25 June, 2024 25 June, 2024
Ballito Pro

Ballito Pro | Behind The Scenes – What it takes to win the O’Neill SMTH Shapes Rookie Rippers

It’s early days at the O’Neill SMTH Shapes Rookie Rippers at the Ballito Pro. Waves At Willards Beach were mid, but performances were inspiring.

There were loads of heats to watch today and to state the obvious, there were two ways to get through your heat.

One: Dominate

Make it transparently clear that you have won the heat(s) and that there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind, let alone a judge. Matt Canning took apart the rights and the lefts at Willard Beach in his U16 Round One heat to win convincingly against Ry Colepepper, Gordon Falangile and Andile Makhatini; he was irrefutably the best surfer in the heat.

To finish it off, he went equally hard in his U18 Opening Round heat to win against Josh Malherbe, Nathan Tayler, and Sihle Shoba, in that order. This performance clearly shows the judges that he is a man on a mission. It’s a nice place to be going into tomorrow’s second and final day of the tournament.

Ballito Pro

Matt Canning surfs in Heat 3 of the O’Neill SMTH Shapes Rookie Rippers Under 16 Boys at the Ballito Pro. (c) Pierre Tostee / Ballito Pro

Two: Take Risks

The final U18 Round One Heat was pretty loaded, with Clayton Turrel, Ntokozo ‘Surprise’ Maphumulo, Ben Esterhuyse, and Rylan Jarvis all vying for the top spot. Clay jumped to the first spot and held his ground, while Rylan Jarvis showed signs of being out of rhythm from the get-go. This left a combat between Surprise and Ben, adding that little element of excitement and unpredictability that we all crave.

With the second place going back and forth a few times, Surprise decided to throw caution to the wind, quite literally. He proceeded to blast frontside air rotes with absolute confidence, showing his determination and grit (did you see what I did there). He knew that the only way to cross the line was to go big, and he did just that.

Despite nearly riding an earlier move out, his final air into the wind saw him awarded a 4.17 (low scores were the order of the day) and the second-place spot to advance. There was clearly no value in trying to string a few turns on small waves in to get the advantage – the only way was to go massive, and it worked for Surprise.

There is also a third way, there’s always a third way, and we can maybe discuss that tomorrow.

Read the full report of Day 1, here.

Craig Jarvis



  2. […] The South African contingent’s surfing was great throughout, but many surfers need more practice in these weird, funky types of waves that break hard, reverberate on the sand bank, and then disappear.Also, very very few airs during the contest. See here for air advice from the Ballito: Go For Airs […]

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