The Ballito Pro pres. by O'Neill resumed on Day 5 in pumping surf. A lot is on the line for all 24 surfers still in the draw at this point, but one man may be feeling that little extra pressure / motivation to start his day right.
The highest-ranked South African surfer on the Qualifying Series post Ballito gets a wildcard into the upcoming Corona Open J-Bay, a HUGE opportunity for regional surfers to get a piece of the action down the coast with the world's best.
As Heat 2 paddles out, Adin Masencamp currently leads that race with 5,445 points courtesy of an excellent 5th in Brazil earlier this year and a win at the VW SA Open of Surfing. And yes, Adin has got to be watching the event somewhere, whether at the beach in Ballito or online. Because Beyrick De Vries who hasn't had the best of starts in 2019 so far, is turning things around in Ballito. One more heat is all he needs to overtake Adin in the rankings and secure that golden ticket.
"Al Hunt came to me yesterday and told me - just letting you know, one more heat and you're in J-Bay - so it definitely added a little pressure," he said. "But I've been doing this for a while now so I'm used to surfing under pressure. And I think being at home helps so much, you can feel the energy and it almost felt like it was going to happen before it did."
Waves are pumping, Beyrick's been feeling the love from the large crowds in Ballito and he goes out not to score two turns to the beach, instead he puts on a show, landing a big forehand rotation for a 7.17 and a strong hold on the lead. Jack Freestone and Jordan Lawler paddle for a wave midway through the heat and both surfers stand up going right. One of them is going to get an interference and this pretty much kills any suspense left, Beyrick has made that heat!
"Honestly I just thought Thank you God," he continued. "I just got a score, paddle back out and get priority over two guys who had an interference, nothing better can happen in a heat. With that said, it's very unfortunate, Jordy has been surfing so well and I'm sure he was on his way to a big result here. We've all had these interferences and I'm sure he'll learn from it."
In nine years on the QS, Beyrick has had some success, wins and podium finishes, and has been a consistent threat in the bigger events. But for the first time he'll surf against the World's Best, on their stage of the Championship Tour.
"I think it makes a huge difference but between now and then I'll try to find power in that," he added. "I've got nothing to lose, I'm going to be surfing against (Gabriel) Medina or Kolohe (Andino) and there's no holding back. I'm not going to surf for a 12.00 total, I'll need 18 points to beat those guys and that can be liberating."
J-Bay being arguably the best wave in South Africa, De Vries like all SA surfers must have acquired a lot of experience in the lineup there and will be a tough draw for any surfer when the Corona J-Bay Open launches next week.
"We've been going there since we're kids," he said. "I've never had a good result there but I do love the wave and I've got CI surfboards that I never had growing up and I do feel like these boards can make a difference there. I'm just so excited and I can't wait to be there!"
Follow Beyrick's final few heats in Ballito from July 1-7, 2019 and check out all the photos, videos, LIVE webcast and updates right here on worldsurfleague.com!