An increase in swell size to 1.5 meters, combined with a light onshore breeze at Willard’s Beach, provided the ideal canvas for the Brazilian talent to post the event’s first Perfect 10-point ride. Toledo landed a huge, full- rotation aerial reverse, leaving both the crowd and his fellow competitors, speechless.
With an appetite for perfection, Toledo discarded an array of excellent scores, completing his performance with a 9.83 nose-pick aerial to advance into the Round of 24 with the highest heat total of this year’s competition, a near perfect 19.83 (out of a possible 10.00).
“The conditions were pretty challenging with a lot of bump but these are the perfect conditions for airs,” Toledo said. “I saw Yadin Nicol’s huge 9.5 aerial this morning and I thought, if I can land a big one like that, I can get a ten.”
Yadin Nicol set the ball rolling for a day of aerial surfing, landing a slob grab aerial maneuver, to score a 9.5 during the Round of 96.
Threading through a throaty barrel with a smooth transition into two vertical hacks, Nicol was also rewarded with a further 9.6 and with the day’s second highest heat total, a 19.10 (out of a possible 20.00).
“I was just lucky on the 9.5, it had a big dumpy section at the end and the wind held me up for a bit longer than expected,” Nicol said. “It was definitely tricky out there and it’s easy to get out of rhythm, the other guys were just unlucky.”
Former WCT surfer Heitor Alves (BRA) kept his dream of qualifying for the elite World Championship Tour alive, with a last minute victory with his near perfect 9.5 ride.
Alves, currently rated 14 on the QS, advanced into the Round of 24 ahead of fellow advancing surfer Tiago Pires (PRT), the pair eliminating South African’s Travis Logie and David Van Zyl from the event.
“Thanks God for that wave,” Alves said. “I made that heat off my last wave and I’m so happy because I’m looking for a result to qualify for next year.”
Monday’s standouts Brazilians Caio Ibelli and Tomas Hermes continued their great form to advance into the Round of 24. Ibelli secured an early lead with his 9.00 and 7.33 scores, while Hermes came from behind landing an aggressive air reverse to bump Aritz Aranburu (ESP) from second down to third, despite the Spaniard’s near perfect 9.43 score.
“It was really fun and it feels good to make it through another round,” Ibelli said. “I have been watching the waves all day and when I saw who I was up against, I knew it would be a high scoring heat.”
The Australians also looked razor sharp during the Round of 96. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) produced a critical combination of backhand turns to take the win with excellent 7.60 and 8.10 scores ahead of fellow advancing surfer Former ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone. Freestone jumped from third into second in the dying seconds, landing a controlled aerial reverse for an 8.87 score, knocking Kiron Jabour (HAW) down into third.
“It’s been a slow start to the year for me, so a big result here is good for points and it would be a confidence booster going into the World Championship Tour event in J-Bay,” Wilkinson said. “I hope I can keep going and find myself in a final.’
Ryan Callinan proved the form surfer of his Round of 48 nail-biter, his patience paying off when he stroked into two of the best waves of the heat, advancing alongside a hungry Mitch Coleborn (AUS), while Conner Coffin (USA) was eliminated in third.
Surfing with the precision of a sage WCT performer Adrian Buchan combo’d the field, with his flawless backhand attack to take the win with a 15.00 heat total over Moroccan Surfer Ramzi Boukhiam. The pair eliminated former Mr Price Pro Champion Glen Hall (IRL).
The day’s biggest upset saw top seed and former Mr Price Pro Champion Jordy Smith (ZAF) eliminated from the competition in the Round of 24.
Smith suffered an uncharacteristically slow start, failing to post more than a 3.7 until the final minute. Smith came back with a full-rotation aerial reverse, scoring a remarkable 9.20, just not enough to take him out of the combination situation set by Timmy Reyes (USA) and Torrey Meister (HAW) who, advanced in first and second respectively.
It was a sad day for the South African contingent with the remaining fives surfers eliminated. Dylan Lightfoot and Slade Prestwich were eliminated in the Round of 96, while Logie, Van Zyl and Smith faltered in the Round of 48.
The remaining eight heats of the Round of 96 were completed followed by Heats 1-7 of the Round of 48 before competition was called off due to adverse conditions.
The next call will be at 07:00 for a possible 07:30 start with Heat 9 of the Round of 48 on Wednesday July 2, 2014.
The Mr Price Pro Ballito will be held from Monday June 30 to Sunday July 6 2014 and will be webcast LIVE via www.mrpricepro.com.
Image Caption: Filipe Toledo (BRA) posted the first PERFECT 10 of the Mr Price Pro Ballito. Image credit: © Mr Price/ Cestari