Don’t miss the first-ever Para Surfing Expression Session at the 54th Ballito Pro

Sustainability, inclusivity, and growth are central to this year’s Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival, with organisers excited to announce an important programme addition, the Para Surfing Expression Session on Saturday, 1 July from 1pm to 2pm. Run by local non-profit organisation, Made for More, this session will allow adaptive surfers to showcase their skills on the global platform, The Ballito Pro, which is running at Willard Beach, KwaDukuza from 27 June to 9 July.

“It’s such a joy and privilege to be invited to the Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival this year,” commented Julia van Zyl, Made for More Founder. “To have some of KZN and South Africa’s best para surfers display their skills on a global stage is an incredible gift and crucial for the continued growth and integration of the sport in South Africa. Thank you to Tasha Mentasti of WSL Africa, Bongani Xulu of KwaDukuza Municipality, and Paul Canning of O’Neill for including us!”

Made for More is an impactful organisation that aims to include, empower, and equip people with disabilities through sport. Inspired by a life-changing interaction with a group of South African Paralympians during a lecture in one of her university classes, Julia founded Made for More, an organisation that includes people with disabilities in different sporting codes. Through their adaptive surfing programme, many individuals have been instructed in water safety, life skills, and adaptive ways to bodyboard and surf.

One of Made for More’s success stories is Sabelo Ngema who hails from KZN’s rural town of eShowe. The youngster has albinism and is visually impaired, but hasn’t let this get in the way of achieving his dreams. Through surf therapy with Made for More, Ngema has transformed from a young boy with a fear of the ocean to competing in world championships. He will be one of those taking to the surf at this year’s Para Surfing Expression Session.

The main difference between para surfing and other surfing contests is that para surfing has nine different categories to accommodate all the different disabilities. Besides that, the scoring and scoring criteria are the same whereby the top two scores count, with judges looking for speed, power, flow, and combination of major manoeuvres.

Further supporting the inclusive nature of the festival, and highlighting this year’s theme Konke KuLuhlaza – Everything is Blue, event hosts KwaDukuza Municipality is leading the way in the province by making their beaches accessible to wheelchair users and those with disabilities.

KwaDukuza Municipal Mayor Lindile Nhaca said they were proud to be hosting the Ballito Pro at Willard Beach, which is one of three Blue Flag beaches in the area: 

“Despite the floods, KwaDukuza Municipality has maintained the water quality with frequent testing to ensure the safety of our residents and holidaymakers. We are on a drive to upgrade and refurbish existing beach infrastructure around R10m was spent on upgrading Clark Bay, Willard Beach, Salt Rock, Zinkwazi Beach and Tinley Manor Beach.

“The recent launch of our Beach Access programme in collaboration with the Ballito Urban Improvement Precinct [BUIP] and Balwin Properties has ensured that all our visitors have access to our world-class facilities. We have procured four beach chairs and mats and committed to making all our beaches wheelchair accessible. It is wonderful that the Ballito Pro continues to grow its inclusivity with the addition of the Para Surfing Expression Session an important example of what is being achieved.”

BUIP precinct manager Thierry Leclezio noted: “With Blue Flag status and a world-class promenade, we certainly are very fortunate to have this wonderful facility on our doorstep that continues to draw crowds, provide a wonderful natural escape for locals and visitors, and host world-class events.”

To further raise Ballito’s status, Leclezio said that BUIP, in collaboration with KwaDukuza Municipality, is raising funds to build a fourth access ramp down to the beach: “Collaboration among all community role-players and the public is key to enhancing the KZN North Coast’s public spaces and delivering on our objective of being positioned as Africa’s most sought-after warm water lifestyle destination. It is also for this reason that we attract world-class events to our shores like the Ballito Pro.”


The Made for More Para Surfing Expression Session Heats


Heat 1: Stand, Sit & Kneel Combined Men

Stand 1 Men: Awande Mhlongo               

Stand 3 Men: Lerato Seroke

Stand 3 Men: Caleb Swanepoel

Kneel/Sit Men: David Williams   

Waveski Men: Doug Hendrikz


Heat 2: Prone Unassist, Prone Assist & Kneel Women

Prone 1 (Unassist) Women: Tracy McKay, Alulutho Tshoba                 

Prone 2 (Assist) Women: Natashia Siebert, Jodie Kroone

Kneel/Sit Women: Similo Dlamini


Heat 3: Visually Impaired Men         

VI 2 Men: Asande Sibisi, Zolani Dube, Sabelo Ngema


2023 Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival

This year’s festival programme will adopt the Konke KuLuhlaza – Everything is Blue theme throughout the action-packed and fun-filled lineup. Visitors to this year’s top surfing event can look forward to great festival activities and entertainment, including:

  • Free Ballito Pro Music Concerts
  • The Good Vibes and After Dark programmes
  • Retail offerings Extreme sports programme
  • Daily beach sports and recreational activities
  • O’Neill Blue Capsule initiative and Women of the Wave activation
  • Bra Golf Day fundraiser
  • Environmental awareness programmes and events
  • Coastal and Cultural Tourism Experience

Don’t miss any of the action at the 2023 Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival and be part of the change.  #konkekuluhlaza #everythingisblue