30 June, 2016 30 June, 2016

Saffa’s Take to the Air at The Ballito Pro

`An early morning low tide together with over head waves made for exciting tube riding during the first few heats of day four at The 2016 Ballito Pro. A jam packed Willard Beach, filled with spectators, played host to a full day of high performance competitive surfing.

The call was made at 7am and it only took 15 minutes for the first heat to commence. Heat two saw Saffas Matt McGillivray and Michael February exchange rides with Evan Geiselman (USA) and Ricardo Christie (NZL). Matt rose to the occasion, backdooring an offshore peak, taking his score to the bank and advancing to the round of 48.

Ricardo Christie (NZL) lines one up. ©Alan van Gysen

Mikey didn’t look his best, due to an ankle injury, and couldn’t find the rhythm needed to make it into the next round. Surfing through the pain, he finishing =73rd with 550 QS points in this year’s Ballito Pro.

Some epic tube rides were had throughout the morning, but the wind swung, the tide pushed and the mens round of 48 kicked off. Tactics were changed as the offshore tubes previously on offer became potential ramps into the cross shore winds.

Beyrick de Vries boosted higher and looked more polished than yesterday. Waiting patiently out the back with priority he jumped at the first sign of a decent wave, launching into a lofty straight air and finishing with a vicious layback. Variety, progression and style. A clean alley-oop on his next wave saw Beyrick finish heat four in first place, riding that train into the round of 24.

Beyrick de Vries alley-ooping into the round of 24. ©Dan Dedekind

Jordy Smith will join Beyrick in the next round after a great display of competitive surfing, using the wind to his advantage, stomping some power airs into the flats. Jordy flies into the round of 24 and, cross our fingers, won’t stop there.

Our South African heat winners were flooded with cheers by the crowd on the beach throughout their performances. The local groms line up for each and every surfer in a rash vest, eagerly collecting autographs while the beach vendors cash in on the festive holiday vibes.

Beyrick de Vries feeling the stoke. ©Alan van Gysen

Conditions had changed alot by the time Matt McGillivray hit the water for his next heat. The wind picked up and made conditions tricky for some and easy work for others. Matt went for broke, in a star filled heat, punting a big air reverse but unable to make a landing. Matt will collect 1000 QS points and US$1,600 but won’t head home to Jeffrey’s Bay just yet.

The Monster Energy Expression Session will take place on Sunday before the mens final and Matt will be looking to duplicate the outcome of last year’s superheat where he won R20,000 for one single maneuvre. Only this year the prize has been upped and now stands at R30K.


There is a swell on it’s way, along with some big winds predicted for Saturday so be sure to check in at 7am tomorrow where a descision will be made to run. Action will commence with the remaining two heats of 96 then, into the mens round of 24.

Beyrick will surf in heat three and Jordy, heat four and although these QS events take alot of determination to win, our boys look like they’re on track. Keep flying high.

See More from The 2016 Ballito Pro HERE.

Ballito Pro presented by Billabong Round 3 Results

Heat1. Deivid Silva (BRA) 15.37, David do Carmo (BRA) 14.50, Charles Martin (GLP) 7.67, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 7.57

Heat2. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 14.44, Messias Felix (BRA) 11.57, Ian Crane (USA) 11.53, Tim Reyes (USA) 8.30

Heat3. Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 17.77, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.73, Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 12.30, Soli Bailey (AUS) 4.66

Heat4. Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 14.84, Kai Hing (AUS) 12.40, Michael Dunphy (USA) 12.00, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 10.90

Heat5. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.46, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 15.36, Thomas Woods (AUS) 14.73, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 13.17

Heat6. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.97, Joan Duru (FRA) 10.94, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 10.17, Noah Schweizer (USA) 7.00

Heat7. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.46, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 11.60, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 10.27, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 8.97

Heat8. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 16.10, Bino Lopes (BRA) 13.60, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 9.80, Joshua Moniz (HAW) 8.26

Heat9. Jack Freestone (AUS) 15.17, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 12.87, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.17, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 9.93

Heat10. Davey Cathels (AUS) 15.36, Ethan Ewing (AUS) 15.30, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 15.00, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 10.60

Ballito Pro presented by Billabong Round 2 Results

Heat17. Jack Freestone (AUS) 12.34, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 12.33, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 8.66, Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 6.20

Heat18. Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 14.83, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 11.94, Evan Geiselman (USA) 9.23, Michael February (ZAF) 4.00

Heat19. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 14.67, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 13.76, Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 11.57, Nomme Mignot (FRA) 10.30

Heat20. Davey Cathels (AUS) 16.77, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 10.87, Tomas Fernandes (PRT) 9.07, Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) 8.40

