7 July 2008
Australian surfer Chris Davidson extinguished South Africa’s hopes of a second-ever South African winner of the Mr Price Pro by defeating local star Travis Logie in the final in front of a patriotic crowd at Durban’s New Pier on Sunday.
Competing in crumbling half-a-metre onshore surf -arguably more suited to the Australian’s natural-footed stance (left-foot-forward) – Davidson’s powerful front-side surfing saw him out-position his local rival to win the heat with a 16.10 heat total to Logie’s 12.90.
The victory also lifted the Aussie to seventh on the ASP World Qualifying Series ratings.
“I’m stoked I made the final and beat the local boy,” Davidson said afterwards.
“It was tough for Travis surfing little right-handers on his backside (right-foot-forward stance), so it definitely favoured me. I’ve got tens here in the past, but I was the underdog out there today, so it felt good to come home with the win.”
A former competitor on the prestigious ASP World Tour, Davidson drew first blood, opening with a respectable 6.67 ride, which he followed up with a near-perfect 9.43 to put his South African rival under heavy pressure.
At the five-minute mark, so confident of his win was Davidson that he began surfing with his board upside down and exited the water with three minutes still remaining on the clock.
A bit of fun
“That was just a bit of fun and no disrespect to Travis,” Davidson said. “He’s an incredible competitor, but I knew I had the heat won.”
The Australian took home R105 000 (US$15 000), as well as 2 500 ratings points towards the 2009 qualification for the ASP World Tour.
Despite finishing as the highest placed South African in the event, Logie was visibly disappointed that first place had eluded him for the second time in his career; he had previously reached the final in 2000.
“I’ve always wanted to win this event because I grew up surfing here and I live five minutes up the road,” Logie said. “The final was very tough and Chris definitely got the two best waves. I just couldn’t get the right ones today.”
Defeated fellow South Africans
One of just three South African surfers to advance into the final day of competition today, Logie disposed of fellow countryman Greg Emslie in the round of 16 before dismissing another local, world number-19 Jordy Smith, in the quarterfinals. He then disposed of the USA’s Patrick Gudauskas in the semifinals to take home R52 000 (US$ 7 400) in winnings.
“I was stoked with second; it’s better than third and I will be back again next year, though, trying to win it,” Logie said.
While the runner-up finish will have no impact on Logie’s ASP World Tour ratings points, Greg Emslie’s ninth-place finish saw him jump to number-19 on the WQS ratings while David Weare, who was eliminated on Saturday with an equal-25th, climbed to an impressive number two on the ASP World Tour ratings.
Joy for Gudauskas
Finishing equal third at the Mr Price Pro were Patrick Gudauskas (USA) and 2003 Mr Price Pro champion Neco Padaratz, who were defeated by Logie and Davidson respectively.
Gudauskas’ result saw him jump back into the lead on the ASP WQS ratings ahead of Weare, while the ratings’ leader coming into the event, Hizunome Bettero of Brazil dropped down to third.
“I’ve never done well in Durban, so to get a third today is a great result for me,” Gudauskas said. “I’m really excited to be back at number one. It’s a very long season, so I just want to continue bettering my results.”
Jordy Smith and Josh Kerr did not go home empty-handed, with both pocketing R5 000 in the Glodina Expression Session – Smith for his incredible air reverse, while Kerr wowed the crowds with his air 360.
On Saturday, Brazil’s Silvana Lima, the former ASP world number three, won the five-star-rated Women’s WQS Mr Price Pro by defeating 2006 European Junior Champion Pauline Ado of France in the final. Her victory was the second by a Brazilian in the event.
Posting the only perfect ten-point rides seen in either the men’s or women’s events, Lima advanced into the finals where she proved unstoppable against the 17-year-old school girl.
Her win came by 17.83 points to Ado’s 13.10 and earned Lima R28 000. In addition, she jumped from 50th to 20th on the ASP World Qualifying Series ratings.
‘Really feeling good’
“I’m really, really feeling good,” Lima said in broken English. “Thanks to God, thanks to my friends, thanks to everybody from Brazil, and everyone from here. I feel awesome!”
One of the most radical female surfers on tour, Lima wowed Durban beach-goers with her explosive surfing style, defeating WQS number one Sally Fitzgibbons in the quarterfinals and WQS number seven Bruna Schmitz in the semifinals.
Lima went on to seal her 2008 Mr Price Pro victory off a pair of near-perfect scores – a 9.33 and 8.50 – in the final.
“I think that Brazilians do so well here because the waves are very similar to what we have at home,” Lima said. “The waves are really good here in Durban and I love competing at this event.”
She won the five-star WQS in Brazil prior to competing in Durban, but Lima said before the Mr Price Pro it would be one of her last WQS events this year as she turns her focus to top-tier competition on the ASP Women’s World Tour.
Ado’s runner-up result came on only her second WQS competition ever and was worth R14 000, as well as a jump to 42nd on the on the WQS ratings.
“I’m so happy I made the final,” Ado said. “When I came here I wasn’t expecting such a good result. I just wanted to get some experience so that I can try to qualify on the WQS next year.”
Ado defeated European junior champion Lee Ann Curren in the semifinals and South African Roseanne Hodge in the quarterfinals.
“The final was amazing. I knew it would be tough to beat Silvana, who was just amazing; she was just ripping the whole event,” Ado said.
Two South Africans made the quarterfinals – Rosy Hodge and Heather Clark – where they were beaten by Schmitz and Ado respectively.
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