BALLITO, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa (Wednesday, July 6, 2011) – Waves in excess of three-meters poured through the Surfers Beach lineup, sending surfers scrambling for their big wave boards on day three of the ASP PRIME Mr Price Pro Ballito.
As mountains of water exploded along the shallow sand bank it was the Brasilian contingent that shone the brightest, with eight out of the ten competing advancing through the round of 48 today.
Multiple ASP World Junior Champion Pablo Paulino (BRA) lead the South American charge posting the day’s highest heat score of 16.86 (out of 20.00), to advance in first place ahead of Nic Muscroft (AUS).
“The waves were really heavy out there today,” Paulino said. “I tried to stay in tune with what conditions were doing and I was lucky to find that barrel.”
Surfing off a low centre of gravity, driving plenty of power through his legs, Paulino combined flashy fins-free turns with a clean barrel ride to post the highest wave score of the day, an 8.93 (out of 10.00).
Aerial maestro and World Ranked No. 17 Gabriel Medina (BRA) earned his second convincing heat win of the event, his impressive top-to-bottom attack notching a massive 16.00 heat total that left his opponents in a combinational situation (needing two scores to beat him).
“There were no air sections out there today so I just tried to find the best waves and pack some power into my turns,” Medina said. “I think the judges were looking for commitment out there so I tried to show them that today.”
Picking off two of the biggest set waves, Medina’s risky free-surf approach was well received by both the judges and the crowd.
Junior Faria (BRA) took the third of the day’s victories for Brasil, riding just three waves to advance off a pair of six-point rides. Brandon Jackson (ZAF) finished in second place, the pair eliminating early event standout Kolohe Andino (USA) and Hodei Collazo (EUK) from the event.
Wiggolly Dantas, Jesse Mendes, Jano Belo and Messias Felix joined their fellow countrymen in the next round by advancing in second places respectively.
Tour veteran and proven big-wave surfer Kieren Perrow (AUS) opened his account with a stand-up barrel ride, lightning-snap and closeout re-entry to post an excellent 8.38 for a first place finish over Jesse Mendes (BRA), Granger Larsen (HAW) and Royden Bryson (ZAF).
“There were some really good waves out there and if you got a good one you had to make the most of it,” Perrow said. “It’s fun when it’s like this! It’s really powerful, very good for turns and there’s the odd tube ride so you really can’t ask for much more.”
ASP World No. 30 Julian Wilson (AUS) took a strategic approach to his round of 48 heat putting scores on the scoreboard early. Committing to every last maneuver, Wilson advanced in first ahead of Blake Thornton (AUS), the pair-eliminating trialist Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) from the event.
“Right before my heat I saw some waves peeling a little deeper so I went out early to make sure I could paddle all the way down to the inside and it worked out,” Wilson said. “It’s so fun having a lot of swell, there’s no hassling and its kind of victory at sea out there.”
Defending Champion Jordy Smith (Durban) dominated his round of 48 heat with just two rides. Posting a 6.17 and a 5.67 (out of ten) Smith defeated Kiron Jabour (HAW), Austin Ware (USA) and Corey Lopez (USA).
“I was looking to get a quick start and I just wanted to wait for those really good ones,” Smith said. “It’s a gamble but there are some great rides when you get them and it’s a lot of fun.”
Fellow South African Shaun Joubert (Mossel Bay) revealed his affinity for large surf linking together beautiful open faced carves to seal victory over second place and fellow advancing South African Sean Holmes (CT).
“We go around the world surfing one foot waves so it’s good to surf a bit of juice,” Joubert said. “I am a bit more comfortable when it’s bigger, all our waves in South Africa have some power so it’s definitely what I prefer.”
American Patrick Gudauskas rode one of the best barrels of the morning, dropping straight into a gaping tube to snatch the lead with a 7.50 and following up with a 6.33, to take the win over Wiggolly Dantas (BRA).
John John Florence (HAW) and Kai Otton (AUS) put on a show towards the end of the day exchanging great rides with Florence topping Otton 15.40 to 14.86.
The action looks set to continue tomorrow with more large surf on the way. For more information log on to www.mrpricepro.com. The next call is 07h00 tomorrow morning.