BALLITO, KwaDukuza/South Africa (Thursday, January 27, 2011) – South African surfing has received a massive boost with the announcement that the Mr Price Pro Ballito will be a Prime rated event on the 2011 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour.
The 12th edition of the event, which has continued the proud tradition of the long running Gunston 500, will be staged at the premium surf breaks in Ballito on the KwaDukuza coastline North of Durban from 4 to 10 July.
Offering a huge prize-purse of US $250 000 (approx. R1.7 million), with $40 000 and an invaluable 6 500 points on the ASP World Tour Rankings going to the winner, the elite 96-man field for the Mr Price Pro Ballito is guaranteed to include the majority of the world's best competitive surfers.
“Our commitment to surfing in South Africa has grown continually since the inaugural Mr Price Pro in 2000 and so too have our relationships with the Association of Surfing Professionals and our event partner, the KwaDukuza Municipality,” said Mr Price Group CEO, Stuart Bird.
“Upgrading the Mr Price Pro Ballito to a PRIME ASP World Tour event will attract the top 96 surfers in the world to the event and we will once again have the privilege of watching the world’s best competing against our top South African talent.”
ASP International is equally excited with the upgrade of the Mr Price Pro Ballito and the boost it will provide to the South African surfing community.
"ASP has enjoyed an excellent relationship with Mr Price over the past decade and we're thrilled with the event's upgrade to an ASP Prime event," Brodie Carr, ASP International CEO, said. "South Africa has long been a major player in the world surfing community and the Mr Price Pro will continue to be a major stepping stone in the development of young surfers onto the world stage."
Current ASP World No. 2 and Durban local Jordy Smith, who last year became only the third South African to win the country's longest running professional surfing, will be back to defend his title.
"Winning a world title will always remain my main focus on the ASP World Tour, however, one always wants to revert back to their roots and that's why the Mr Price Pro Ballito is so special to me. The Mr Price Pro was my first ever WQS event, at the age of 12, and my mom even has a pic of me standing proudly next to the pier with my contest vest on," Smith explained.
"Over the years I came close to winning the title and then last year I managed to win. It was such a brilliant feeling with the home crowd and my family there to cheer me on. I'm hoping to be back on the podium again this year but it’s going to be much harder now that the event has been granted PRIME status."
The importance of the Mr Price Pro Ballito is enhanced by the fact that it will be the seventh of just 12 Prime rated events on the 2011 ASP World Tour. The points earned in Ballito count towards the mid-season rotation when the top 34 surfers on the ASP World Tour Rankings become the field for the remaining five ASP Dream Tour events of the year.
All the action will be webcast LIVE at www.mrpricepro.com.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
ASSOCIATION OF SURFING PROFESSIONALS (ASP) MEDIA
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Life’s a Beach Communications
About ASP: The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the recognized world governing body of professional surfing and has been crowning surfing's undisputed World Champions since 1976. The ASP sanctions and crowns World Champions for the following tours: the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women's World Tour, ASP World Junior Tour, ASP World Longboard and Masters Championships. The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts and other media platforms. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Japan, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.