Ballito Pro introduces new conservation elements to this year’s festival

As a celebration of the beautiful KwaDukuza region, the Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill constantly seeks ways to ensure the sustainability of the natural resources that make this such a popular festival location. For the 2019 edition, taking place from 27 June to 7 July, the Ballito Pro is bringing in the Save the Waves campaign – Litter4Tokens project – and welcomes the rescue team from Snakes in the City.

“The Ballito Pro, KwaDukuza and O’Neill brands are very much aligned in their vision for a completely sustainable festival that not only reduces its footprint but also educates the public about ways to protect our valuable and vulnerable resources,” explained Collette Bundy, festival event organiser. “This year we will be focusing on reducing litter, improving ocean health and the protection of wildlife species through our education and awareness campaigns.”

Save the Waves – Litter4Tokens

This active recycling campaign, started in 2015 in KwaDukuza by Clare Swithenbank-Bowman, rewards bags of recycling brought in by community members with tokens. These can be exchanged for a variety of dry goods at token shops within the partnered schools and communities across KwaDukuza.

“Litter4Tokens aims to create jobs, feed the nation, and instil pride by cleaning up the environment and raising awareness about the devastation of plastics,” explained Swithenbank-Bowman. “Working with the surfing world plays a huge part in our mission as the ocean is ultimately where all the plastic ends up.”

In addition to the environmental considerations, the campaign has assisted a number of community members. One example is 59-year-old Victoria, a grandmother from Shakas Head in KwaDukuza who supports five children. Through the Litter4Tokens campaign, she is able to collect 20 to 25 bags of recycling a week which assists her in buying food and clothing.

At this year’s Ballito Pro, Litter4Tokens – which has partnered with O’Neill – will launch the first-ever ‘Mermaid Tear Catcher’ with prizes for those who collect the most mermaid tears – or plastic nurdles as they’re known. These are small plastic pellets which are having a devastating effect on the delicate marine ecosystem. Each Mermaid Tear Catcher has a unique code which is collected and this valuable data shared with the World Global Nurdle Foundation. Litter4Tokens will also be on site, engaging with holidaymakers and sharing information about their work.

Litter4Tokens relies on business funding to sustain and grow this campaign nationally as the communities are picking up the retailers’ recycling and closing the circle #circulareconomy #savethewaves. Any retailer interested in partnering to Save the Waves and feed the nation can get involved by contacting Clare at

Snake City Stars on Site

As part of their South African Tour this winter, Simon Keys and Siouxsie Gillett – stars of Snake City as seen on Nat Geo WILD – will be hosting a meet-and-greet at this year’s Ballito Pro festival, giving the public a chance to view two incredible pythons.

On Thursday, 4 and Friday, 5 July, Simon and Siouxsie will be at the pop-up activation stand at the Retail Area, signing autographs and having pictures taken with fans. Visitors will get to meet the dynamic stars of this reality-driven snake-catching series filmed in KwaZulu-Natal for a global audience on Nat Geo WILD. Snake City season 6 is currently in production and will be shown in 177 countries later this year.

Passionate about the welfare of snakes, Simon and Siouxsie travel vast distances to assist in their safe removals. Commenting on their importance, Siouxsie explained: “’Without snakes, we will see an increase in rodent population, which will mean an increase in rodent diseases passed to humans. This means more damage to food crops and escalating food prices to cover losses. Snakes are vital to the planet!”

Some interesting facts about the importance of snakes:

· Without snakes the rodent population will increase. A pair of rats can have a million offspring in just a year and a half.
· Rats and mice spread more than 50 diseases to humans.
· Rodents carry infectious parasites such as tick-borne Lyme disease.
· Rodents can infect pets and livestock.
· A single rattlesnake eats approximately 2 500 to 4 500 ticks a year by eating rodents.
· Rodents are one of the major causes of crop destruction and electrical system damage worldwide.
· Toxins found in snake venom have shown promise in treating chronic pain, heart disease, cancer, bloody clots, type 2 diabetes and more.

Other exciting festival events include:
· Sal Masekela African Surf Adventure Driven by SMG Rocks and Hosted by Coco de Mer
· The Ballito Pro Music Concerts presented by 5FM
· After Dark Parties – hosted by Crush Ballito
· Ballito Pro Food presented by Ballito Junction Regional Mall
· Extreme Sports – adrenaline-fuelled Monster activations
· Daily Beach Action
· Retail Area
· Kids’ Corner
· South African surfboard shapers

If you’re looking for an experience that #feelslikefreedom, get to the Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill!