The first QS 10,000 of the year, the Ballito Pro was another cracker, this time featuring two Championship Tour (CT) surfers in the final - Silva and Jack Freestone. Freestone was itching to go one better than his runner-up result in 2018, but Silva and Mother Nature found a connection in the 35 minute final that couldn't be broken.
Silva started big, unleashing three backhand turns for an 8.33. The goofy-footer backed it up for a 4.67 and put Freestone under pressure. Freestone found two small rides, but Silva picked up a beautiful set wave and destroyed it for a 9.3. The Australian was left at the back in a combination situation, requiring 17.63 and he never found a wave with any worthy scoring potential.
"This is the best thing in my life right now, I'm so happy I got two good waves in that heat because Jack (Freestone) surfs so well, so I just thank God for giving me those two waves!" said Silva. "The waves are good, even though the wind is strong, I got that one big wave for two manoeuvres, so I was stoked."
Freestone looked incredibly comfortable on the last day of competition, but he had to settle for a runner-up finish, again.
"Yes, of course I wanted to win it, but I'm so stoked to be in the final again, back to back years," said Freestone. "It just gives me something to work for next year. In that final I felt so confident, it's just the waves that got incredibly hard so I can't wait to carry this momentum feeling of God into J-Bay."
A steady and calm approach from Jack Freestone saw him up front and controlling the first Semifinal against Jorgann Couzinet. The Australian put down big hits on his waves, while Couzinet made a few mistakes, falling on his rides. Couzinet left it right to end to bank some scores, but it was a little too late.
Deivid Silva dominated his Semifinal clash against Wade Carmichael with excellent wave choices. The goofy-footer looked lethal on his backhand, smashing the chunky walls for a total of 11.60 to move into the Final, and Carmichael will have to settle for another 3rd place finish in Ballito. Although Couzinet did not make the final, he was awarded a wildcard in the Corona Open J-Bay as the highest placed surfer on the QS rankings.
"At the end of the heat I thought I got the score, but I'm so stoked to get into J-Bay. It's the dream, I'll have a good sleep tonight!" said Couzinet. "I came here thinking of making quarters, so semifinal is amazing, it's a big dream to surf J-Bay, I feel like I'm going to cry!"
Check out the Movers & Shakers: QS Update Post-Ballito, who is off to a good start and who still has some work left to do.