Competition intensified on day four of the ASP Prime-rated Mr Price Pro Ballito as the surfing moved into man-on-man competition that saw upsets galore.
The annual competition is the biggest Qualification Series (QS) event in Africa. It's an opportunity to earn crucial points towards surfers' qualification hopes for the 2015 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT).
Four heats of the Men's No-Loser Round of 24 were completed, followed by the first four heats of the Round of 24 elimination round, leaving just 20 surfers remaining out of the initial 96.
Two-time ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone (AUS) put on another progressive performance, his aerial prowess earning him a 8.67 and 8.17. He scored the highest heat total of the day, with a 16.84.
"The waves are similar to yesterday, so I went out there with the same game plan," said Freestone. "This event is important for my quest to qualify and I'm riding a magic board, which I'm hoping will take me all the way."
After a slow start to the season, Perillo advanced into the Round of 16 as the day's standout performer.
"It's definitely my best result of the season," Perillo said. "I've never made a heat in a Prime, so it feels good to make three of them."
â€œEveryone has been doing big airs and I've just been doing snaps, floaters, and cutbacks. I'm not sure if it's perseverance, luck, or if I've just been on the better side of the draw.â€
Pires showed power and control through his maneuvers, turning average-looking waves into solid rides, edging out his opponent by the narrowest of margins to advance into the Round of 16.
"Alves is a dangerous competitor," Pires said. "He's very fast and very precise and I was scared at the end there but luckily the waves were on my side."
Former World Junior Champion Caio Ibelli (BRA), proved the event's ultimate journeyman. After surfing the first heat of almost every round, Ibelli's last-minute aerial heroics against Tomas Hermes (BRA) secured his place into the next round.
"I was really struggling out there and then I got that six," Ibelli said. "This is the second time I've tried this board and it feels good and weird at the same time. I'm happy I got the last wave and got the score."
The Mr Price Pro Ballito will continue Friday with the possibility of running the remaining four heats of the Round of 24, followed by the Round of 16. The call will be made at 07:00 am local time.
A full list of results can be found at mrpricepro.com.