Tuesday was a dream day for Australian Skye Burgess and Durban's Sarah Baum. The two friends and traveling partners were able to cheer each other on as they surfed throughout Ballito Pro Women's event on opposite sides of the draw. Their system worked well too, as the duo advanced all the way to the Finals to decide the winner.
With a southwest wind picking up and making the small conditions difficult, Commissioner Travis Logie decided to move the event from Bathers Beach across to Surfers Beach, where the waves were slightly less wind-affected. It was the right decision, with some great rides and solid scores during the Final.
After a quick start from Baum, it was Burgess who really clicked into gear, surfing a long, open left into the wind with multiple turns to be awarded a 7.17, the highest score of the final, and an early lead. She followed up with a 6.30 and the final became all about the Australian natural-footer. Sarah was chasing, and quickly banked a 4.5 to get herself out of a solid combination situation.
The two friends were spotted numerous times chatting to each other during the Final, and it was obvious there was some cheerful banter going on. They were playing a gentle game with no serious hassling or jockeying. They sat calmly and waited for the best waves as the conditions deteriorated under the impending southwesterly push.
It really wasn't the greatest of conditions, but still highly contestable waves were on tap throughout this final heat, and the girls were on fire throughout.
Baum advanced to the Final by getting past defending champion Nikita Robb in the Semis. Both goofy-footers, Sarah originally hails from Durban but has been training and competing in Australia for the last 18 months. The Australian trip has put her in good form, too.
Burgess had to get past Teal Hogg from Mhlanga, Durban, in her Semifinal match. It was another tight heat with Skye edging ahead of two times South African Junior Champion for the win. It was still a great result for Hogg, and a clear indication that she has a very long and exciting surfing career ahead of her.
As the Final drew to a close, however, it really was the Skye Burgess show. She had been in a dominant position after her first high scoring left-hander, and Sarah never really got going despite a few flashes of brilliance and some power turns. The South African was left needing a 9.24 as the time ran out, and a last-ditch effort on a right-hander failed to result in a big score.
"It was like a normal free-surf for us out there, and I was just happy to be going right," said Burgess. She was thrilled for her next adventure with her Baum, too. "Sarah and I are making a little movie together, so it's going to be great."
The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong will get going again tomorrow at 7 a.m., with the promise of good surf on its way.