DURBAN, South Africa (Thursday, 5 July, 2007)
Durban's prodigal surfing son Jordy Smith (Umbilo), suffered a shock elimination from the 6-Star ASP World Qualifying Series Mr Price Pro this morning, when he was defeated in his first heat during the Men's Round of 96.
Currently leading the WQS ratings, Smith found himself at the disposal of a becalmed ocean, caused by the high tide, which simply failed to deliver for the expectant ASP World Junior Champion.
While Russel Winter (UK) and ASP Africa wildcard Gavin Roberts (Scottburgh) snagged the few decent waves that pulsed between the piers to advance in 1st and 2nd respectively, Smith was left scratching for leftovers, taking his worst result of the year so far, an equal 73rd placing.
"It was a tough one for Jordy, but being so inconsistent it really was just about getting the right waves, and he couldn't find them. On the whole it was a very low scoring heat, but that's just the way it goes sometimes. I'm stoked to make it through because I'm coming back from a knee injury. I think that's all behind me and I'm feeling 100% for the rest of the year," Russel said.
With four of the seven Saffas' competing eliminated from the event, it was World No. 9 Travis Logie (Durban) who lifted the spirits of the South African supporters. Winning the final heat of the Round of 96, Logie advanced ahead of Aritz Aranburu (Spain), Shaun Ward (USA) and wildcard entrant Clinton Gravett (East London).
As conditions worsened due to the arrival of a stiff north easterly wind, the diminutive New Pier local unleashed his devastating backhand attack, scoring an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10.00), followed by a 6.50 for a combined heat total of 14.50 (out of a possible 20.00)
"The conditions are really bad out there with this onshore; it's making it very difficult. It's been a tough contest for the South Africans this year so obviously I'm stoked to make it through, and hopefully I can go on to a good result. I've been really consistent on the Foster's ASP World Tour this year, so thing's are going great," Logie said.
Former ASP World Tour campaigner Kirk Flintoff (Aus) was in a league of his own, defeating 2005 World Junior Champion Pablo Paulino (BRA), 2006 World Junior Champion Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) and South African Damien Fahrenfort (Durban). Posting a series of fast, vertical off the tops, back to back re-entries and a controlled floater; Flintoff earned an outstanding 9.33 to match Alain Riou's (Tahiti) highest individual wave score of the event so far.
WQS No. 22 Michel Bourez (Tahiti) emerged as another of the day's standouts, working his powerful frame across the New Pier bowl to score a near perfect 9.17, for a series of lightening snaps and a radical floater. With a 7.83 back up ride, Bourez earned the highest combined heat total of the day, a 17.00 (out of a possible 20.00).
WQS No. 2 Tiago Pires (from Portugal) laid claim to the WQS No. 1 spot, taking a definitive victory over World No. 12 Jeremy Flores (FRA), South African professional coach Quintin Jones (Cape Town) and World No. 8 Kai Otton (AUS).
The Men's Round of 48 kicks off at 08h50 tomorrow and will see all 12 heats completed.
The Men's final takes place at approximately 14h15 on Sunday 8 July 2007.
The Mr Price Pro forms part of the Durban Beach Festival and is being broadcast live on the webcast at www.mrpricepro.com.