World’s Best Surfers Blow Up on Day 5 of Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong

July 6, 2017 • WSL

WILLARD BEACH, Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal / South-Africa (Friday, July 7, 2017) — The world’s best surfers revelled in the overhead surf at Willard Beach on Day 5 of the Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong, carving massive arcs, manoeuvring into and out of deep tubes and taking to the air with high flying aerials on the two metre plus waves.

Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

After a day of intense competition where the five remaining heats in the Round of 24 and all eight heats in the Round of 16 were completed, Mikey Wright (AUS) emerged as the standout performer, earning the event’s highest single ride, a near perfect 9.87 out of 10 for a no-grab full rotation, and heat total with an impressive 18.80 out of 20 in his early morning heat. “The waves are pretty perfect so I just went out there to have some fun and get some scores,” Wright explained. “That wave presented itself and I got the air and then I got a little barrel at the end as well, so there are some well spread out conditions and I’m having fun. The main goal to get on tour, however long it takes. This contest is the first prime (QS10,000) so it’s definitely a big event.”

The 20-year-old Australian went on to post another excellent score to outpoint exciting Brazilian aerial maestro Yago Dora (BRA) in the first round of the man-on-man format to move into the quarterfinals of a QS10,000 event for the first time in his career.

Ramzi Boukhiam of Morocco finished equal 9th in The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing second in Heat 4 of Round Five at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

The day’s action kicked off with a high-scoring duel between Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) that saw each earn a pair of excellent rides. The Moroccan narrowly outpointing the World No. 3 as they both advanced to the last 16 at the expense of David van Zyl (ZAF) who could not find the high scoring waves and ended his 2017 Ballito Pro campaign in equal 17th place with a career-high 2,200 point haul.

World No.3 Jordy Smith of South Africa advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing second in Heat 4 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

“That heat was tough, you know these QS guys want it more than anyone,” said Smith. “It’s good for me to get a warm up and it keeps me on my toes for sure. You’ve got to keep analysing and go to Plan B if the conditions shift, just judge every wave for what it is and really not over think anything too much.”

David Van Zyl of South Africa finished equal 17th in The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing third in Heat 4 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Despite the onset of the onshore breeze, the first heat in the Round of 16 had the packed beach cheering as crowd favourite Michael February (ZAF) fought back from a slow start to overtake young Californian Griffin Colapinto (USA) and advance to the quarterfinals.

Michael February of South Africa advances to the Quarterfinals of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 1 of Round Five at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

“Super slow start to the heat and then on my first wave I had my leash under my foot so I kind of got a wobble and everyone probably thought it was nerves,” said February. “Then conditions changed a lot. I’d seen Keanu (Asing) got some barrels and I was trying to get something similar but in the end I just found a couple of corners that allowed me to do a few turns, so I was really happy. I already made my best result a few rounds ago, so now everything is a plus and I’m trying to make the most of it.”

Griffin Colapinto of the USA finished equal 9th in The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing second to Michael Wright of South Africa in Heat 1 of Round Five at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

February will be up against Jesse Mendes (BRA) in the quarters and win or lose the South African has already accumulated enough points to break into the Top 10 on the QS rankings. Mendes, the current QS No. 1, cemented his place in a qualifying slot for the 2018 WSL Championship Tour (CT) by defeated Keanu Asing and advancing to the last 8 at Ballito.

Men’s Qualifying Series Rankings leader Jesse Mendes of Brazil advances to the Quarterfinals of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 2 of Round Five at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Keanu Asing of Hawaii finished equal 9th in The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing second in 2 of Round Five at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

The balance of the quarters will see a head-to-head battle between Smith and Miguel Pupo (BRA), the only other current CT member still in the event. The bottom half of the draw pits Wade Carmichael (AUS) against fellow Australian Mikey Wright and Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) against Brazilian powerhouse Willian Cardoso, who has also moved into the QS Top 10 by reaching the quarters.

Miguel Pupo of Brazil advances to the Quarterfinals of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 4 of Round Five at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Wade Carmichael of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 5 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Vasco Ribeiro of Portugal advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 7 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Willian Cardoso of Brazil advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 8 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Organisers will meet at first light again on Friday to make a call at 06.45 am on when to start what is likely to be the final day of the event. If the quarterfinals commence at 7.05 as expected, the 2017 Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong champion will be crowned at Willard Beach before noon.

The Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong is proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, Billabong, 5FM, Capitec Bank, Casio, North Coast Courier, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).

UPCOMING BALLITO PRO PRES. BY BILLABONG QUARTERFINAL MATCHUPS:
QF 1: Michael February (ZAF) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
QF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
QF 3: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)
QF 4: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)

Nat Young of the USA advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing second in Heat 7 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

BALLITO PRO PRES. BY BILLABONG ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Michael February (ZAF) 13.67 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.23
Heat 2: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 14.77 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 12.66
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.27 def. Joshua Moniz (HAW) 10.77
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.46 def. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 13.83
Heat 5: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 14.96 def. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 13.00
Heat 6: Mikey Wright (AUS) 16.17 def. Yago Dora (BRA) 10.60
Heat 7: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 13.44 def. Nat Young (USA) 11.67
Heat 8: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 10.76 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 9.70

Joshua Moniz of Hawaii finished equal 9th in The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing second in Heat 3 of Round Five at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

REMAINING BALLITO PRO PRES. BY BILLABONG ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 4: Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 16.84, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.24, David Van Zyl (ZAF) 7.77
Heat 5: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 16.50, Yago Dora (BRA) 14.43, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 12.50
Heat 6: Mikey Wright (AUS) 18.80, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 14.46, Parker Coffin (USA) 10.80
Heat 7: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 15.34, Heitor Alves (BRA) 13.57, Flavio Nakagima (BRA) 12.97
Heat 8: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 15.44, Nat Young (USA) 12.46, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 10.06

Parker Coffin of the USA finished equal 17th in The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing third in Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Cooper Chapman of the USA finished equal 17th in The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing third in Heat 8 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Photo: WSL/Cestari

 

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