International surfers hit Ballito waves
Surfers from across the globe have descended on the wave rich KwaZulu Natal North Coast town of Ballito for the 13th Annual ASP Prime Mr Price Pro Ballito that starts tomorrow, 2 July, 2012.
Highly contestable surf for the start of the event is expected, with swell increasing in size and intensity from 1 – 1.5 meters. Light offshore winds and low tides in the morning could favour those to be seeded in the early morning heats.
Former ASP World Champion and current World No 12 CJ Hobgood, US, is in Ballito to capitalise on ratings points on offer and to challenge himself against the new breed of talent on the ASP Prime tour.
“I love the waves here and I’m looking forward to taking on some of the younger guys and checking out the new talent at this event,” Hobgood said. “The waves pumped last year but it’s a challenging place as it can be on one minute and off the next.”
Hobgood, who came close to falling off the elite ASP World Tour at the end of 2011, knows the importance of backing up his elite tour rating by surfing a selection of Prime events and will be looking to make his mark in Ballito this week.
“I have not had much luck here but that’s why I keep coming back,” Hobgood explained. “There’s a lot of money and points up for grabs at these events and it’s tough to get on and stay on the ASP World Tour these days so these events are important.
ASP World No 26 Adam Melling, Australia, is another elite tour campaigner looking to earn valuable ratings points on the African leg of the tour.
“Last year was amazing here, that’s why everyone wanted to come back,” Melling said. “This place can handle a decent size swell, we saw some big tubes here last year and that’s pretty much all your can ask for from an event, so we’re hoping we see more of that this year .
Mr Price Pro Ballito kicks off with the important local trials featuring eight talented South Africans pitted against each other in two, four-man heats so as to earn the final two slots into the main event
The first trials heat in the water will invivle David Van Zyl (Umhlanga), Matthew Bromley (Long Beach), David Weare (La Lucia), Daniel Redman (Umdloti) while the second heat will have Micheal February (Kommetjie), David Brand (Long Beach), Casey Grant (Scottburgh) and Klee Strachan (Winkelspruit) participating.
The first heat of the main event (Round of 96) will start soon after, featuring Tiago Pires (PoR), Yuri Sodre (BRA), Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) and Chad Du Toit (ZAF).
The surf forecast looks promising for the later part of the week with swell expected to peak in the 2-3 metre range.
Mr Price Pro Ballito includes an action packed beach festival featuring beach entertainment, extreme sports, dedicated children’s programs and a lifestyle and retail area that provides plenty of daytime fun. The ever-popular Mr Price Pro Music concerts will take place on the evenings of 6 and 7 July at Salt Rock at no cost to festival goers.