Local Umhlanga surfer Beyrick De Vries is counting the days until some 84 international surfers arrive to compete at one of his local breaks in the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Prime Mr Price Pro Ballito from June 30 – July 6, 2014.
It will be a dream-come-true for De Vries, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of elite ASP World Tour athletes and fellow durban surfers Jordy Smith and Travis Logie.
“It is such a blessing for the South African surfers to have an event like the Mr Price Pro Ballito in our country,” De Vries said. “The event offers double the prize money and ratings points of other star-rated Qualifying Series stops, so it’s a real foot in the door for those of us wanting to make it on the international stage.”
Rated 28th on the ASP World rankings, De Vries has climbed almost 100 places up the ratings ladder since this time last year, making him a firm favourite to not only bring the trophy back to South Africa but also gain further ground towards qualifying for the 2015 ASP World Tour.
“The Mr Price Pro is really important for me to further my rankings,” he said. “Last year I reached the Round of 16 here and after a disappointing result in Mexico this week (De Vries was eliminated in round two), I will be looking to make up some lost ground at this event.”
Competing in the familiar waves of Ballito, just 20 minutes away from his home, is an advantage that few surfers are afforded, so it is one De Vries wants to make the most of while he has the chance.
“I can’t even explain how much of an impact competing at home has on your surfing. It’s the opportunity to compete without the stress of travel, jet lag or finding the right nutrition and all the other factors you have worry about when you are overseas.
I surf the way I am feeling and, at the end of the day, it all comes down to confidence, that’s how my surfing comes out. I perform my best when the stress is off.”
De Vries said he was proud to call the KwaDukuza region home and enjoyed giving his fellow international rivals a warm African welcome.
“It is epic to have the world’s best surfers in Ballito because I know how fun home is, how good the waves are and how rich the culture is. They love Ballito, and it’s great to have one of their favourite destinations be the one you call home.”
A fierce competitor with no shortage of variety and flair in his repertoire, De Vries says working with his new shaper, Elton Fursman, of Hurricane Surfboards, has given him a fresh approach and was the move he hoped would take his surfing to the next level.
“It’s really important for me to work closely with my shaper. When my previous shaper Clayton moved to Australia at the start of the year, I started working with Elton. Hurricane are 100% are behind me achieving my dream of qualifying for the WCT.”
A top-three finish at the Mr Price Pro Ballito could make all the difference in De Vries’s campaign, which means he will have his sights set on the podium from the moment he hits the water in round one on Monday.
“I will not rest until I win the Mr Price Pro Ballito – this is the event I have my heart set on,” he said.
The organisers of the competition and the related festival – which is one of the biggest beach festivals in Africa – are expecting 100 000 fans to soak up the entertainment over the seven days of action.
The surfers will ride the ocean waves by day, and the spectators will be rocked by sound waves at night. Clothing and homeward group Mr Price, the sponsors of the event, and the KwaDukuza Municipality will be presenting free music concerts on the beach at Salt Rock on July 3 and 4. Thursday July 3 will see a night of Kwaito, Afro pop, hip-hop and house, and Friday July 4 will cater to more of a pop, rock and dance theme audience.
On July 1- 2 the event will incorporate a Food-and-Wine festival, bringing mouth-watering flavours to the beach and building on the lifestyle event that was so successful last year.
Mr Price’s RedCap Foundation has been selected as the event’s Corporate Social Investment programme. The foundation have been involved in the region since 2010, with its health and education programmes impacting low-income communities in KwaDukuza.
For more information log on to www.mrpricepro.com