30 June, 2014 30 June, 2014

Five Out, Three Advance at Mr Price Pro (Day 1)


The sun was barely creeping over the horizon as the siren sounded for the start of the first of two massive events in our backyard. The morning high tide was adding a slight wobble to the waves at Willard Beach, but the sight of clean three to four-foot peaks encouraged the organisers to waste no time to kick-off proceedings for the 6-Star Prime Mr Price Pro Ballito.

As the morning progressed, the tide dropped, the sun warmed the crowd, and the wind stayed put to remind both tourist and locals why the KwaDukuza coastline is such a good place to be during our country’s coldest months.

Just another epic Winter’s day in KwaDukuza.

It was 7:30am when the first heat paddled out. Thirty minutes later the local crowd would experience their first of five disappointing losses by the local contenders. Stylish Long Beach local, Mikey February, fell victim to the high tide wobble and was eliminated from the event straight off the bat. Two heats later, Dale Staples struggled to find two decent scores. An injured knee didn’t make things easy for him in Heat 3.

Travis Logie was the first bright spark for the local crowd.

Travis Logie put an end to the local losing streak midway though Heat 6, when he made it look far too easy to earn big scores with his trademark backside power blasts.

New Pier local, David Van Zyl, was the next to give the Ballito crowd something to cheer about, as he carved his way through to round two with precision. Davey is still a fresh face on the WQS, but his forehand carve looks as though it has been getting fine-tuned for the past twenty years. It’s clean, it’s fast, it’s powerful, and just like Trav’s backside power blasts, it’s going to see him through many heats in the future.

Davey’s technique is superb. He’ll be looking to keep up the momentum in Round 2.

This event was the first time South Africans got to witness the new four-man priority system that has been brought into play this season. Although it has not seen much media hype, it’s probably the best thing to happen to the WQS in years. Many of the hustling techniques competitors resorted to in heats have been eliminated. This gives competitors the freedom to move around the lineup and spectators the opportunity to watch surfers surfing, and not one clown paddling three other clowns down the beach and away from the contest site.

The downside of the four-man priority system right now is that it is new, and competitors are having to quickly learn to keep a close eye on the priority discs at all times. It’s a lesson that a very in-form looking Beyrick De Vries was taught the hard way today. On his way out after a ride, Beyrick didn’t have the time to take a look back at the priority discs as the best wave of the heat rolled in. He swung around, as did Alejo Muniz, who was on his outside paddling for the same wave knowing something the South African did not. He had priority. Five seconds later, both stood up on the same wave and Beyrick, who had not seen the priority discs change in Alejo’s favour, earned himself an interference.

Beyrick was surfing incredibly well, so it’s a pity he was eliminated.

It was frustrating for the local spectators to watch him landing airs and throwing tail at will, wondering what could have been. As bad as it was for the crowd, it was heart-wrenching for the Umhlanga local, who was the first to say he learnt a hard lesson, but one that will be far more valuable during the rest of his young career.

The next two South African hopefuls, old nemeses and best friends, Jordy Smith and Brandon Jackson, were up against each other around lunchtime. Jordy started off slow and finished strong, making the second half of his thirty-minute heat look like a video part. Mr Price Pro trials winner, Jacko, started strong, then went from first to third in the last five minutes of the heat to be eliminated.

Jordy is eyeing out a solid result to get him in winning form for the upcoming J-Bay Open.

Grom of the event, Shane Sykes, surfed the following heat and endured a similar fate to Jacko as he tried to hold on to a runner-up position. Towards the end of the heat, Kai Otton eventually caught-up with the Salt Rock local and sent him to his home five minutes up the road. Shane may have been the youngest competitor in the event, but his style and surfing was far from it as he competed in the biggest event of his life so far.

There were a number of international standouts today, as well as plenty of big heat totals awarded by the judges, but Hawaii’s Torrey Miester got the biggest applause by the appreciative crowd for a massive air reverse he stuck when he needed it most. Two waves later the Hawaiian finished off another wave with a big air to see him rack-up the day’s highest heat total – 15.76 out of 20.00pts

Torrey Meister smashed his heat to earn the day’s highest scores.

After 16 heats were surfed in round one, we lost five of our guys, saw three advance, and are still waiting to see if Dylan Lightfoot and Slade Prestwich can make it a 50% win rate for the South Africans in Round 1. Dylan will be up in Heat 20 when competition resumes, while Slade is set for Heat 24.

With conditions looking less favourable later in the week, Day 2 looks likely to be another early start. Watch the event LIVE on mrpricepro.com


  1. chop
    1 July, 2014 at 6:30 am · Reply

    Dan Redmen must be the worst writer to ever grace the pages of zigzag
    wtf calls it the kwadukuza coastline anyway…. next time your given some work, try not trying so hard kook

    • brad coetzee
      1 July, 2014 at 7:50 am · Reply

      I disagree. It’s a well written article and focus’s on the surfers we care about. Kwadukuza is an awesome name for the coastline, stop moaning.

    • wal
      1 July, 2014 at 12:35 pm · Reply

      What do expect from someone who only made it up to std 5…

  2. pothief
    1 July, 2014 at 3:33 pm · Reply

    not a one saffa through round 2…. I hear these guys talking in the water, you would think they are all world champs…..big fish in a small pond….Durban syndrome…..no worries im sure they will be all over the jol for the rest of the week…. go Bianca and the brazzas….. saffa surfers are a joke……

  3. Nick
    1 July, 2014 at 4:43 pm · Reply

    One and half rounds and all the South Africans are out by mid day 2. Home court advantage? Lots of local wild cards? Someone please tell me who the next great male contest hope is beyond Jordy (CT) Beyrick (QS) and Twig (BWT). SA tour surfers better drop the ego, pull your finger out, if you want to represent, then represent, leave your diva attitude at home and make heats.

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