26 June 2014
Local Umhlanga surfer Beyrick De Vries is counting the days until some 84 international surfers arrive to compete at one of his local breaks in the Association of Surfing Professionals’ (ASP) Mr Price Pro Ballito from 30 June to 6 July.
It will be a dream come true for De Vries, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of elite ASP World Tour athletes and fellow Durban surfers Jordy Smith and Travis Logie.
“It is such a blessing for the South African surfers to have an event like the Mr Price Pro Ballito in our country,” De Vries said. “The event offers double the prize money and ratings points of other star-rated Qualifying Series stops, so it’s a real foot in the door for those of us wanting to make it on the international stage.”
Rated 28th on the ASP Qualification Series (QS) rankings, De Vries has climbed almost 100 places up the ratings ladder since this time last year, making him a firm favourite to not only bring the trophy back to South Africa, but also to gain further ground towards qualifying for the 2015 ASP World Tour.
“The Mr Price Pro is really important for me to further my rankings,” he said. “Last year I reached the Round of 16 here and after a disappointing result in Mexico this week (De Vries was eliminated in round two), I will be looking to make up some lost ground at this event.”
Competing in the familiar waves of Ballito, just 20 minutes away from his home, is an advantage that few surfers are afforded, so it is one De Vries wants to make the most of while he has the chance.
Competing at home
“I can’t even explain how much of an impact competing at home has on your surfing. It’s the opportunity to compete without the stress of travel, jet lag or finding the right nutrition and all the other factors you have worry about when you are overseas.
“I surf the way I am feeling and, at the end of the day, it all comes down to confidence. That’s how my surfing comes out. I perform my best when the stress is off.”
De Vries said he was proud to call the KwaDukuza region home and enjoyed giving his fellow international rivals a warm African welcome.
‘They love Ballito’
“It is epic to have the world’s best surfers in Ballito because I know how fun home is, how good the waves are and how rich the culture is. They love Ballito, and it’s great to have one of their favourite destinations be the one you call home.”
A fierce competitor with no shortage of variety and flair in his repertoire, De Vries says working with his new shaper, Elton Fursman of Hurricane Surfboards, has given him a fresh approach and was the move he hoped would take his surfing to the next level.
“It’s really important for me to work closely with my shaper. When my previous shaper Clayton moved to Australia at the start of the year, I started working with Elton. Hurricane are 100 percent behind me achieving my dream of qualifying for the World Championship Tour.”
A top-three finish at the Mr Price Pro Ballito could make all the difference in De Vries’ campaign, which means he will have his sights set on the podium from the moment he hits the water in round one on Monday.
“I will not rest until I win the Mr Price Pro Ballito. This is the event I have my heart set on,” he said.