BALLITO, KwaDukuza, South Africa (Wednesday, July 4, 2012) - Elite ASP World Championship Tour campaigners set the bar in the tricky, half-metre waves on offer at Willards Beach on day three of the Mr Price Pro Ballito.
ASP World No. 4 and top seed Adriano De Souza (BRA) put on an all-star performance to post the day?s highest heat score of 16.90 (out of a possible 20.00).
?The waves have been fun the whole time I?ve been here, they?re small but if you pick the right ones they offer plenty of scoring potential,? De Souza said. ?I haven?t been to Durban a few times but this is my first trip to Ballito. I don?t have any pressure on me at this event so I?m just here to relax and have a good time.?
Selecting the best of the waves on offer, De Souza?s smooth, powerful surfing saw him earn a pair of excellent 8.00 and 8.90 rides (out of ten) enroute to securing his win over fellow advancing surfer and former ASP World Junior Champion Marc Lacomare (FRA); the pair eliminating Lincoln Taylor (AUS) and David Weare (ZAF) from the event.
Local favourite and former Mr Price Pro Ballito Champion Jordy Smith (ZAF), rated World No. 8, showed his experience with a seamless performance over Alain Riou (PYF), Kai Barger (HAW) and Michael February (ZAF).
?It was a little tough because there weren?t not too many waves, I?m glad I got two waves at the start, I got two sixes which put me in the lead and set me up for the rest of the heat,? Smith said. ?It was all about staying on the inside and getting as many waves as possible, there were a lot of opportunities out there but for the most part it was just luck.?
Defending Champion and current World No. 31 Patrick Gudauskas (USA) was on fire during the opening heat of the day, making the most of the conditions to post a pair of great 6.50 and 7.50 rides.
Guduaskas advanced in first place along with fellow countryman and second place finisher Eric Geiselman (USA).
?It?s definitely all about hitting the ground running,? Gudauskas said. ?Thankfully they called it on today because I was itching to get in the water . It was fun, and there was a lot of opportunity to ride waves.?
Brazilian surfing prodigy Petersen Crisanto (BRA) put an exclamation mark on the final heat of the day, posting the highest individual ride of a 9.00 for a full front side aerial rotation, solidifying his win over fellow countryman and advancing surfer Willian Cardoso (BRA).
?Conditions were not that good but I found two nice waves and was able to complete a few maneuvers and I?m happy with my result,? a humble Cristano said. ?This is my first year in Ballito but I love South Africa, the people are very nice and the wave is amazing. It?s just like my local break so I feel very at home.?
Entering the event as the first alternate, Crisanto is one of the youngest contenders in this year?s event and after today?s performance looks set to be of the last men standing in Ballito this week.
Hawaii?s Granger Larsen proved unstoppable during his battle against Leonardo Neves (BRA), Joan Duru (FRA) and Charlie Brown (BRA). Riding almost his full quota of 11 out of 12 waves, Larsen kept busy to post 8.00 and 7.77 (both out of ten) rides advancing in first place.
One of the few European surfers in the event Hodei Collazo (EUK) took a well-deserved round 1 victory over Alex Ribeiro (POR), Ricardo Christie (NZL) and Chris Ward (USA).
Six heats of competition were completed before the event was called off due to unfavorable conditions.
The next call will be made at 06H30 for a possible 07H00 start tomorrow morning.