The Brazilian surfers emulated the success of their nation’s soccer team, dominating the punchy beach break conditions, on the opening day of competition at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Prime rated Mr Price Pro Ballito, on Monday June 30, 2014.
Fifty percent of the morning’s heat wins belonged to Brazilian surfers with Tomas Hermes (BRA) leading his nation’s victory charge. Hermes posted the highest heat total of the morning, a 15.80 (out of a possible 20.00) and advanced ahead of Nic Von Rupp (PRT).
“It’s exactly the start I was hoping for,” Hermes said. “The waves are so powerful and everyone is firing, it’s amazing to be here, surfing this wave.”
Former ASP World Junior Champion Caio Ibelli (BRA) proved similarly unstoppable, earning his first Qualifying Series heat win of the season and, the second highest heat total of the morning, a 15.10 (out of 20.00).
“It feels good to finally make a heat,” Ibelli said. “I’ve had a lot of round one losses, so it’s great to get through here in Ballito.”
ASP World No. 28 Alejo Muniz’s (BRA) combination of speed and power through his turns, combined with his aerial mastery, added to the Brazilians supremacy. He advanced ahead of Australian Thomas Woods.
“We have similar waves in Brazil which is why the Brazilians are doing so well here,” Muniz said. “We love to compete and we love to win. We’re missing the World Cup at home but we are watching on TV and it’s good to see Brazil doing well here and there.”
Peterson Cristano (BRA) posted the day’s single highest wave score, an 8.93 (out of ten) advancing in first place, while former WCT surfer Heito Alves (BRA) appeared polished with his win over wildcard and 2009 Mr Price Pro Champion Tanner Gudauskas (USA).
Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) currently rated No. 2 on the Qualifying Series, stamped his authority on the competition with a series of backhand hooks, to advance in first place with Davey Cathels (AUS) in second.
South Africa suffered a major upset at the hands of the Brazilian contingent when Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) made a critical priority error, taking-off on a wave that belonged to his opponent Alejo Muniz. The error cost De Vries his second place finish and was eliminated from the event.
Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Travis Logie (ZAF) kept local supporters on the edge of their seats, earning last-minute victories to maintain their positions in this year’s competition.
Logie secured the first of the days wins for South Africa, posting the required pair of six-point rides (out of ten) to bump Dillon Perillo (USA) down to second place and Wade Carmichael (AUS) down to third.
“I had a bit of a nerve-wracking start,” Logie admitted. “I was falling a lot but knew if I kept catching waves, it would come together. It’s a special win because I haven’t been home some since February, so it’s a great way to start.”
Smith employed his aerial game to secure a come from behind heat win over Krystian Kymerson, the pair edging out South African trialist winner Brandon Jackson, who was unfortunately eliminated in third place.
“It was really fun out there, I didn’t get the sets but I managed to find the waves I needed to get through,” Smith said. “I got to surf with one of my good friends ‘Jacko’ (Brandon Jackson) who I haven’t surf against in about seven years, it was just unfortunate he got knocked out by the Brazilian surfer at the end.”
Wildcard David Van Zyl (ZAF) was the third South African to advance, placing second behind Portugal’s Frederico Morais, with the pair edging out WCT surfer Sebastian Zietz (HAW).
Despite suffering a bad case of nerves, Hawaii’s Torrey Meister put together an impressive opening performance, to score an 8.83 for an exceptionally high aerial maneuver. Meister’s 15.76 two- wave heat score earned him, his victory over Australian Matt Banting.
“I was super nervous and I kept falling at the start,” Meister said. “This wave is perfect for airs and I knew there was lots of opportunity out there. I love coming to South Africa, it has some of the best waves in the world and it’s awesome to have a QS down here.”
Billy Stairmand (NZ) continued his recent form that has taken him to No. 4 on the QS rankings, posting a pair of 7-point rides for a well-deserved win.
Sixteen heats of the Men’s Round of 96 were completed in contestable, half to one-meter waves, before organisers were forced to call the event off, due to adverse conditions in the afternoon.
The next call will be made at 06:45 (local time) for a possible 07:15 start on Tuesday July 1, 2014.
The event is webcast LIVE on www.mrpricepro.com