DURBAN, South Africa — Crisp 2-to 3-foot waves drained across the New Pier sandbank yesterday in the Association of Surfing Professionals World Qualifying Series 6-Star Mr. Price Pro, offering male contestants unsullied left and righthand canvasses for some of the top scoring rides of the event so far.
Leading the charge of innovative performers was prolific Australian free surfer Yadin Nicol, a rookie on the ASP WQS, who outclassed his fellow seeded surfers on the Round of 144 stage. Nicol posted 9.33 and 9.00 rides (both out of 10.00) for his series of explosive snaps earning the highest heat total of the event so far, an 18.33 (out of a possible 20.00).
“It’s always good to get such big scores, but it’s luck though n whoever catches those waves is going to get a good score,” Nicol said. “I was just lucky to get two. Durban usually produces pretty good waves and it’s one of my favourite spots, I’d say.”
Following Nicol’s lead was ASP WQS No. 12 Pedro Henrique of Brazil, the former ASP World Junior Champion tantalizing spectators with a tailnkicking slide and completed superman maneuver, earning 9.17 and 8.60 scores as well a comfortable win and a place in the Round of 96.
“I’m happy because I got two lefts,” Henrique said. “I feel comfortable in these waves, they’re a lot like home and that’s why the Brazilians generally do well here. It is still very early in the contest and I just need to keep focussed and keep getting results.”
As the action intensified among top seeds and international standouts, the South African contingent held their ground on home soil.
Mr. Price Pro Junior champion and event wildcard Shaun Joubert (Mossel Bay) joined Monday’s standout Mitch Coleborn of Australia in causing one of day’s biggest upsets, the pair eliminating ASP WQS ratings leader Hizunome Bettero of Brazil to advance in first and second respectively.
“Getting a wildcard into the later rounds is huge for me and making another heat is also huge, so I’m all smiling all the way,” Joubert said. “This is my first ASP WQS ever so I’m happy! I know I’m going to have to surf out of my shoes to beat these guys, so I’m just going to try and go out there and surf as good as I can.”
ASP World No. 41 and event favorite Travis Logie survived a close shave in one of the trickier heats on the high tide.
Scrambling for two decent scoring waves in the dying minutes, Logie posted two fives to keep his Mr. Price Pro hopes alive, finishing second behind Australia’s Adam Melling whose definitive victory included excellent 7 and 8 point scores.
“There’s a lot of pressure — you wait for this contest all year and you’ve got to make it through that first one otherwise it’s a waste of time,” Logie said. “I actually haven’t surfed a ASP WQS in ages because I’ve just been concentrating on the ASP World Tour for the last three years. This is a huge event and it’s my dream to win here, but my whole outlook is just to have as much fun as possible before heading to Jeffrey’s Bay.”
A total of 12 South African surfers had advanced by mid-afternoon, four of which were heat winners.
Eighteen-year-old Shawn Dennis did well to win his Round of 144 heat, the New Pier local opting to sit wide of his older counterparts, sneaking onto the best set wave of the heat to defeat seasoned WQS campaigners Gony Zubizaretta and Gavin Roberts thanks to an impressive backhand attack.
“Those guys are so much older than me so I knew I had to surf my best,” Dennis said. “When that big one came through, all three of them were involved in a tussle on the other side and I managed to take that wave for myself. I didn’t do so well in the Pro Junior, and this is my local spot so it’s great to win out here.”
Klee Strachan, Shaun Payne and Jaco Kapp all won their respective Round of 192 heats yesterday advancing into the later of the Round of 144 heats which will resume today.
Also advancing out of the Round of 144 in first place were Izuki Tanaka of Japan and the Australian duo of Dion Atkinson and Rhys Bombaci.
Today sees the remaining 12 heats of the Men’s Round of 144 underway in the morning, followed by the Women’s Round of 24 and the first four heats of the Men’s Round of 96.
