Australian Julian Wilson, 24, (Coolum Beach, QLD) has won the ASP Prime Mr Price Pro Ballito, defeating Jordy Smith, 25, (Cape Town, ZAF) in a memorable Final at Willard’s Beach on Saturday July 6, 2013.
Stop No. 3 of 8 on the ASP Prime Series culminated with the most anticipated match-up of this year’s competition – event standouts, Smith and Wilson, living up to expectation with inspired performances in front of a capacity crowd.
“I’m really happy to get the win!” Wilson said of his 18.93 to 16.70 victory over Smith. “It’s my third time in Durban and I’ve gotten a good result each time. I really enjoy spending time here, it’s a great place with friendly people where I feel warm and comfortable. It definitely helps with my results.”
While Smith assumed an early lead to put Wilson in a combination situation (needing a combination of two scores) with his 7.67 and 8.83 (out of ten) scores, it was Wilson’s high-risk approach that was rewarded.
Knowing he needed something extra-ordinary to take the win, Wilson put everything on the line, completing an extremely critical Alley Oop aerial maneuver to score the first perfect 10 of this year’s competition.
Following up with a 8.93 slob grab reverse aerial maneuver, Wilson cemented his win over the local favourite and was chaired up the beach as the deserved 2013 Mr Price Pro Ballito Champion.
“Jordy put the pressure on me at the start but there were plenty of opportunities and I just had to flip the heat and put some scores on the board,” Wilson said. “That was the first time I’ve landed that air in a contest and I had to do something because I had my back against the wall. I’m stoked I could pull it off and come away with the win.”
Wilson is the second Australian to win the event since Chris Davidson (AUS) in 2008 and has pocketed R407 500 (US$40 000), rocketing to World No. 1 on the ASP World Rankings.
Smith had a dream run through to the final with flawless performances and perfect scores as he defeated Aritz Aranburu (EUK) in the Quarterfinals and Stu Kennedy (AUS) in the semi finals.
Unfortunately for Smith it was not the dream finish he’d hoped for, nonetheless pocketing R207 500 (US$20 000) and assuming the World No. 2 position.
“It was an honour to surf in the final against Julian, I’m just sorry I didn’t win it,” Smith said. “Julian stuck that air and it was amazing. I went on a trip to Reunion with him and he tried it a million times and didn’t make it and then he goes into the final and sticks it first time!”
The Australian contingent proved the most dominant on the final day of competition, with Stu Kennedy and Mitch Crews reaching the semi finals and placing equal third respectively.
Crews brought his big match temperament to an all-important semi final clash against Wilson. Producing a full repertoire of maneuvers, Crews was unfortunate not to find the near perfect score needed to beat the polished and more experienced Wilson.
Crews advanced from World No. 39 to World No. 27.
“I’m really happy to get all the way to the Semis and to surf against Julian,” Crews said. “Jordy and Julian have been standouts all event and there’s not much you can do when they’ve got you. This is a big result for me and I hope to continue my run and get a bunch more results to make the tour next year.”
Kennedy suffered a case of nerves against Smith in their semifinal match up. Feeling the pressure against the local favourite, Kennedy went for big turns but was uncharacteristically not able to stick them. The Australian was defeated in a combination situation.
Kennedy rockets from World No. 53 to 31 and will be looking to climb the ladder in the hope of qualifying for the WCT in 2014.
The Mr Price Pro Ballito enjoyed six days of action packed world-class surfing as Willard’s Beach delivered great waves and capacity crowds.
The action continues tonight with the Free Music Concerts on the Beach at Salt Rock and more exciting Festival activities at the Mr Price Pro Ballito Beach Festival tomorrow.
Log on to www.mrpriceproballito.com for more information including highlights and results.