3 July, 2024 3 July, 2024

Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill | Behind The Scenes: Day 3 debrief

Third Heat Of The Day

It has been nine days or so already in Ballito. The contest schedule has been intense, with so many competitions running back to back to totally satiate the appetite of every competitive surfer in the country and the surfing spectators and fans out there.

Events:

The third heat of the Men’s Round of 64 featured Alejo Muniz (Brazil), currently second in the Challenger Series behind Sammy Pupo with a solid 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 the Challenger Series.

The heat took to the water in the pulsing and fresh four-foot surf, and everyone was going hard. Muniz took an early lead, but Haezlewood came flying from a deep takeoff near the rocks for three huge backhand cracks and a score of 7.33 to jump into the lead. Maree was going for big turns, and with a powerful backhand style, he was looking like a possible second place behind Haezlewood and ahead of Muniz.

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Jordy Maree (c)WSL / Tostee

Slijpen, however, was going for the hugest air reverses over the shallow section toward the Sunrise section of the beach; as one spectator said, ‘he’s either going to get the scores or break his ankles,”

He didn’t break his ankles and jumped into second place ahead of Muniz and Maree until the end, advancing along with Haezlewood into the next round.

“It has changed so much over the last few days,” said Haezlewood on the conditions, “From small to big and windy and now it’s just three to four-foot and clean and epic. I was on my standard (Channel Islands) shortboard Rook 15, and it’s a great board with good engagement and plenty of speed.”

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Reef Heazlewood (c)WSL / Tostee

The conditions were epic, but no surfers hit their straps entirely
“I reckon I was probably at about 75% to 80 % of where I can get,” said Haezlewood. “We were all feeling the conditions and must keep a bit in reserve for later heats. I’m pretty excited to try and pick it up a bit.”

Not too many airs in a busy heat
“While waiting out the back, I was looking for a wave that would work, trying to find a chip in one of the lefts, but I couldn’t find anything,” he said. “So, I’m hoping for that in the upcoming days and heats.”

The forecast is looking good for next week
“At the moment, I am looking at going home, training, and getting ready for the US Open, but we’ve all been watching the charts, and it seems like there is going to be an epic left-hander coming to life,” said Haezlewood. “I might even extend the trip, and the goofy crew might even go hunting there; we’re ready to pull the trigger should it happen.”

A decent right-hander in the Eastern Cape is also showing potential
“Yeah, but if it happens, we’re going for the lefts.”

More on the Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill – here.

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