19 February 2013
The Mr Price Pro Ballito is set to heat up the South African winter when it takes place for a fifth season on the wave-rich KwaDukuza coast in KwaZulu-Natal. A host of the world’s finest surfers will do battle for the title from 1 to 7 July.
The powerful, barreling surf at Willard’s Beach has become a favourite stop for touring professionals, who make their annual pilgrimage from as far afield as the USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan and Tahiti to test their skills in its spitting tubes and punchy beach-break ramps.
Entries have already begun to stream in with world number 26, Yadin Nicol of Australia, being the first man to get his in. A standout in the large, hollow waves of Hawaii’s notorious North Shore this past season (December 2012), Nicol is well suited to the challenging waves of Ballito. He represents the calibre of surfer anticipated for this year’s event.
South Africa’s foremost campaigner on the elite Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Championship Tour, Jordy Smith, has confirmed he will once again compete in the prestigious event. The Mr Price Pro Ballito Champion in 2010, Smith will be looking to win the title again in an event that is close to his heart.
“Ballito is an incredible wave in the wintertime,” Smith said. “It is a special event for me because it’s at home and it means I get to compete in front of my friends and family. I’ve won it before, so I am looking forward to going back to see if I can take it out once again.”
As one of just eight Prime events on the ASP World Qualifying Series, and the only internationally rated professional event on the African continent, the Mr Price Pro Ballito offers surfers valuable ASP ratings points, not to mention a substantial R 2.2-million (US$250 000) in prize purse. It is also critical for surfers hoping to qualify for the elite ASP World Championship Tour in 2014.
Featuring an elite 96-man field, only the highest rated surfers on the ASP One World Rankings qualify for the event, with just a few spots open to local wildcards.
The Mr Price Pro Ballito Beach Festival will once again run in conjunction with the surfing from 1 to 7 July. It is reputed to be the biggest beach festival on the African continent and in excess of 70 000 people flooded the gates over the seven days in 2012. This year’s Festival is expected to see record numbers once again, with more exciting cultural, retail, lifestyle and sports entertainment in store.
“It is my great pleasure to welcome some of the world’s top 96 surfers to our sunny shores. KwaDukuza has been home to the Mr Price Pro Ballito for the past five years and we look forward to sharing with both our international and domestic visitors our position as a world class surfing and holiday destination,” said KwaDukuza Mayor Ricardo Mthembu.
While the surfers ride the ocean waves by day, spectators will be rocked by sound waves at night as Mr Price once again presents the Free Music Concerts at Salt Rock on 4, 5 and 6 July.
For the first time, from 2 to 4 July, the Mr Price Pro Ballito will incorporate a Food and Wine festival, bringing mouth-watering flavours to the beach and adding a new and exciting dynamic to this year’s festival.
The RedCap Foundation has been selected as the event’s Social Investment Programme. It will benefit from this year’s festival, with a number of fun activities aimed at impacting the lives of children in need.
“We are encouraged and excited that the parties involved in the Mr Price Pro have chosen the RedCap Foundation to benefit from the event in various ways,” Smangele Mbeje of the Red Cap Foundation said.
“Opportunities like this enable the foundation to impact the lives of children from our programmes in a different and special way. Their participation in fun activities at the Pro means a lot to them and gives them exposure to international events and opportunities they would never have dreamt of.”
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