Competition intensified on day four of the ASP Prime-rated Mr Price Pro Ballito as the surfing moved into man-on-man competition that saw upsets galore on Thursday July 2, 2014.
The Mr Price Pro is the biggest Qualification Series event in Africa boasting crucial ratings towards surfers’ qualification hopes for the 2015 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT).
Four heats of the Men’s No-Loser Round of 24 were completed, followed by the first four heats of the Round of 24 (elimination round), leaving just 20 surfers remaining out of the initial 96.
Two times ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone (AUS) put on another progressive performance, his aerial prowess earning him a pair of excellent 8.67 and 8.17 (both out of ten) scores for the highest heat total of the day a 16.84 (out of a possible 20.00).
“The waves are similar to yesterday so I went out there with the same game plan,” Freestone said. “This event is super important for my quest to qualify and I’m riding a magic board which I’m hoping will take me all the way.”
Dillon Perillo (USA) currently rated 81st on the Qualification Series, caused a massive upset by eliminating the number two surfer on the Qualification Series, Matt Banting (AUS) .
After a slow start to the season, Perillo advanced into the Round of 16 as the day’s standout performer.
“It’s definitely my best result of the season,” Perillo said. “I’ve never made a heat in a Prime, so it feels good to make three of them.”
“Everyone has been doing big airs and I’ve just been doing snaps, floaters and cut backs and I’m not sure if it’s perseverance, luck or if I’ve just been on the better side of the draw.”
ASP World No. 25 Tiago Pires (PRT) looked sharper than ever in one of the day’s biggest match up’s, taking on former WCT campaigner Heitor Alves (BRA).
Pires showed power and control through his maneuvers, turning average looking waves into solid scoring 7.17 and 7.33 rides, edging out his opponent by the narrowest of margins to advance into the Round of 16.
“Alves is a dangerous competitor,” Pires said. “He’s very fast and very precise and I was scared at the end there but luckily the waves were on my side.”
Former World Junior Champion Caio Ibelli (BRA), proved the events ultimate journeyman, after surfing the first heat of almost every round Ibelli’s last minute aerial heroics against Tomas Hermes (BRA), secured his place into the next round.
“I was really struggling out there and then I got that six,” Ibelli said. “This is the second time I’ve tried this board and it feels good and weird at the same time. I’m happy I got the last wave and got the score.”
Former WCT campaigner Timmy Reyes (USA) took yet another magnificent heat win, this time over Portugal’s Frederico Morais who was narrowly eliminated from this year’s event.
Also advancing out of the No-Losers Round of 24 this morning were Jadson Andre (BRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS) and Jeremy Flores (FRA).
The Mr Price Pro Ballito will continue tomorrow with the possibility of running the remaining four heats of the Round of 24, followed by the Round of 16. The call will be made at 07:00 am.
Image credit: © Mr Price/ Cestari