NewsBallito ProHiroto Arai

Hiroto Arai Claims Final Wildcard Slot into QS10K Ballito Pro

The Ballito Pro pres. by O'Neill, first of six QS10,000 events this season, is set to launch tomorrow in fun waves. The field was completed today as a 32-man field fought it out in the official trials for the last remaining wildcard slot into Round 1 of the main event.

Hiroto Arai, Luke Slijpen, Luke Dillon and Chad Du Toit battled in the final heat of the trials held in fun punchy little waves this afternoon in Ballito.

Hiroto Arai (JPN) advances to the Mens Pro Trial Quarterfinal in the 2019 Ballito Pro pres by O'Neill after placing second in Heat 4 of Round 1 at Ballito, South Africa. Arai's forehand attack was impeccable all-day in Ballito. WSL / Ryan Janssens

Arai bested the international field and claimed the spot in Heat 1, Round 1 of the Ballito Pro pres. by O'Neill where he'll be facing Jordan Lawler, Slade Prestwich and Jordy Maree.

In the Final, Dillon took an early lead with a 7.00 for a combination of three big maneuvers on his forehand. Arai stayed in fighting distance with a 6.25 for a backhand effort this time, while the two South Africans struggled to find solid scores in the first half of the heat. The Japanese surfer turned the heat inside the 5-minute mark, Dillon got a last-second opportunity but couldn't find the winning score and Arai walked away with the coveted ticket for the main event.

Hiroto Arai (JPN) advances to the Mens Pro Trial Quarterfinal in the 2019 Ballito Pro pres by O'Neill after placing second in Heat 4 of Round 1 at Ballito, South Africa. Arai getting some local love already in Ballito with a win on trials day. WSL / Ryan Janssens

"I'm stoked! I traveled 24hrs from Japan to come here so I'm super happy to make the main event," he said. "I surfed four times here in Ballito in the event but this year I didn't do well in the QS and had to go through the trials. Hopefully I can keep that good rhythm going and make a few heats in the main event, the goal is always to qualify at the end of the year."

The 24 year-old from Yokohama - Japan, who's currently ranked 98th on the Qualifying Series, will join one of the strongest field ever assembled outside of Championship Tour events when the Ballito Pro pres. by O'Neill launches tomorrow. An incredible 36 current and past CT athletes will fight it out alongside the toughest competitors on the QS for a piece of the 10,000 points and US$220,000 prize purse on offer.

Tune in from July 1-7, 2019 and check out all the photos, videos, LIVE webcast and updates right here on worldsurfleague.com!

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