BALLITO, KwaDukuza/South Africa (Wednesday, July 7, 2010) - A powerful south west swell brought on by the arrival of the highly anticipated cold front, brought with it plenty for surfers to contend with at the ASP 5-Star Mr Price Pro Ballito today.
Shifting peaks, crunching sets and cavernous barrels saw a few surfers shine in the unsettled conditions.
2000 Mr Price Pro Champion Taylor Knox (USA) shone brightest in his Round of 96 clash, the Californian’s smooth, polished on the rail carves and critical in the pocket surfing, setting the tone for the day. Knox scored a pair of 8.17 and a 9.57 (out of ten) rides for the highest heat total of the event, a 17.74 (out of 20.00).
“It looks really playful out there but it’s not at all, I went over the falls twice- I haven’t done that in a while,” Knox said. “The wave has definitely got some power but it suits me and I’m just happy to be here.”
With a convincing heat win as well as VIP tickets to the FIFA Germany versus Spain Semifinal Match in Durban tonight, it was a great day in Africa for the Californian surfer.
“I’m extremely excited because I’ve never been to a soccer game anywhere,” Knox said. “I’m still not sure who I will be supporting, I’ve got great friends in Spain so it will be hard not to cheer for Spain ‘cos they’re such nice people but if I had to make a prediction for the final, I would say Germany versus the Netherlands because they’re looking so strong.”
South Africa’s favorite surfing son, ASP World No. 2 Jordy Smith (Dbn) managed to keep his board in one piece as he destroyed countless wave faces during his round of 48 heat. Smith’s unrivaled power and control earning an 8.17 followed by a near perfect 9.00 for a brilliant barrel ride to end off the heat.
“I got to ride a new board today because I’ve been breaking a lot of boards lately so hopefully this one lasts for the contest,” Smith said. “There are some gaping barrels out there but it is difficult to find a good one and if you do it’s definitely a diamond in the rough.”
Manfred Adrio (Dbn) surprised even himself when he came flying out of the highest scoring barrel ride of the day, posting the highest wave score of the competition so far, an excellent 9.83 (out of ten).
“That was the last thing I expected,” Adrio said. “I took off on that wave and the only thing I could do was pull in. Luckily I had enough speed, it just stayed open and I came flying out, it was totally unexpected.”
With some judges scoring it a perfect ten, Adrio cemented his heat win with a 15.16 (out of 20.00) heat total to defeat Brendon Gibbens, Lee Bisset and Remi Petersen.
“I’ve never had the highest score at any contest, ever so that was a gift, I’m really stoked,” Adrio said.
Inspired by Adrio’s performance, Rudy Palmboom Jnr (Bluff) put in some of his own tube time in the following heat, threading in and out of a wide North Coast barrel to earn the second near perfect score (9.17) of the day.
“I saw Manfred’s barrel and I thought there definitely are some bombs out there,” Palmboom said. “I got lucky because I saw this thing heaving at me and building down the line and I just went for it.”
Palmboom defeated Klee Strachan, the pair eliminating Mbongeni Hlengwa and Syabonga Khoza.
Australia’s Anthony Walsh looked polished in his round of 96 heat. Reading the wave intuitively Walsh unleashed some committed backhand snaps and controlled floaters to win the heat with a 14.43 (out of 20.00), advancing ahead of Allan Johns (Ballito).
Giving himself an early birthday present, Casey Grant who turns 21 today, secured a well-deserved first place finish over Andrew Banks. Grant’s risk and commitment earned him an 8.17 (out of ten) as his top scoring ride, enough to see him advance in first place.
2006 Mr Price Pro Champion Ricky Basnett (Bluff) looked comfortable in the punchy conditions similar to those at his home break Anstey’s, washing away his nerves with a win over David Van Zyl, Paul Canning and Stevan Rice.
Among those also advancing through the round of 96 were Matthew Bromley (CT) who took the win over last minute second place finisher Mathew Kruger (Dbn), Damien Fahrenfort (CT) who advanced ahead of Kyle Beach (DBN), Beyrick De Vries (Umhl) who did well to win his heat over Shane Thorne (Bluff) while Greg Emslie (EL) secured a well-deserved win advancing along with Kyle Lane.
ASP World No. 13 Chris Davidson (AUS) found himself in a tough battle against Shaun Jobert in the round of 48. The lead changing hands a number of times before Davidson edged out his local counterpart, the pair advancing into the Round of 24.
Eleven heats of the Round of 96 were completed followed by six heats of the Round of 48. The next call will take place at 07H00 tomorrow.
Tune in to East Coast Radio for live updates on the Mr Price Pro each day and if you can’t make it down to the beach you can watch all the action live on the web at www.mrpricepro.com
Mr Price Pro Round of 96 Results
Heat 14: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 9.17 Kyle Lane (ZAF) 7.26 Christoffer Frolich (ZAF) 5.57 Devin Lane (ZAF) 4.24
Heat 15: Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 9.70 Shane Thorne (ZAF) 9.50 Simon Nicholson (ZAF) 8.34 Matt Pallet (ZAF) 7.20
Heat 16: Anthony Walsh (Aus)14.43 Allan Johns (ZAF) 8.66 Steven Sawyer (ZAF) 7.66 Noel Rahme (ZAF) 3.67
Heat 17: Frankie Oberholzer (ZAF) 8.93 Nathan Hedge (Aus) 7.90 Bertie Stuurman (ZAF) 6.27 Steven Michelsen (ZAF) 4.13
Heat 18: Casey Grant (ZAF) 12.94 Andrew Banks (ZAF) 7.20 John McCarthy (ZAF) 5.76 Haydn MacNicol (ZAF) 5.33
Heat 19: Devyn Mattheys (ZAF) 10.34 Chad Du Toit (ZAF) 8.33 Gary Muller (ZAF) 7.30 Grant Arendse (ZAF) 2.47
Heat 20: Matthew Bromley (ZAF) 11.44 Matthew Kruger (ZAF) 10.60 Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 9.07 Josh Smit (ZAF) 1.83
Heat 21: Ricky Basnett (ZAF) 12.33 David Van Zyl (ZAF) 9.77 Paul Canning (ZAF) 6.70 Stevan Rice (ZAF) 3.13
Heat 22: Manfred Adrio (ZAF) 15.16 Brendon Gibbens (ZAF) 10.34 Lee Bissett (ZAF) 7.40 Remi Petersen (ZAF) 5.90
Heat 23: Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 14.50 Klee Strachan (ZAF)12.84 Mbongeni Hlengwa (ZAF) 3.16 Siyabonga Khoza (ZAF) 0.00
Heat 24: Taylor Knox (USA) 17.74 Ryan Bissett (ZAF) 7.44 Hilton Lawrence (ZAF) 6.26 Dane Logie (ZAF) 2.20
Heat 10: Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF) 12.34 Kyle Beach (ZAF) 6.74 Dane Patterson (ZAF) 3.97 Wes O Driscoll (ZAF) 2.50