Everything suddenly got serious at the Ballito Pro pres. By Billabong as Day 4 completed the third round of competition and moved into the fourth. The 3,700 Qualifying Series (QS) points guaranteed for the surfers advancing to Round Five are already a keeper result, but everyone has their eyes set on the bigger prize, that almost too-big-to-be-true 10,000 points dream basket for the winner.
Cali Gets One Over Brazil
One of the most exciting talents coming out of California is 18-year-old Griffin Colapinto, who just charged his way into Round Five, posting a statement win against QS top dog Jesse Mendes and eliminating veteran surfer Alejo Muniz along the way. Griffin went all-out to post an excellent 8.50 on his third wave only, with a big rotation into the flats to punctuate the ride.
"I just went out there and wanted to find a good ramp or two turns, it was really fun," he said. "I knew two sixes weren't going to cut it so I went for that air at the end of the wave and I felt much more comfort after that. I don't think I've had better than a 9th in a QS10,000 so if I could do that it would be great."
Hawaii Makes Up Ground in Round Four
Out of the lone three heats of Round Four surfed early this afternoon, two were won by Hawaiians Keanu Asing and Joshua Moniz, in quite a different manner. Both surfers went to their own signature style, Keanu sticking to the wave face with power turns, spraying the whole Ballito area with buckets of water.
Josh on the other hand, continued to impress with explosive surfing and even landed a huge air for a 9-point ride and his spot into the one-on-one battles. The young Hawaiian, heir of the Moniz legacy, seems to have found a brilliant rhythm in Ballito, posting his third consecutive win with a heat total over 15 points.
"I was definitely looking for the air sections when I got out there," he said. "I saw the double-up section at the end and just went for it. It was a hard heat so I really didn't have a choice, luckily the wave just let me land. I'm psyched for Keanu as well, and super stoked to make it through the next round myself."
The Cinderella Story Continues
Michael February advanced again today against all odds, moving into the man-on-man Round Five behind Asing. MFeb was visibly surfing with a different confidence level as he went to his aerial repertoire to defeat Krystian Kymerson, who up until then was clearly the favorite in that category.
"This is definitely the best result I've had in an event like this," he said. "It's such a pleasure to have half-hour heats with only two or three other guys. The waves aren't ridiculously amazing out there, so I knew I just needed two waves and just the fact that it's 30 minutes helps so much. I knew Krystian could go into the air and get a nine like he did in my other heat. I thought, 'I'll just sit on him and hopefully make the right decision in terms of the waves.'"
South Africa now has potentially two more chances of the title staying in Ballito with Jordy and David Van Zyl still alive and well in the event.
"It's pretty fun out there, the waves have got quite a lot of power and they're quite punchy," David said. "It's my best result here at the Ballito Pro, so I'm really stoked."
"It's awesome to have so many South Africans through, it's about time!," Jordy added. "We've got so much talent in this country, it's just about activating it and putting the best foot forward in the contest and the big comps. Really stoked for everyone and I hope they can go all the way."
North African Power Meets South African Beachie
Morocco's Ramzi Boukhiam nailed the day's biggest single-wave score in the opening minutes of his Round Three matchup with Ryan Callinan, Brett Simpson and Diego Mignot. The powerful goofyfoot is a well established Top 50 surfer on the QS, just looking for a big break to propel him on the qualifying race forefront like many others.
Ramzi selected the heat's biggest wave and performed two critical turns right in the power pocket to put a 9.17 on the board and advance. If he can keep his good momentum into the next couple of days in Ballito, this could be the well-deserved break he's after.
"This one came a little wide and I was lucky to be in the spot," he said. "I thought it was going to close out but I managed to fit two turns in, the second I got barely enough time to do it, and I knew it was going to be a good score. From there I just tried to control the heat with priority."
As conditions turned for the worse towards high tide again, competition was called off for the rest of the day, giving everyone time to reset and re-energize before what shapes up to be an epic final few days in Ballito.
Find out more about all the results, check out photos and highlights right here!