyrick de Vries is the first South African up in Heat 8 when competition resumes. © Alan van Gysen
See you at Willard Beach in Ballito tomorrow at 7am for some more surfing action.
See more from The 2016 Ballito Pro HERE.
Ballito Pro presented by Billabong Round 1 Results
Heat1. Victor Bernardo (BRA) 13.50, Derek Peters (USA) 13.00, Andy Criere (FRA) 10.84, Casey Grant (ZAF) 6.80
Heat2. Ian Crane (USA) 14.47, Nic Von Rupp (PRT) 13.66, Mason Ho (HAW) 11.97, Brian Toth (PRI) 11.67
Heat3. Lucas Silveira (BRA) 13.30, Leandro Usuna (ARG) 12.97, David Van Zyl (ZAF) 12.90, Hiroto Arai (JPN) 9.74
Heat4. Noah Schweizer (USA) 11.07, Robson Santos (BRA) 10.43, Dale Staples (ZAF) 9.46, Jean Da Silva (BRA) 8.97
Heat5. Seth Muniz (HAW) 12.50, Mihimana Braye (PYF) 10.00, Kaito Ohashi (JPN) 9.10, Torrey Meister (HAW) 7.74
Heat6. Cory Arrambide (USA) 14.60, Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 12.70, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 9.27, Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) 6.00
Heat7. Thomas Fernandez (PRT) 10.90, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 10.83, Kaito Kino (HAW) 9.17, Perth Standlick (AUS) 7.44
Heat8. Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 14.84, Jose Faulkner (PRT) 13.00, Takumi Nakamura (JPN) 12.73, Dale Lovelock (AUS) 11.73
Ballito Women’s Pro presented by Billabong Upcoming Semi-Final Heats
Semi1: Sarah Baum (ZAF) vs. Nikita Robb (ZAF)
Semi2: Skye Burgess (AUS) vs. Teal Hogg (ZAF)
Ballito Women’s Pro presented by Billabong Round of 8 Results
Heat1. Sarah Baum (ZAF) 16.27, Nikita Robb (ZAF) 12.27, Heather Clark (ZAF) 7.80, Olivia Brand (ZAF) 6.50
Heat2. Skye Burgess (AUS) 10.90, Teal Hogg (ZAF) 10.16, Faye Zoetmulder (ZAF) 8.50, Nicole Pallet (ZAF) 7.37
Ballito Women’s Pro presented by Billabong Round of 16 Results
Heat1. Sarah Baum (ZAF) 14.33, Heather Clark (ZAF) 12.80, Emma Smith (ZAF) 10.00, Crystal Hulett (ZAF) 6.34
Heat2. Nikita Robb (ZAF) 9.66, Olivia Brand (ZAF) 7.60, Tarryn Chudleigh (ZAF) 6.90, Sam Cele (ZAF) 2.97
Heat3. Skye Burgess (AUS) 14.84, Teal Hogg (ZAF) 9.56, Danielle Johnson (ZAF) 6.10, Monik Santos (BRA) 5.63
Heat4. Faye Zoetmulder (ZAF) 10.50, Nicole Pallet (ZAF) 8.24, Tammy-Lee Smith (ZAF) 7.97, Sophie Bell (ZAF) 6.53
Ballito Women’s Pro presented by Billabong Round of 24 Results
Heat1. Sarah Baum (ZAF) 14.33, Nikita Robb (ZAF) 13.77, Zoe McDougal (HAW) 6.93, Olivia Izzard (ZAF) 5.20
Heat2. Tarryn Chudleigh (ZAF) 11.20, Crystal Hulett (ZAF) 9.00, Chanelle Botha (ZAF) 6.94, Monique Gresse (ZAF) 3.00
Heat3. Skye Burgess (AUS) 14.33, Tammy-Lee Smith (ZAF) 7.83, Kirsty McGillivray (ZAF) 5.67, Gina Smith (ZAF) 2.83
Heat4. Faye Zoetmulder (ZAF) 12.83, Monik Santos (BRA) 11.00, Kayla Nogueira (ZAF) 9.00, Natasha Van Greunen (ZAF) 4.64
The Ballito Pro and the Ballito Women’s Pro, both presented by Billabong, got underway in highly contestable one metre waves, light winds and warm sunshine at Willard Beach in Ballito today (Monday).
The women’s contest, a World Surf League (WSL) QS1,000 rated event with R20 000 in prize-money at stake, took to the early morning high tide conditions at Bathers Beach. With both right and left breaking waves available, organisers completed the second, third and fourth rounds, leaving just four surfers to contend the one-on-one semi-finals.
Sarah Baum (ZAF) was the standout performer, showcasing her crisp turns and strategic wave selection. Baum won all three of the heats she contested, delivering the highest single ride score, a near-perfect 9.67 out of 10, and the highest two-wave heat total – 16.27 out of 20.
“I waited a while and got that good first ride and then it was a bit tricky out there, but there were a couple good waves and I found my second one,” said Baum. “I’m happy to be back with my family and to see all my friends. It’s really good to be back in warm water and I’m hoping to do one or two events if I have enough points and money to get to them.”
Baum will be up against Nikita Robb from East London, the defending Ballito Women’s Pro champion, in the first of the semi-finals when the women’s contest resumes. The second semi features Skye Burgess (AUS,) whose dynamic style saw her progress through three rounds a duel with uMhlanga local Teal Hogg, where the winner advances to the final.
WSL Deputy Commissioner Travis Logie decided to move Round 1 of the men’s event to Surfer’s Beach as the tide dropped. With US $260 000 (about R4 million) at stake and the highest available rankings points on offer, competition was fierce from the outset and a number of results turned on the last ride.
The vastly experienced Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) found the best waves and delivered a heat total of 14.84, the highest of Round 1, to move through to the Round of 96 along with heat runner-up Jose Ferreira as the pair eliminated Takumi Nakamura (JAP) and Dale Lovelock (AUS) in the last heat of the day.
Other internationals to shine included Cory Arrambide (USA), Ian Crane (USA), Nic Von Rupp (PRT) and Victor Bernardo (BRA), all of whom are looking for a good result in Ballito to build momentum for the rest of the QS circuit in the second half of the year.
“I’m looking to get a good result here so I can maintain my spot and move forward for the second half of the year,” said Arrambide who hails from Ventura in California. “I got a few really good rides and got some decent scores, so I’m stoked. I’m playing it heat by heat and after growing up surfing amateur events and junior pros, I just trying to qualify.”
It was a disappointing day for the local men with Saturday’s Trials winner Casey Grant (Scottburgh), Dale Staples (St Francis Bay), David van Zyl (Glenashley) and Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) all eliminated in the first heats.
“It didn’t go as I planned – I thought I would be able to see a distinct peak but the waves are so tricky and it’s hard to find a runner,” said Lightfoot. “The standard is really high and the South Africans really need to up their game. Hopefully Mikey (February), Beyrick (de Vries) and Matt (McGillivray) can take it tomorrow.”
Organisers will meet at 7am local time for a possible 7.15 start. The Round of 96 sees the top seeds take to the surf, including Jordy Smith (ZAF), Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Jeremy Flores (FRA).
Mihimana Braye (PYF) was one of the top performers among the elite international field in action at the 2016 Ballito Pro on Monday. ©WSL / Cestari
All the action from the Ballito Pro, including live webcast while the event is running, can be found at www.worldsurfleague.com
See more information at www.theballitopro.co.za