6 July, 2024 6 July, 2024
Ballito Pro

Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill | Behind The Scenes: GO TO THE AIR

As we’ve seen before sirs are the highest point scorers in small beach break surf, and if you’re aggressive and stick decent-sized air moves with variation, you are the winningest.

We lost all South Africans in the Ballito Pro on Friday except for Sarah Baum, and those who continued to advance through the day’s competition were those in the air.

Ballito Pro

Sarah Baum (c) WSL / McGregor

Hawaii’s Jackson Bunch was visibly stoked before his heat as he felt the first few wafts of cross-onshore wind puffing. Bunch found incredible speed across the Ballito lefts and launched into the air. The ‘air’ wind stuck the board to his feet as he flew and rotated into the flats twice for the biggest heat score of the day, which included a near-perfect 9.6. He found his point of difference, and it saw him advance, along with Nolan Rapoza (USA), whose long hair was flowing through his air attempts. No judgement; the hair seemed to give him balance as he also stomped a few bangers. They left the wave-starved Brazilian duo of Miquel Pupo and Heitor Mueller behind and out of the event.

Ballito Pro

Jackson Bunch (c)WSL / McGregor

Joel Vaughan (AUS) is also very familiar with airs and uses them whenever he can when competing. On Friday 5 July, at the Ballito Pro, he banged off a massive frontside rail grab for a 6.67. Then he charged even bigger on another frontside rotation for an 8.50 to take the win to advance, ahead of Morgan Cibilic (AUS), Leaving Gatien Delahaye (France) and our own Luke Slijpen in the dust. Vaughan said about his excellent ride. “I just saw a good end section and sent it for the flats,” which is a beautiful zero fucks given way of approaching a heat situation.

Luke Slijpen took to the air, but was unfortunate to lost out (c) WSL / McGregor


Rankings leader Samuel Pupo (BRA) also launched at the Ballito Pro whenever he could, and it worked for him as well, landing one immaculate air in a slower heat. Pupo flew into the lead ahead of Hiroto Ohhara (JPN). Nat Young (USA) and Rafael Teixeira (BRA) packed their bags and booked their tickets out of Ballito, maybe on to J-Bay or even Skeleton Bay. Or home.

Ballito Pro

Samuel Pupo (c) WSL / Tostee

I had to grind on the small waves and go for the airs,” said Pupo. “It was fun.”

So there you have it – airs win the day, and there is a valuable lesson in there somewhere.



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