What an amazing opening day in Ballito! If you weren't glued to your screen all day like the rest of us, here are a few things you should know.
Wiggolly Dantas is Back! Or so we hope..
Three years on the CT should be testament enough but just in case a few people still doubt, Wiggolly is one of the best surfers in the world. And when the waves pump, his backhand attack is second-to-none! In his opening round of the Ballito Pro pres by O'Neill the 29 year-old from Ubatuba absolutely lit up the rights and posted the day's highest combined total, a massive 16.83.
"I feel really good and the waves are pumping," he said. "Every year coming here we get good waves and it's a super special place for me, Africa is amazing and I always have a great time coming here with good friends. Traveling with my brother gives me great confidence, we've both been making heats and having fun."
Wiggolly's hit somewhat of a slump these past couple of years, but let's see if an inspired performance in Round 1 of the most important event of his season so far can sparkle a comeback! Here are his two scoring waves from this morning.
Waves Were the Real Stars on Opening Day
Conditions were solid and unruly for the junior events last week, settled down nicely for the trials and the women's QS1,000 on Sunday and Monday. Today, surfers woke up to picture-perfect conditions at Willard beach, with rights firing off the reef south of the beach and peeling right in front of the event site. Barrels and solid turn sections were on display all day and surfers annihilated the poor things, as displayed in the above clip.
No One's Safe on the Big QS Stage
With 10,000 points on the line, any one surfer in the field in Ballito is extremely motivated to make heats, these events make or break careers after all. You have to be 100% on your game and some of the world's best have learnt that the hard way today. Starting in the opening heat of Round 2, World No. 12 Seth Moniz had his Ballito run cut very short by local hero Beyrick De Vries and Round 1 form surfer Jordan Lawler.
"I'm happy to get the first heat at home out of the way," he said. "The 10,000 points on offer gets you amped, but also seeing familiar faces and hearing the crowds on the beach as you run down, it's always better when it's at home. This is the best forecast we've had in years, the sand is the best we've had in four, five years. The conditions, the banks, the people, everything is here!"
Australian wunderkid and current No. 5 on the QS, Jack Robinson had a similar fate in the following heat and once again a South African, namely Michael February, pulled the trigger. Mitch Crews, Patrick Gudauskas were another couple of early exiters and Ezekiel Lau squeaked through in second position in the last heat of the day.
Tune in from July 1-7, 2019 and check out all the photos, videos, LIVE webcast and updates right here on worldsurfleague.com!