19 June 2014
Surfing superstar Jordy Smith is set to return to home waters in the South African leg of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour, starting with the Mr Price Pro Ballito on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, which runs from 30 June to 6 July.
Taking place at the crucial half-way mark on both the ASP Qualifying Series and ASP World Tour, the event will see the world’s best surfers flocking to South Africa for the back-to-back ASP Prime-rated Mr Price Pro Ballito and J-Bay Open, which is back as a stop on the elite ASP World Tour, and runs from 10 to 21 July.
Top results at home
One of the most dominant athletes on home soil over the past five years, Smith thrives on performing in front of a home crowd. His results include clinching victory at the Mr Price Pro Ballito in 2010 followed by a runner-up finish in 2013. He also claimed back-to-back victories in J-Bay (Jeffreys Bay in the Western Cape) in 2010 and 2011.
“There is always something special about competing at home,” Smith said in a statement in Tahiti this week. “It’s mainly being familiar with the waves and having the support of family and friends.”
A standout performer in the variable conditions that the Mr Price Pro can dish up, Smith is looking forward to the challenges Ballito will produce up this year.
‘A world-class wave’
“When it’s on, it’s a world-class wave. You can get ‘backdoor-like’ barrels, then as it drops it becomes really high performance, especially with the wind blowing into the rights,” he said
Having earned a total of nine heat wins on the World Tour so far this season, Smith, currently ranked eleventh in the world, has produced mixed results and is looking to the Mr Price Pro Ballito as preparation for the J-Bay Open.
‘A great opportunity’
“I find surfing Primes a great opportunity to fine tune my surfing, especially in the lead up to a World Tour Event,” he explained. “It’s sometimes easier to stay focused when you surf every day. Too many lay days in a row can be the biggest distraction.”
With a second place finish to Julian Wilson in one of the most exciting finals in Mr Price Pro history in 2013, the competitive beast in Smith will settle for nothing less than going one better in 2014.
‘I want to win three in a row!’
“I’m really looking forward to trying to bring the trophy back to South Africa,” Smith said. “I love nothing more than winning in front of the home crowd and winning in Ballito would be the ultimate preparation for J-Bay. I want to win three in a row!”
Renowned as one of the biggest beach festivals on the African continent, the Mr Price Pro Ballito is expecting approximately 100 000 fans to soak up the non-stop entertainment over the seven days.
The festival will include free music concerts at Salt Rock on 3 and 4 July, while a Food and Wine Festival takes place on 1 and 2 July.
Corporate social investment
The RedCap Foundation has been selected as the event’s Corporate Social Investment program. Active in the region since 2010, the Foundation’s health and education programmes impact low-income communities in KwaDukuza.