Ballito, South Africa (Wednesday July 3, 2013) - Day three of the Mr Price Pro Ballito kept spectators on their seats, as the world's best lit up the challenging conditions at Willard's Beach.
The final six heats of the Round of 96 were completed in clean 1.5 to two-meter waves before a strong southerly wind wreaked havoc with conditions. Wave selection would prove critical as the event ran through the Round of 48.
Event top seed, ASP World No. 11 Julian Wilson (AUS), became the standout performer of this year's competition - netting the highest scores, a 9.87 and 8.67 (both out of 10). Wilson produced a beautiful series of top-to- bottom turns, surfing with precision and commitment that had some judges scoring him perfect 10s.
"I wore board shorts because I figured I was going to be doing a lot of paddling out there and it made me feel a lot freer on the waves," Wilson said. "It was tricky out there but there wasn't much hassling going on and everyone got to surf their own heat, so it was good."
The Brazilian contingent continued to assert their dominance at an event that has crowned more Brazilian victors than any other nation.
Peterson Crisanto (BRA) couldn't put a foot wrong in his round of 96 heat. The current World No. 88 earned the second highest wave scores of the competition, a near perfect 9.67 (out of ten) for his fast, powerful surfing and sweeping turns. Crisanto advanced in first with Raoni Monteiro going through in second.
"I feel so good, this is my second time in Ballito and the waves are pumping," Crisanto said. "I tried to give my best and I got that nine so I am pretty stoked to get through into the next round. This is the best event on the whole tour and the waves feel like home."
ASP World No. 13 Filipe Toledo (BRA) saved his best for the last heat of the day, landing a critical backside air reverse on a rare lefthander to score an excellent 9.43 for this single maneuver. Toledo snatched the win over Australian Mitch Crews.
"Yeah that was the best heat I've had out here," Toldeo said. "The conditions were hard but I found a good left and the wind was really good for airs. When I landed it I thought that was a good score."
Former ASP World Junior Champion, Caio Ibelli, joined his fellow countryman in putting on a show. Ibelli earning an excellent 8.83 score to take the lead and ultimately the win over fellow countryman /athletes/700/jesse-mendes)Jesse Mendes].
All three remaining South Africans in this year's competition kept the flag flying by advancing into the Round of 24.
2010 Mr Price Pro Ballito champion and current World No. 4, Jordy Smith, lived up to his reputation as one of the world's best. Tearing apart the head high surf with unprecedented power, Smith posted an excellent 8.00-point ride, following up with a 7.00 to advance seamlessly into the Round of 24 in first place.
"It was tough out there, there's a lot of side chop and it makes it hard when you're coming off the bottom and into your top turn but I think I got the best waves of the heat because I was willing to wait for them," Smith said.
After struggling with his equipment for the better half of his WCT career, Smith seems to have settled on that 'magic stick' and it is showing in his results.
"I've stuck to the same board this whole year while in previous years I was always paddling out on a new board," Smith said. "To win in front of a home crowd would be amazing and hopefully the waves hold up and we see some more great surfing this week."
Dylan Lightfoot of Jeffrey's Bay gave South Africa even more to cheer about rocketing from last into first place in the dying seconds of his Round of 48 heat.
"I think I surprised myself in that heat," Lightfoot said. "I saw the opportunity on those last two waves and I was lucky David (do Carmo) let me sneak that one from underneath him. I'm so stoked to have made it into the next round and I can't wait for my next heat."
Beyrick De Vries was the third South African to advance. Setting the pace with a pair of six-point rides, De Vries survived one of the toughest heats of the day. As the lead changed hands a number of times, De Vries was forced to settle for second place, advancing behind Frenchman /athletes/616/maxime-huscenot)Maxime Huscenot].
Basque surfer Aritz Aranburu looked comfortable in the bumpy conditions, netting an excellent score to take a big heat win over Thomas Woods. The pair eliminating World No. 24, Fred Patacchia Jnr, from the event.
Mason Ho (HAW) produced one of his best performances, winning his first ever heat at an ASP Prime event in the Round of 96. Mason went on to take second place behind Billy Stairmand (NZL) in the Round of 48.
The Mr Price Pro Ballito is Stop No. 3 of 8 on the ASP International Prime Tour and features 96 surfers from 16 countries including 13 of the top 34 elite World Championship Tour campaigners.
The event also features a dynamic Beach Festival, three nights of Free Music Concerts on the Beach as well as an exciting new Food and Wine exhibition.
For more information log on to www.mrpricepro.com.