BALLITO, KwaDukuza/South Africa (Thursday, July 5, 2012) - The ocean delivered for the ASP Prime Mr Price Pro Ballito as tapering one- metre walls were met with stellar performances from many of the world's best surfers on day four of the competition.
ASP World Junior Champion Caio Ibelli (BRA) put an exclamation mark on the day's action, unleashing the highest individual wave score of a 9.17 (out of a possible 10.00) for a single, powerful under the lip reverse maneuver, during the Round of 96.
"I've practiced this maneuver a lot in the hope of completing it in a heat," Ibelli said. "This is one of the best waves I've surfed in competition, all the guys were going crazy out there so I knew it was going to take something impressive to come away with the win."
In arguably one of the most exciting heats of the day, Ibelli's performance topped a string of jaw-dropping rides from Sebastian Zietz (HAW), whose huge hands-free aerial and Gabe Kling's (USA) series of powerful in the pocket turns, saw the Brazilian capture the win with the day's highest heat total of 17.17 (out of 20.00).
World-renowned free-surfer Dion Atkinson (AUS) came out guns blazing with a pair of excellent 8-point rides to advance in first place along with Nat Young (USA).
"It was a good heat, there were plenty of waves and Nat and I were lucky enough to start off really strong," Atkinson said. "I knew all the guys could get the scores required so I tried to build my momentum and luckily I got a couple in the first ten minutes that proved the difference and I got through."
The South African contingent enjoyed an impressive showing Travis Logie (Durban), Beyrick De Vries (Umhlanga) and Jordy Smith (Durban) winning their Round of 48 heats while Greg Emslie (East London) advanced in second place during the Round of 96.
Logie sunk his teeth into the four man battle, the tenacious competitor outshining Brazilian's Thomas Hermes and Wiggolly Dantas with his relaxed but tactical surfing that saw him advance with a pair of 7.33 and 7.83 rides.
"It was pretty similar to my first heat where I didn't catch a wave until halfway and I had to come from way behind," Logie said. "There was some serious hassling going on out the back there but luckily the ocean provided and I got a good one and then another good one and got through so I am stoked."
Local surfer and event wildcard Beyrick De Vries (Umhlanga) launched himself into the round of 24, his aerial antics rewarded when he defeated ASP World No. 15 Tiago Pires (POR), the pair eliminating Masatoshi Ohno (JPN) and Stu Kennedy (AUS) from the event.
"I've never made it past the Round of 48 in a Prime," said a glowing De Vries after his heat. "I promised myself that if I got into this event, I would try and surf like a free surfer and not get nervous 'cos that's when I normally lose. With the support of my home crowd I felt completely relaxed and was able to find two of the best ramps I think I've ever had in Ballito."
Former Mr Price Pro Champion Jordy Smith (Durban) asserted his dominance over the field with a series of high performance aerial maneuvers, finishing off with some cheeky switch foot surfing to earn a pair of excellent 8-point rides winning his heat over Hodei Collazo (EUK).
Tour veteran and event wildcard Greg Emslie charged through his Round of 96 heat edging out French surfer Adrian Toyon to advance in second place behind heat winner Jay Quinn (NZ). Toyon and fomer ASP World Champion CJ Hobgood (USA) were eliminated in third and fourth places respectively.
"I had a shocker of a start but I put my head down and got that pretty good score of a 7.8," Emslie said. "I'd never seen Adrian surf before but I knew CJ could pull it off at anytime so I just tried to pull any card and it seemed to work."
Selecting some better looking inside waves, Emslie's fast, fins-free surfing saw him claw his way back up the scoreboard to knock Toyon and CJ Hobgood off the block, earning his place into the round of 48.
American surfer Nate Yeomans (USA) seemed perfectly at home in the morning conditions, the former World Championship Tour campaigner riding just three of his 12 wave quota to advance out of the round of 96 in first place ahead of fomer World Junior Champion Jack Freestone (AUS).
"There were some beautiful conditions out there, luckily I was able to pick off the ones that Tommy (Whittaker) didn't get and come away with the lead," Yeomans said. "This place reminds me of Santa Cruz, California, it has the same reef set up with the rocks and high tide backwash, I like surfing a right hand point so I felt really comfortable out there.
Brazilian surfers Tiago Camaroa and Alejo Muniz were other early morning standouts, the Brazilians asserting their dominance on some punchy launch pads with Camaroa advancing in first ahead of Jesse Mendes (BRA) and Muniz taking first place ahead of Gabriel Villaran (PRT).
Torrey Meister (HAW) came through with an impressive afternoon charge netting a near perfect 9.17, to secure his win over defending Champion Patrick Guduaskas (USA), the pair both advancing into the round of 24.
The Mr Price Pro Ballito ran through 20 heats of competition that saw the Round of 96 completed as well as ten heats of the round of 48.
The action continues tomorrow with the remaining heats of the Round of 48 followed by the Round of 24. The next call will be at 07H00.
MR PRICE PRO ROUND OF 96 RESULTS:
Heat 16: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 13.17; Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 10.93; Kiron Jabour (HAW) 10.50; Davey Cathels (AUS) 9.67
Heat 17: Thiago Camaroa (BRA) 15.33; Jesse Mendes (BRA) 14.10; Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.43; Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 5.76
Heat 18: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 14.33; Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.40; Tom Whittaker (AUS) 10.20; Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) 8.50
Heat 19: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 16.23; Nat Young (USA) 14.83; Messias Felix (BRA) 11.57; Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 5.77
Heat 20; Jay Quinn (NZ) 15.00; Greg Emslie (ZAF) 13.37; Adrien Toyon (FRA) 13.24; CJ Hobgood (USA) 9.77
Heat 21: David do Camo (BRA) 11.16; Billy Stairmand (NZ) 11.13; Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.63; Luke Davis (USA) 10.26
Heat 22: 1st Jonathan Gonzalez(CNY) 14.40; Glenn Hall (IRL) 12.40; Jano Belo(BRA) 11.34; Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) 10.03
Heat 23: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 17.17; Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 14.36; Gabe Kling (USA) 11.70; Dale Staples (ZAF) 10.03
Heat 24: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 15.85; Gabriel Villaran (PRT) 12.83; Chris Friend (AUS) 9.20; Steven Swayer (ZAF) 9.10
MR PRICE PRO ROUND OF 48 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 13.50; Tiago Pires (POR) 13.17; Masatoshi Ohno (JPN) 10.97; Stu Kennedy (AUS) 10.96
Heat 2: Travis Logie (ZAF) 15.20; Tomas Hermes (BRA) 13.70; Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 11.50; Chad Du Toit (ZAF) 8.33
Heat 3: Nathan Hedge (ZAF) 13.96; Nathaniel Curran (USA) 13.67; Garrett Parkes (AUS) 12.83; Charles Martin (GLP) 9.22
Heat 4: Olamana Eleogram (HAW)12.00; Brian Toth (PRI) 11.34; Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 10.94; Bernado Miranda (BRA) 7.93
Heat 5: Torrey Meister (HAW) 15.07; Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.77; Leonardo Neves (BRA) 10.60; Marc Lacomare (FRA) 9.60
Heat 6: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 12.17; Granger Larsen (HAW) 10.70; Jadson Andre (BRA) 6.97; Eric Geiselman (HAW) 5.13
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.50; Hodei Collazo (EUK) 12.17; Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 12.00; Willian Cardoso (BRA) 9.34