David van Zyl the Only South African Through to Round 2

Michael Rodriques (BRA) was the standout performer on Day 2 of the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong where the remaining 15 heats in the opening round were completed in 1.0 to 1.2 metre waves at Bather’s Beach in Ballito on Tuesday.

The young Brazilian produced a spectacular display of progressive surfing, posting the first perfect 10 point ride in the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) event for a series of powerful turns and a high flying aerial manoeuvre that he landed in full control.

Michael Rodrigues (BRA) displays the form that earned him the first perfect 10 point ride at the Ballito Pro on Tuesday Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari
Michael Rodrigues (BRA) displays the form that earned him the first perfect 10 point ride at the Ballito Pro on Tuesday
Photo: WSL / Ballito Pro / Cestari

The current No. 18 on the QS rankings was already leading the heat with scores of 7.00 and a near-perfect 9.20.The perfect ride gave him a heat total of 19.20, the highest of the event to date, and put him out of reach of his opponents who were left in a combination situation where they needed to improve on both their scores to overtake him.

“This is a very important event for me. There are good waves and the conditions are so so, but I make some airs and the judges like it,” Rodriques said. “I stay in ranking at number 20 after one 9th place at Lowers (California) and want to go to the next event in Huntington Beach. S it’s important to do well here in Ballito.”

Rodrigues progressed to Round 2 (the Round of 48) along with second placed Stu Kennedy (AUS), with third and fourth placed Nic Von Rupp (PRT) and Hiroto Ohhara (JAP) eliminated from the event.

Earlier in the day, Ballito Pro top seed Italo Ferreira (BRA) showed the skills that have taken him to World No. 8 in his rookie year on the elite Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT). Surfing well within his capabilities, Ferreira still delivered two scores in the excellent range (over 8.00 points out 10), for what was then the highest heat score of 16.70.

That left fellow Brazilian Flavio Nakagima in second place and through to the next round while Beyrick de Vries (ZAF) from nearby Umhlanga and Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) were eliminated in third and fourth places respectively. Nakagima gained entry to the main event by finishing runner-up in the Ballito Pro Trials presented by Billabong on Sunday.

“The waves were good, it’s fun but it’s small. I’m stoked with my first heat and this event,” Ferreira said. “This is my first time here and I’m happy and I hope to keep going in the next heat. I did some airs on the left and I got a good rotation, so yeah I’m stoked.”

The local South African challenge for the prestigious Ballito Pro title rests on the shoulders of 22-year-old David van Zyl from Glenashley after Jordy Smith (Durban) and Michael February (Kommetjie) were ousted yesterday and de Vries and Dale Staples (St Francis Bay) were sidelined today.

Van Zyl finished second behind Marc Lacomare (FRA) and ahead of Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) and Carlos Munoz (CRI). He posted a 6.00 early in the heat and then a 6.80 with five minutes to go, after which the ocean went flat and he held on to the runner-up spot.

“It’s a big result for me. I haven’t had many results, or many keepers this year, so it’s hopefully going to turn my year around and I’m hoping to build off this first heat,” van Zyl said.

“I surf onshore like this quite a lot so I know there’s no defined peaks and you’ve just got to keep moving around and try keep busy. That’s what I started off the heat doing, and then the rest of the heat I was just waiting for a bomb, and luckily the other guys didn’t manage to get two big scores.”

Cooper Chapman (AUS) was another who enjoyed the conditions, racking up a heat total of 17,27, the third highest of the event, and fellow Australian Soli Bailey earned a near perfect 9.57, the second highest score to date after Rodrigues’ 10 pointer, in winning his heat.

Conditions are expected to be similar for Day 3 on Wednesday and the organisers will meet at 7am for a possible 7.15am start. The event runs until Sunday 5 July when the winner will receive US $40 000 (nearly R500 000) and a coveted 10 000 points on the QS rankings

All the action at the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong can be watched live while the contest is running at www.worldsurfleague.com and www.theballitopro.com

The competitors in the Ballito Pro are also be competing for valuable specialty prizes in the Monster Energy Expression Session presented by Zigzag and the Monster Energy Wave of the Week presented by Zigzag which will reward the respective winners with R20 000 and R25 000 each. See more details at https://theballitopro.com/expression-session/

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 extreme sports entertainment. Locals and holiday-makers will be spoilt for choice with the week-long festival featuring an
extreme sports programme, the Coastal Living Bru Food & Wine Festival and an exciting retail area while the Tropika Ballito Pro Music Concerts Powered by 5FM bring some of South Africa’s most talented music acts to the stage in Salt Rock.

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).


Ballito Pro Round 1

H10: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 12.10, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.93, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.60, Michael February (ZAF) 8.63
H11: Perth Standlick (AUS) 14.83, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.43, Charles Martin (GLP) 10.80, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 8.53
H12: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.70, Flavio Nakagima (BRA) 14.33, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 11.37, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 10.30
H13: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 15.56, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 14.76, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.17, Robson Santos (BRA) 11.20
H14: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 15.34, David Van Zyl (ZAF) 12.80, Carlos Munoz (CRI) 11.77, Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 11.76
H15: Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.67, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 14.83, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 14.20, Cory Arrambide (USA) 13.53
H16: Santiago Muniz (ARG) 13.63, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 13.57, Cahill Bell-Warren (AUS) 10.54, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.14
H17: Cooper Chapman (AUS) 17.27, Alex Smith (HAW) 14.37, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.10, Mason Ho (HAW) 7.56
H18: Jose Ferreira (PRT) 14.60, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 14.43, Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.67, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.84
H19: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 19.20, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 16.10, Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 14.77, Nic Von Rupp (PRT) 13.50
H20: Soli Bailey (AUS) 14.80, Mitch Crews (AUS) 14.77, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.90, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.90
H21: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 12.56, Heitor Alves (BRA) 10.60, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 8.74, Dale Staples (ZAF) 5.90
H22: Lucas Silveira (BRA) 13.30, Davey Cathels (AUS) 12.77, Bino Lopes (BRA) 8.67, Dusty Payne (HAW) 7.84
H23: Thomas Woods (AUS) 16.10, Michael Dunphy (USA) 13.10, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 12.17, Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 12.04
H24: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 15.00, Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.53, Frederico Morais (PRT) 14.06, Jack Robinson (AUS) 5.97