Jack Freestone will surf in Heat 17 Round 1 of the Mr Price Pro Ballito when competition begins.
Ballito, KwaDukuza, South Africa (Monday July 1, 2013) - Small surf and unfavourable conditions have forced organisers to call a lay day on the opening day of competition at the ASP Prime Mr Price Pro Ballito.
Event No. 3 of 8 on the ASP Prime Tour, the Mr Price Pro Ballito has attracted 83 international surfers, including 13 of the Top 34 World Championship Tour names, and with plenty of swell projected for the remainder of the window, event organisers are looking forward to an action packed start tomorrow.
“After placing the event on hold until noon, we have not seen an improvement in conditions and have decided to wait until tomorrow to put the first heats in the water,” Rich Porta, ASP International Head Judge, said. “We are tracking a few swell models arriving in the coming days and will be back tomorrow morning to make another assessment.”
While small surf prevented competition from getting underway this morning, many of the world’s best were down at Willard’s Beach warming up – including ASP World No. 4 and event favourite, Jordy Smith (ZAF).
“It’s definitely not going to be an easy event this year, there are 13 of the world’s best surfers from the WCT here and I’m just excited to be home!” Smith said. “To be able to surf in front of my home crowd and friends is what I look forward to all year.”
A proven contender in everything from small beach break waves to powerful barreling reef breaks, Smith’s surfing is well-suited to the waves in Ballito.
“Ballito is definitely a spot that I know I can do well at,” Smith said. “I won here in 2010 and it’s a wave where you can get barreled, you can do big turns and big airs. I think the surfer who comes away with a win at the end is definitely the surfer who has the full deck of cards and I feel like I can do it this week.”
Event wildcard and former nine-year WCT veteran, Greg Emslie (EL), was another surfer keeping an eye on conditions this morning. While revered as a formidable wildcard in this year’s draw, Emslie has picked Smith as the surfer to watch out for at this year’s event.
“My favourite is always Jordy, being a local,” Emslie said. “I think talent-wise he’s the best surfer in the world and I’ll always pick him as my champ because he’s extremely dangerous.”
“There are a bunch of really good surfers in the event,” Emslie continued. “Julian Wilson (AUS) has proved himself at elite level and young Brazilian surfer, Filipe Toledo, has an unbelievable air game. Someone like Travis Logie (ZAF) is a fierce competitor and I have had many tough years on tour with him so you’ve got to watch out for that old school competitiveness.”
Recently crowned ISA Masters Champion, Emslie, who is among the most experienced of the surfers in this year’s event and is reputed to be surfing better than ever, will be determined to take out the one event that has always eluded him – the Mr Price Pro Ballito.
“There’s not too much pressure on me, there are guys fighting for points and I’m just fighting to get the good waves in the heat. If I get the waves I’ll make the heat for sure, I’m just focusing on being relaxed, calm and picking the best waves.”
Event organisers will reconvene tomorrow at 7:00am to assess conditions for a possible 7:15am start.
When competition resumes, the first heat in the water will see ASP World No. 19 Matt Wilkinson (AUS) take on Jesse Mendes (BRA), Gabriel Villaran (PER) and Matthew Bromley (ZAF).
For more information including heat results, video highlights and news log on to www.mrpricepro.com.
Upcoming Round of 96 Heats:
Heat 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS); Jesse Mednes (BRA); Gabriel Villaran (PER); Matthew Bromley (ZAF) Heat 2: Granger Larsen (HAW); Caio Ibelli (BRA); Lincoln Taylor (AUS); Gavin Gillette HAW) Heat 3: Willian Cardoso (BRA); Garrett Parkes (AUS); Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR); Flavio Nakagima (BRA) Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA); Heath Joske (AUS); Michael Dunphy (USA); Ty Watson (AUS) Heat 5: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW); Bernado Miranda (BRA); Gony Zubizarreta (ESP); Alain Riou (PYF) Heat 6: Aritz Aranburu (EUK); Stu Kennedy (AUS); Romain Cloitre (FRA); Hodei Collazo (EUK) Heat 7: Jay Thompson (AUS); Kiron Jabour (AUS); Tomas Hermes (BRA); Cristobal De Col (PER) Heat 8: Travis Logie (ZAF); Davey Cathels (AUS); Thomas Woods (AUS); Chad Du Toit (ZAF) Heat 9: Alejo Muniz (BRA); Evan Geiselman (USA); Matt Banting (AUS); Luel Felipe (BRA) Heat 10: Mitchel Coleborn (AUS); Ezekiel Lau (HAW); Cory Arrambide (USA); David Van Zyl (ZAF) Heat 11: Beyrick De Vries (ZAF); Dale Staples (ZAF); Torrey Meister (HAW); Marlon Lipke (PRT) Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF); Nathan Yeomans (USA); Maxime Huscenot (FRA); Slade Prestwich (ZAF) Heat 13: Julian Wilson (AUS); Wiggolly Dantas (BRA); Gabe Kling (USA); Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) Heat 14: Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY); Keanu Asking (HAW); Messias Felix (BRA); Chris Friend (AUS) Heat 15: Dion Atkinson (AUS); Joan Duru (FRA); Conner Coffin (USA); Michael February (ZAF) Heat 16: Dusty Payne (HAW); Nathan Hedge (AUS); David do Carmo (BRA); Nathaniel Curran (USA) Heat 17: Kolohe Andino (USA); Jack Freestone (AUS); Billy Stairmand (NZL); Steven Sawyer (ZAF) Heat 18: Jadson Andre (BRA); Tom Whitakker (AUS); Manuel Selman (CHL); Jano Belo (BRA) Heat 19: Tanner Gudauskas (USA); Jay Quinn (NZL); Mason Ho (HAW); Halley Batista (BRA) Heat 20: Brett Simpson (USA); Santiago Muniz (ARG); Nic Von Rupp (DEU); Yadin Nicol (AUS) Heat 21: Raoni Monteir (BRA); Andrew Doheny (USA); Peterson Crisanto (BRA); Blake Thornton (AUS) Heat 22: Marc Lacomare (FRA); Perth Standlick (AUS); Shaun Joubert (ZAF); Krystian Kymerson (BRA) Heat 23: Mitch Crews (AUS); Brian Toth (PRI); Luke Davis (USA); Ian Gouveia (BRA) Heat 24: Filipe Toledo (BRA); Riacrdo Christie (NZL); Jean Da Silva (BRA); Greg Emslie (ZAF)