- WSL / Pierre Tostee
Highlights: Action-packed Day 1 at Ballito Pro presented by O'Neill
3:09
Massive surf for the start of the Men's QS 5,000 competition.

December in Ballito is typically a hot and humid situation with summer-slop-surf conditions.

It's not a time that's known for gusty winds, non-stop rain and big, pulsing groundswells.

As bizarre as this might sound, no one was complaining and the Ballito Pro presented by O'Neill QS 5,000 kicked off with guys frothing to hit the 4-5 foot surf that was only improving.

It looked like the more traditional Ballito line-up, with the right-hand point break coming to life and waves running all along the beach.

BALLITO, KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 17: Dale Staples of South Africa surfing in Heat 7 of the Round of 32 at the Ballito Pro Presented by O'Neill on December 17, 2021 in Ballito, South Africa. (Photo by Pierre Tostee/World Surf League). Dale Staples - WSL / Pierre Tostee

It's the best surf the event has seen so far this week. Squalls of rain affected visibility for surfers and judges alike. Some competitors even opted to exit the water and run around instead of facing the exhausting paddle back out.

BALLITO, KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 17: Ntokozo Maphumulo of South Africa surfing in Heat 1 of the Round of 48 at the Ballito Pro Presented by O'Neill on December 17, 2021 in Ballito, South Africa. (Photo by Pierre Tostee/World Surf League). Ntokozo Maphumulo - WSL / Pierre Tostee

These type of conditions have a way to separate the boys from the men. Rising stars like Daniel Emslie, Ntokozo Maphumulo, Joshe Faulkner and brothers Jake Elkington and Max Elkington weren't afraid to commit to some scary sections.

BALLITO, KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 17: Adin Masencamp of South Africa surfing in Heat 8 of the Round of 32 at the Ballito Pro Presented by O'Neill on December 17, 2021 in Ballito, South Africa. (Photo by Pierre Tostee/World Surf League). Adin Masencamp - WSL / Pierre Tostee

When you need to step up in situations like this, competitive experience is priceless. The maturity from South Africa's top surfers like Adin Masencamp, Slade Prestwich, Shane Sykes and Dale Staples was unmistakable. These guys know how to preserve their energy, stay patient and get the job done.

BALLITO, KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 17: Shane Sykes of South Africa after surfing in Heat 5 of the Round of 32 at the Ballito Pro Presented by O'Neill on December 17, 2021 in Ballito, South Africa. (Photo by Pierre Tostee/World Surf League). Shane Sykes - WSL / Pierre Tostee

Now we head into the business side of the draw and every guy is a worthy competitor, but it's all about who wants the crucial 5000 points the most.

Watch all the action LIVE right here on WorldSurfLeague.com or the WSL App.

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