KwaDukuza Welcomes International Festival of Surfing to Ballito in June
The World Surf League’s elite performers will be joined by the cream of the country’s men, women and juniors at Ballito on the KwaDukuza coast of KwaZulu-Natal in June for a festival of unsurpassed surfing excellence.
For an eighth successive year the region will host the top international and South African men who will be competing in the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong, a WSL Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 rated event with a prize-pool of R4 million. The women will again demonstrate their skills in the QS1,000, R50 000, Ballito Women’s Pro presented by Billabong while the Billabong Junior Series includes events for men and women aged 18 and under at Ballito for the first time.
“KwaDukuza Municipality is privileged to continue our private-public partnership for growth by bringing the Ballito Pro, the country’s most popular professional surfing event, to our region, province, country and continent,” says the Mayor of KwaDukuza, Cllr Ricardo Mthembu. “During a declining world economy, the Ballito Pro drives tourism growth, creates local business opportunities and much needed job opportunities.”
“We thank our partners World Surfing League and Billabong, along with the contribution made by local businesses, our community, staff and emergency services. This year’s event coincides with the 40th celebration of June 16 and provides a platform for the youth of the world to showcase their talent and highlight global integration through sport. KwaDukuza is ready to host all our visitors and provide the surfers, from the Junior Series to the world’s best professionals, with an unforgettable experience that will encourage you to become brand ambassadors for Ballito and South Africa in general.”
Continuing its storied 47 year legacy as the world’s longest running professional surfing event, the Ballito Pro will be bigger and better in all aspects in 2016 as it again welcomes the support of global apparel and equipment giant Billabong, which has added its acclaimed and long running junior series to the mix this year.
“Billabong is once again really proud to be the presenting sponsor of the 2016 Ballito Pro,” said Billabong SA Group Marketing Manager, Chad D’Arcy. “Last year’s event was a phenomenal success and we are looking to build on what we achieved in 2015. Working with KwaDukuza was such a pleasure and we can’t wait to be back in Ballito again. We will be adding a junior surfing event as part of our annual Billabong Junior Series, which will bring another exciting element into the schedule.”
The 2015 Ballito Pro field included 17 of the world’s top 34 ranked surfers and was won by Alejo Muniz whose haul of 10 000 points contributed significantly to the Brazilian’s qualification for the prestigious 2016 WSL Championship Tour (CT). This year’s expanded 112-man field provides the local WSL Africa registered surfers with invaluable experience competing against the world’s best, along with opportunities to earn prize-money and coveted rankings points while competing in their home surf.
Points received in the Ballito Women’s Pro count towards the annual WSL Africa titles and ensures that the country’s top female competitors qualify for preferential seeding into international events. And competitors aged 18-and-under in the Billabong Junior Series will be striving for the prestigious event titles and selection for the WSL Africa squad that is invited to the annual WSL Junior Championships.
“It’s fantastic for South African surfing, KwaDukuza, Ballito and the WSL that we are able to host the continent’s highest level QS rated event at this superb venue for the eighth year in a row,” says WSL Africa Operations Manager, Colin Fitch. “We look forward to seeing 112 of the world’s best surfers produce another spectacular display of high performance surfing in Ballito. The opportunity for our top pro juniors to rub shoulders and compete with these top performers will help to raise the standard of surfing in South Africa. Thanks again to KwaDukuza, Billabong and Ballito.”
The Ballito Pro and Ballito Women’s Pro events will run in conjunction between Monday 27 June and Sunday 3 July. They are preceded by the Surfing South Africa Trials on Sunday 26 June with the four-day Billabong Junior Series running from Wednesday to Saturday, 22 – 25 June.
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 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).