Community and conservation initiatives take centre stage at Ballito Pro

The 55th Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill celebrates the ocean through surfing, seaside activities, and a dedicated conservation and community empowerment programme. As the Ballito Pro festival gets underway in KwaDukuza from 25 June to 8 July 2024, there are many ways for visitors to get involved and support these positive initiatives.

“The reality is that without a healthy ocean, there is no Ballito Pro and there is no life, so we need to be doing what we can to protect our ocean throughout the festival and beyond,” said Collette Bundy, The Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival Organiser.

“We’re delighted to welcome back the globally impactful Litter4Tokens Awareness & Prevention Campaign Beach Activation that encourages ocean conservation while supporting livelihoods. We also have the Made for More presentation and Ilembe Surf Riders Fundraiser promoting the development of surfing among our local communities. This all forms part of the Ballito Pro festival programme that will keep visitors engaged and entertained for the full two weeks.”

Litter4Tokens Awareness & Prevention Campaign and Beach Activation

The Ballito Pro is collaborating with renowned NPO Litter4Tokens to highlight the National Nurdle Clean-Up campaign. This is the clean-up of small plastic pellets, known as nurdles or mermaid tears, used in the manufacture of all plastic products. Nurdles are devastating for marine ecosystems as they spill into the ocean from lost containers, however, the code for nurdles isn’t deemed ‘hazardous material’ so shipping companies don’t know they are carrying them. They are also released by all plastic manufacturers into the drains when making all seven types of plastic, making their way to the rivers and ocean. Because of their small size and resemblance to fish eggs, marine animals consume these pellets, leading to intestinal blockages and starvation.

Clare Swithenbank-Bowman, CEO and founder of Litter4Tokens, Trash4Tokens, and the inventor of the Mermaid Tear Catcher – which is made from ocean-bound plastic – said they’re continuing the impetus of the 2019 initiative which saw more than 2.6kg of nurdles collected at the Ballito Pro. To date, they have collected and prevented more than 16.3 kgs of nurdles, saving the ocean and educating over 62 000 people.

“While you’re watching the best surfing, we encourage you to help collect the nurdles with our specially designed Mermaid Tear Catcher, usually along the beach at the high-water marks and among rocks,” said Swithenbank-Bowman. “Once nurdles are weighed, they are put into the Nurdle Bin to be repurposed. All contributors are added to the National Nurdle Clean-up and can win big! There will also be educational outreach programmes running at The Ballito Pro so you can learn more.”

The Ballito Pro-branded Mermaid Tear Catchers, which will be on sale at the event, are used to sieve through the sand to collect nurdles. All participants are entered into a competition and stand a chance to win some incredible prizes worth tens of thousands of rands. These include a two-night stay at Coco De Mer Boutique Hotel, dinner vouchers, cash prizes, and a surfboard made from recycled materials.

Litter4Tokens collectors will be sorting and collecting materials from all spectators, logging data on their app to document the types and quantities of waste diverted from landfills to show the full CO2 mitigated at The Ballito Pro – the first time such data will be collected at a WSL event. Dolphin Coast Waste Management will verify the data, including full rebate and repurposing of all materials, which will be shared with the event organisers daily to show how much landfill and ocean waste was prevented. 

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, legendary South African big wave surfer and three-time WSL World Champion, commented: “Nurdle pollution is a huge problem; almost every beach I travel to around the world has these environmentally disastrous pieces of plastic on them. The work that Litter4Tokens is doing to try and help clean these things up is fantastic. We get all packaging back to be repurposed with the dream of never having to do another beach clean-up again. Prevention is better than cure, giving all litter a higher value.”

History and Impact of Litter4Tokens

The Litter4Tokens campaign, established in 2015, has made significant strides in waste management and community empowerment across South Africa. The initiative has prevented over 2 million bags of ocean-bound waste and empowered more than 382 000 people. Currently, Litter4Tokens averages 72 000 bags of sorted materials monthly, with 1 432 waste collectors actively participating. The campaign operates in over 22 sites across the country, including KwaDukuza, Richards Bay, Mpumalanga, and Estcourt. There is also a sister foundation in the USA and Mexico –

For more visit or contact Clare Swithenbank-Bowman at

The iLembe Surf Riders Fundraiser and Made for More Presentation

Don’t miss out on an evening of fun all the while raising much-needed funding for the iLembe Surfriders Association. This is the official surfing district on the KZN North Coast, committed to promoting and developing the future of surfing in the Ilembe District.

This will also be an opportunity to learn more about the inspirational work being done by Made for More. This KZN-based NPO includes, equips, and empowers people with disabilities through sport. This includes coaching, exercise therapy, community projects, mentorship and training, awareness events, and leadership camps.

Guests at the fundraiser can look forward to an auction of fantastic surf equipment and memorabilia, a raffle for various surf merchandise prizes and an autograph signing session and interviews with O’Neill Pro Team Surfers. Surfing footage on the TV screens, a DJ and Fiamma Pizza specials will add to the good vibes.   

Venue: Fiamma Grill

Date: Tuesday, 2 July 2024

Time: 5.30pm

Cost: R100 per person including a raffle ticket and a complimentary Corona or cool drink as appropriate.

2024 Ballito Pro Festival Lineup

Outside of the skating and surfing arenas, visitors to this year’s Ballito Pro will enjoy two weeks of non-stop festival fun at the longest-running professional surfing event in the world. Some exciting 2024 festival elements include:

  • Ballito Pro Music Concerts Presented by Corona
  • Recreational Action
  • Retail Delight with food, drinks, arts and crafts
  • Kids’ Corner with face painting, sandcastle building, beach dashes, and Jive with Jen dance
  • Battle of the DJs and After Dark programme
  • Monster Energy Activation
  • iLembe Surf Riders Fundraiser
  • After Dark Programmes and Parties
  • Painting on Purpose Art Activation
  • Litter4Tokens Awareness Campaign and Beach

Following the 2024 theme, This is the Battlefield – Lena Inkundla Yempi, visitors will watch the best surfers battle it out in the longest-running professional surfing event while enjoying a host of top-class festival entertainment.

Don’t miss any of the action at the 2024 Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival #thisisthebattlefield #lenainkudlayempi

Watch LIVE The Challenger Series will be broadcast LIVE on, the free WSL app, and the WSL’s YouTube channel. Also, check out more ways to watch from the WSL’s broadcast partners.

To find out more about The Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill festival programme, visit:






Snapchat: Username – TheBallitoPro

Image Credit: © WSL/McGregor