Mr. Price Pro
Durban, South Africa
Men’s Round of 192 (Heats 13 n 24)
Heat 13: Renato Galvao (BRA) 15.00 Adrian Rapp (REU) 12.17 Lyle Bottcher (ZAF) 10.00
Heat 14: Jaco Kapp (ZAF) 11.84 Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 11.60 Shaun Burrell (USA) 10.03 Dane Staples (ZAF) 6.77
Heat 15: Abdel El Harim (MAR) 13.10 Charlie Brown (BRA) 12.50 Manfred Adrio (ZAF) 11.06 Jonathan L’Enfle (MAR) 3.16
Heat 16: Shaun Payne (ZAF) 13.00 Jay Quinn (NZL) 8.06 Brad Ettinger (USA) 7.10 Noel Rahme (ZAF) 7.07
Heat 17: Sterling Spencer (USA) 13.34 Quintin Jones (ZAF) 10.56 Brandon Roberts (ZAF) 6.27
Heat 18: Hideyoshi Tanaka (JPN) 16.00 Jorge Spanner (BRA) 12.17 Zane Harrison (AUS) 11.47 Christoffer Frolich (ZAF) n/s
Heat 19: Travis Mellem (USA) 12.26 Joao Guedes (PRT) 11.16 Lungani Memani (ZAF) 6.13 Zaheer Bhayat (ZAF) 4.06
Heat 20: Jano Belo (ZAF) 11.83 Keegan Nel (ZAF) 6.34 Rory Beach (ZAF) 4.96
Heat 21: Jadson Andre (BRA) 17.17 Shane Thorne (ZAF) 11.50 Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 9.10 Blessing Ngcobo (ZAF) 2.17
Heat 22: Txaber Trojaola (ESP) 12.50 Milton Morbeck (BRA) 8.74 Dagan Gold (ZAF) 7.20 Jeremy Chan (MAR) 3.10
Heat 23: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 16.67 Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 14.24 Dale Staples (ZAF) 6.66 Jaco Steyn (ZAF) 5.43
Heat 24: Klee Strachan (ZAF) 8.27 Bernardo Lopes (BRA) 6.63 Hilton Lawrence (ZAF) 6.60
Round of 144
Heat 1: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 18.33 Clint Kimmins (AUS) 14.20 Austin Ware (USA) 11.77 Dane Gudauskas (USA) 5.50
Heat 2: Glenn Hall (AUS) David Richards (ZAF) Frankie Oberholzer (ZAF) Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 3: Shawn Dennis (ZAF) 13.00 Gony Zubizaretta (ESP) 9.66 Gavin Roberts (ZAF) 8.07 Llewellyn Whittaker (ZAF) 3.14
Heat 4: Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 13.50 Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 9.77 Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 9.17 Matthew Kruger (ZAF) 6.23
Heat 5: Pedro Henrique (BRA) 17.77 Mike Losness (USA) 10.67 Blake Wilson (AUS) 6.53 Gustavo Fernandes (BRA) 3.27
Heat 6: Izuki Tanaka (JPN) 13.66 Robson Santos (BRA) 10.30 Kyle Lane (ZAF) 9.60 Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 7.83
Heat 7: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 14.38 Hank Gaskell (HAW) 8.33 Oli Adams (GBR) 5.23 Casey Grant (ZAF) 4.54
Heat 8: Adam Melling (AUS) 15.83 Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.70 Gavin Gilette (HAW) 9.13 Wesley de Souza (USA) 7.03
Heat 9: Rhys Bombaci (AUS) 12.50 Ryan Payne (ZAF) 9.47 Ola Eleogram (HAW) 8.23 Michael February (ZAF) 6.30
Heat 10: Odirlei Coutinho (BRA) 12.06 Clinton Gravett (ZAF) 8.00 Jose Maria Cabrera (CNY) 5.17
Heat 11: Devynn Mattheys (ZAF) 11.17 Antonio Bortoletto (ZAF) 11.17 Brain Toth (PRI) 9.04 Che Stang (USA) 7.26