The 50th edition of The Ballito Pro, presented by Billabong, will get the adrenaline pumping with the hottest line-up of extreme sports’ action, all taking place at KwaDukuza from 21 June to 1 July.
The collaborative efforts of KwaDukuza Municipality and The Ballito Pro have resulted in an incredible beachside festival that gives the region a chance to show off its natural beauty. The event has grown year-on-year, with holidaymakers getting the chance to take full advantage of our warm, coastal winters as well as a two-week programme of festivities suited to all ages.
Collette Bundy, event organiser, said: “We are really going all out for the #LiveTheLegacy festival to mark the milestone instalment of the world’s longest running professional surfing contest. We’ve secured some of the best sports’ stars to perform incredible stunts and are also welcoming The Ballito Downwind, a surfski series, to The Ballito Pro roster which makes for a truly fun spectator event.”
Some of the extreme sporting action festival-goers can check out and try out are:
Monster Activations – Willard Beach from 28 June to 1 July
• The Monster Cash-Up presented by Zigzag
This year Monster and Zigzag are coming to the party again and will be rewarding the free surfing that takes place before and after the contest with cold, hard cash. With up to R20 000 to give away throughout the week, Zigzag will be scouting the most explosive surfers and manoeuvres outside of the contest heats, and award the best wave ridden before and after the contest runs. Monster and Zigzag will be giving away R2 000, along with a Groundswell Surf Store voucher, per session to the best wave surfed during the free surf session.
• The Monster Expression Session presented by Zigzag
The Monster Expression Session presented by Zigzag will once again grab the attention of all the beachgoers on final’s day. Set to go down just before the main event finals – with R30 000 up for grabs – this heat is bound to have the spectators in awe. During the day, the public can enter to win one of the three custom-shaped surfboards by guessing the winning surfer. The winning surfer will select three names from the entries that voted for him.
• Monster Skate Demos
The energy levels will continue to soar at the skate ramp where local skaters – headed up by Khule Ngubane – will be showing the festival fans some dry land board action. Throughout the week Khule will be hosting skate clinics, having sessions with local skaters, a best trick jam with many prize giveaways throughout.
• The Le Riche Bro’s Trials Bike shows
South African motorcycle trials’ champions, Bruce and Brent le Riche – sponsored by Monster Energy – will display their passion for all things motorcycle. Brent, ranked the No.1 South African rider 12 times, and Bruce, the No.1 South African rider three times, make an incredible trial-bike team. Their daily 25-minute performance will be sure to keep the festival fans spellbound as they use different elements on their demo rig consisting of kickers, banks and even members from the audience to put on a world class show.
Commenting on the trials’ bike show, Brent le Riche said: “Last year was the introduction of our brand-new rig, a 4-tonne truck with foldout ramps and platforms. This year we have oiled the performance and added even more crazy stunts – you have to see it to believe it! We’re really looking forward to this year’s Ballito Pro. We really enjoy the up-close energy and vibe that the people, event and Monster Energy crew bring!”
Ballito Downwind Series
On 30 June and 1 July, between 100 and 120 paddlers will descend on KwaDukuza for the first-ever Ballito Downwind surfski series in the hopes of winning their share of R10 000 prize money, as well as product prizes from Muscle Wellness, Gara Racing Paddles, Thule and Canelands Beach Club & Spar.
“There are is so much going on in Ballito over The Ballito Pro that it was a natural fit to include the Ballito Downwind event to the calendar,” explained surfski event organiser, Barry Lewin. “It will draw more spectators to the already popular event as well as giving South African paddlers a chance to experience the amazing surf conditions the KwaZulu-North coast has to offer.”
The Ballito Downwind will be a doubles’ race from eMdloti Beach to Tiffany’s Reef on a south-westerly, or Zinkwazi Beach to Tiffany’s Reef on a north-easterly, depending on conditions.
The course will be announced on 28 June. Spectators can expect to see a number of the country’s best paddlers, including South African paddling legend and 10-time World Marathon champion, Hank McGregor.
Commenting on his involvement, McGregor said: “I’m really excited to be participating in the Ballito Downwind, it’s something unique.”
McGregor said he was particularly looking forward to competing in an event on a coastline that he loves: “I train on this coastline almost every day of my life and it’s called the Dolphin Coast for a reason! Alongside the dolphins swimming in crystal water, there’s always a wave, giving that element of excitement at the Tiffany’s Reef. This is one of the best surf breaks in the region and I think to watch the surfski paddlers come in, either from the north or south, is going to be a spectacular finish for the crowd.”
Commenting on the milestone celebrations for The Ballito Pro, McGregor said: “Surfing has always been part of my upbringing, so I’ve watched the event grow and it’s fantastic to be a part of it.”
The Ballito Pro, presented by Billabong, has a full festive programme, including:
• Shaun Tomson’s Positive Wave Tour driven by SMG Rocks
• Retro Jubilee Food & Wine presented by Ballito Junction including cooking competitions, fashion shows and entertainment
• Daily on-stage entertainment
• The Ballito Pro Free Music Concerts Powered by 5FM
• After Dark Parties at Crush Nightclub
• Retail stalls
• Beach recreational activities at the Coke-a-Cola Football Arena
• Children’s games at the Coke-a-Cola Football Arena