Staples and Payne to compete for wildcard at Billabong Pro

Two St Francis Bay surfers, Dale Staples and Shaun Payne, will be competing in the VonZipper Superheat – the first surfing heat at the Billabong Pro Jeffrey’s Bay from 14 -24 July.

Two international surfers, two locally nominated surfers and the winner of the Xcel Pro Showdown at Supertubes will contest this 40 minute, winner- takes-all, battle for the final wildcard slot into the most prestigious surfing event in the country.

Jack Freestone from the Gold Coast of Australia and Granger Larsen from Maui, Hawaii will be joining the local duo of Shaun Joubert from Mossel Bay and Staples in the water. The final surfer vying for a slot into the main event will be Shaun ‘Billy’ Payne. Payne will be surfing against these four world class competitors all hoping to advance into the main event.

Payne was the recent winner of the Xcel Pro Showdown at Supertubes, beating his brother Ryan, the defending event champion, in the final. One of his prizes for winning this event was a wildcard slot into the VonZipper.

Shaun has shown his affinity to the long and perfect walls of Supertubes, and could definitely be the dark horse of the event. “Just so stoked to be included in the VonZipper Superheat,” Payne  said on winning the Xcel Pro. “It’s a hard event to get into, and we are all going to have only one shot at it. So I’m going to be doing my best out there for sure.”

The format for the VonZipper Superheat aims to run in perfect surf. “Being the first heat of the main event means that the guys will get good to excellent waves,” says VonZipper South Africa brand manager, Chad D’Arcy. “In the past, when we ran a mini-trials event, the heats were sometimes run off in less than perfect surf a day before a swell arrived, so that the wildcards were already decided for the official first heat. Now we are the official first heat, so it’s great.”

The winner of the VonZipper Superheat will join the other wildcard, Sean Holmes, in the main event. Also known as The Nemesis, Holmes has incredible previous results as a wildcard, deposing of world champions at relative ease over the last couple of years. In the 2010 edition of the event he eliminated both Kelly Slater and the late Andy Irons.

Joel Parkinson was an 18-year-old wildcard when he won the event in 1999, launching his career.

The VonZipper Superheat, along with the rest of the Billabong Pro will be broadcast live via webcast on www.billabongpro.com

All articles written, all photos taken, plus all adverts designed, by the Editor and printed in the St Francis Chronicle are protected by Copyright .  Reproduction or copying of any part of the contents of this newspaper and its concept and design can only be done with the Editor’s written permission.