Heat21. Matt Banting (AUS) 14.07, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 13.97, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 12.70, Heitor Alves (BRA) 7.13

Heat22. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 18.47, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 16.13, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 9.83, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 8.84

Heat23. Luel Felipe (BRA) 16.33, Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.33, Granger Larsen (HAW) 12.30, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 8.50

Heat24. Frederico Morais(PRT) 11.93, Mateia Hiquily (PYF) 10.16, Marlon Lipke (PRT) 10.00, Jose Ferreira (PRT) 9.90

Lead Image: Jordy Smith ©Dan Dedekind


Top Contenders Tested as Swell Rises for Day 4 of Ballito Pro


A rising swell that produced solid overhead waves, allied with variable winds, tested the ability of the top contenders in the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong as they progressed to the last 24 at Willard Beach on Thursday.

Pristine early morning offshore conditions enabled the world’s best pulling into the deep tubes that the KwaDukuza region is famous for and, as the onshore wind freshened, they used that to stick huge aerial manoeuvres when they boosted above the lip of the waves.

The remaining eight heats of the Round of 96 saw the likes of Jack Freestone and fellow Australians Davey Cathels and Connor O’Leary, South Africa’s Matthew McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) and Brazilian Luel Felipe rack up high scoring heat wins.

O’Leary was particularly impressive, posting rides of 9.47 and 9.0 for a heat total of 18.47, the highest of the day, and leaving all three of his opponents in a combination situation where they needed to improve on both their scores for the heat victory.

The Round of 48 brought additional pressure as the level of competition increased. The first three heats were dominated by Brazilians with Deivid Silva, Michael Rodrigues and Krystian Kymerson all using their air game to good effect.

South Africa’s Beyrick de Vries, who has grown up in the region, used his local knowledge to take flight. Landing a huge alley-oop and then an air-reverse that the judges rewarded with scores of 8.17 and 6.67, de Vries cruised into the last 24.

“It was a slow start for me but I found a good air section and I went for broke and got an 8.17. That put the Q20 on the wheels and it started flowing from there,” said de Vries. “I just focus on the now and try to get the waves and adapt to the different conditions. I’m pleased with what I’ve done now, but I just can’t wait to get out there tomorrow.”


Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) in full flight on his way to the last 24 in the Ballito Pro on Thursday. ©WSL / Cestari

After a really close heat where Ryan Callinan squeaked to victory after all four surfers were within 1.5 points of each other at the final siren, top seed Jordy Smith took to the surf and showed his class. The current WSL No. 10 ranked surfer toyed with the conditions, landing aerials and carving powerful turns on his way to the heat win

“I’m stoked that myself and Beyrick made it through, so that’s pretty cool for South Africa, hopefully we can keep it going,” said Smith. “The conditions are really tricky and you’ve got to take every heat as it comes. You go out there with an open mind and can’t sit for too long and wait for good waves as there’s a lot of opportunity.”

Hawaiian Ezekiel Lau was pleased to advance by scoring a massive 9.10 on his final wave after a slow start.

“I’m pretty stoked. Coming a long way from Hawaii, you just want to make as many heats as you can,” said Lau. “You have to select the right waves and I started off a little slow but I found my rhythm through the heat. It’s just me and mother nature and I just try to focus on my game plan and what the waves are doing.”

Jack Freestone (AUS) was another who posted a last minute, heat winning ride, jumping from third to first place in his encounter thanks to an impressive aerial that he landed in the flat water, but managed to ride out successfully.

“It was little bit nerve-wrecking. Everyone had really good scores up until the last five minutes and I didn’t have anything. I basically surfed a five minute heat,” said Freestone. “It’s always good to get through those first two rounds. So I’m really excited to get through that one and to be in the round of 24. I just want to keep the momentum flowing.”

Organisers will meet will meet at 7am local time on Friday and hope to make a call for a start at 7.15. When competition resumes, the first heat in the water will see Matt Banting (AUS), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW) and Mateia Hiquily face off in Heat 11 of the Round of 48.


Highlights from today’s action will be found at www.worldsurfleague.com

While the surfers ride the waves, the Ballito Pro Festival is set to turn up the heat in KwaDukuza by offering the best in beach, music and sports entertainment. Locals and holiday-makers will be spoilt for choice with the week-long festival featuring the ‘Fire up your stoke: Night of food & wine’, an extreme sports programme and an exciting retail area, while the Five Star Ballito Pro Free Music Concerts powered by 5FM bring some of South Africa’s most talented music acts to the stage in Salt Rock.

See more information at www.theballitopro.co.za

The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong is proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, Billabong, 5FM, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).

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