BALLITO, KwaDukuza/South Africa (Friday, July 6, 2012) - Just sixteen men remain in this year?s ASP Prime Mr Price Pro Ballito with the Brazilian surfers showing their force in powerful one-metre walls at Willard?s Beach.
ASP World No. 20 Alejo Muniz (BRA), one of the latest breed of Brazilian surfers pushing the boundaries of performance surfing, splashed the scoreboard with the highest heat total of the day a 17.17 (out of 20.00).
?I had a really good heat, I was kinda slow and fell on a couple of good waves at the start but I enjoy those heats where you don?t stop paddling and you never give up,? Muniz said. ?I like to come from behind in a heat but I was also pretty lucky to get those two waves.?
Muniz posted a pair of excellent 8.17 and 8.93 rides (both out of ten) to top former ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone?s (AUS) 8.40, advancing into the Round of 16 while Freestone and Sebastien Zietz (HAW) were relegated to the Round of 24.
?Jack was surfing amazing, he pulled one of the best aerials of the contest,? Muniz continued. ?I saw his wave from behind and I knew I needed another high score. I was just lucky I got that wave at the end and made the heat. ?
Top seed and ASP World No. 4 Adriano De Souza (BRA) maintained his reputation as a likely Mr Price Pro Champion, taking over the lineup with his varied repertoire of critical maneuvers to edge out opponents defending Champion Patrick Gudauskas (USA) and Brian Toth (PRI) with ease.
?It was so tough going up against the defending champion,? De Souza said. ?I just had luck on my side and chose the best two waves. I?ve been watching the positioning and wave selection from the local guys, especially Jordy Smith and I?ve tried to incorporate that into my surfing. I enjoy these waves here and hopefully I keep going.?
De Souza posted a poignant performance earning a 7.83, followed by a 8.04 for his lightening fast cracks, round house carves and big floater finishes.
Thomas Hermes (BRA) held off the challenge from early event standouts Nathaniel Curran (USA) and Beyrick De Vries (ZAF), showing the Brazilians mean business with his 7.83 and 8.00 rides to advance directly into the Round of 16.
?I?m so happy to win my heat, this is my best result this year,? Hermes said. ?I?m just feeling good, I love this wave and I?m feeling comfortable competing here and I hope to advance into the next round.?
South African?s Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Travis Logie (ZAF) proved local knowledge would go along way, the pair of Durbanites winning their respective heats to advance directly into the Round of 16.
Logie got off to a quick start, putting the pressure on fellow goofy-footer (left foot forward stance) Nathan Hedge (AUS) with his 6.00 opener before attacking the Willards Beach walls with his powerful backhand hooks to manufacturer more great scores finishing with a 7.93.
?There?s always a lot less pressure in the no losers heat but still so much on the line,? Logie said. ?I?m really stoked to get the win. I started off with a good rhythm, it was the first heat I felt in rhythm and didn?t have to claw my way back like some of the other heats I?ve had so I?m just stoked to get through.?
Smith followed suit appearing almost a little too relaxed against a dangerous looking Nate Yeomans (USA).
While Yeoman?s took an early lead with his smooth transition of maneuvers, followed by an impressive backside punt, Smith waited patiently out the back to lock in two of the best rides of the heat, a 7.83 and 7.00 off his final two waves.
?I was actually a little too relaxed out there,? Smith said. ?I thought that first and second advanced into the round of 16, so I was lucky I got those two waves at the end.?
Hawaii?s Torrey Meister continued his impressive form that has seen him top the scoreboard throughout the week, unleashing a series of casual aerial maneuvers to advance in first place, just narrowly defeating Granger Larsen with 10.67 to 10.40.
Nat Young (USA) came alive in the final minutes of his heat to knock Hodei Collazo (EUK) off the block. A proven performer on his backhand, with wins at the ASP Prime at Steamer Lane in California as well as numerous Pro Juniors, Young took the win with 6.83 and 7.23 scores.
Glen Hall (AUS) also advanced in first place over Jay Quinn (NZ) and David do Carmo (BRA) into the Round of 16.
North Coast surfer Beyrick De Vries (Umhlanga) posted the best result of his career finishing equal 17th after he was eliminated during the Round of 24.
De Vries advanced through the Non Losers Round of 24 this morning, before falling just short of the mark in the next round against Nathan Hedge with a final heat score of 13.47 to 13.34.
Advancing through the Round of 24 were Nathan Hedge (AUS), Nathaniel Curran (USA), Brian Toth (PRI), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Nate Yeomans (USA) and Alex Ribeiro (BRA).
Sixteen heats where completed including all eight heats of the Non Losers Round of 24 as well as six heats of the Round of 24 (Losers Round). The next call will be made at 07h00 tomorrow morning.
The Mr Price Pro Ballito Music Concerts kick off at Salt Rock Beach tonight with an impressive line-up including Gangs of Ballet, Wonderboom, the Ard Matthews Trio, Shadow Club, aKing, Crash Car Burn and Flash Republic. The party will continue on July 7 with Toya Delazy, Lloyd Cele, iscreamstix, Locnville, Pascal & Pearce, GoodLuck and Dino Bravo.
The concerts will get underway between 16h00 ? 22h00 and are free of charge to the public.