8 July 2013
Australian Julian Wilson defeated South African surfing star Jordy Smith in a memorable, high-scoring final to capture the Mr Price Pro Ballito on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast on Saturday.
Stop number three of eight on the ASP Prime Series culminated with the most anticipated match-up of this year’s competition, with event standouts, Smith and Wilson, living up to expectations with inspired performances in front of a capacity crowd.
“I’m really happy to get the win,” Wilson said of his 18.93 to 16.70 victory over Smith. “It’s my third time in Durban and I’ve gotten a good result each time.
‘A great place’
“I really enjoy spending time here. It’s a great place, with friendly people, where I feel warm and comfortable. It definitely helps with my results.”
While Smith assumed an early lead to put Wilson in a combination situation (needing a combination of two scores) with his 7.67 and 8.83 (out of ten) scores, it was Wilson’s high-risk approach that was rewarded.
Knowing he needed something extraordinary to take the win, Wilson put everything on the line, completing an extremely critical Alley Oop aerial manoeuvre to score the first perfect 10 of this year’s competition. Following up with an 8.93 slob grab reverse aerial, Wilson cemented his win over the local favourite.
“Jordy put the pressure on me at the start, but there were plenty of opportunities and I just had to flip the heat and put some scores on the board,” Wilson said.
“That was the first time I’ve landed that air in a contest and I had to do something because I had my back against the wall. I’m stoked I could pull it off and come away with the win.”
Wilson is the second Australian to win the event since Chris Davidson in 2008. He pocketed R407 500 (US$40 000) for the win and also rocketed to world number in the ASP World Rankings.
Smith had a dream run through to the final with a string of quality performances and high scores as he defeated Aritz Aranburu in the quarterfinals and Stu Kennedy in the semi-finals.
Unfortunately for the South African, it was not the dream finish he’d hoped for. He nonetheless took home R207 500 (US$20 000) and the number two position in the world rankings.
“It was an honour to surf in the final against Julian, I’m just sorry I didn’t win it,” said Smith, the winner of the event in 2010. “Julian stuck that air and it was amazing. I went on a trip to Reunion with him and he tried it a million times and didn’t make it and then he goes into the final and sticks it first time!”
The Australian contingent proved dominant on the final day of competition, with Stu Kennedy and Mitch Crews reaching the semi-finals and placing equal third.
Crews showed plenty of big match temperament in his semi-final clash with Wilson. Yet despite producing a full repertoire of manoeuvres, Crews was unable to find the near perfect score he needed to beat the polished and more experienced Wilson.
“I’m really happy to get all the way to the semis and to surf against Julian,” said Crews, who climbed from 39th to 27th in the world rankings with the win.
‘A big result for me’
“Jordy and Julian have been standouts all event and there’s not much you can do when they’ve got you. This is a big result for me and I hope to continue my run and get a bunch more results to make the tour next year.”
Kennedy suffered a case of nerves against Smith in their semi-final match up. Feeling the pressure against the local favourite, Kennedy went for big turns, but was uncharacteristically not able to stick them.
Nonetheless, he rocketed from world number 53 to 31 and will be looking to climb the ladder in the hope of qualifying for the World Championship Tour in 2014.