29 June, 2024 29 June, 2024
Ballito Pro

Ballito Pro | Behind The Scenes – Three Pieces Of Advice from Challenger Series surfer Reef Haezlewood

There were some tense moments on the final day of the 2024 O’Neill SMTH Shapes Ballito Pro Junior, which is bound to happen in any junior surf contest in South Africa and worldwide. The waves were inconsistent, there were some incredibly close calls with some low-scoring heats making for tiny margins, and there will always be more losers than winners. Still, the kids are doing this for fun, right?

Our winners were Jarvis Earle (Aus) and Laura Raupp (Brazil), but there was so much for the juniors to learn from this event.

As we approach the Ballito Open, Presented By Flojos, and the Ballito Pro, presented by O’Neill, we sat with aerial specialist and Challenger Series surfer Reef Haezlewood from the Sunshine Coast in Australia to try and get a broader picture of how our younger surfers should position themselves for a possible career in surfing. These are the three succinct recommendations he gave our young surfers to take their competition to the next level and beyond.

Work on the mental side 

Ballito Pro

Christian Venter (c) Kody McGregor / WSL

Try to understand the processes and figure out the emotional side of things. The emotional side is good; you need to go through it all, but you also need to try and figure out what you’re doing and why. What is your goal? How are you going to get there? What positivity can you extract to keep you stoked and charging even when it gets tough, and you’re losing? Find the love and joy of what you’re doing, and you’ll always be okay.

Go for airs

Ballito Pro

Luke Thompson. (c) Kody McGregor / WSL

It might not be what all the kids want to hear, but if you’re not going for airs and not trying to do them in heats, you will ultimately be left behind. Right now, the way to win heats is to go for the big airs and stick them in heats. The only way to improve on this side of your surfing is to do them in heats. Free surfing airs are cool, but once you have that mentality that you actually need to do them in heats and continually attempt them in heats, will you progress.

Have fun

Ballito ro

Zach Epenetos knows it still needs to be fun! (c) Nicolette Tostee / WSL

It’s something my dad always told me, and it’s a massive part. You’ve got to be having fun. If you’re not doing it to enjoy it, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons and probably in the wrong game. It does become grinding down on you sometimes, and you have to be able to release and just go and have fun. It’ll keep you going and it’ll refresh your spirit, determination, and resilience.


Behind the scenes

Full event report

1 Comment

  1. […] 11,720 points. Other surfers included Kalk Bay surfer Jordy Maree – currently 28th; Australian Reef Haezlewood from the Sunshine Coast – currently 36th; and Llandudno surfer Luke Slijpen – presently 53rd on […]

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