Remembering D-Day

One of the advantages of being retired, well sort of retired, on cold, wet and windy days one has options available. Stay in bed with a good book until it warms up, shuffle through to your favourite chair and sit and watch TV covered with a blanket until it warms up or, be brave and face the shower  with fortitude.

Being 6th June , the 75th anniversary of D-Day I had already chosen the second option no matter the weather for both Sky-News and CNN had given notice that they would be giving extensive coverage to events at Omaha Beach in Normandy being attended by Presidents Trump and Macron as well other commemorations at other events both sides of the channel attended by Royalty,

And what a rewarding decision it was for both channels gave so much insight into the events of that day 75 years ago that changed not only the course of the war but the freedoms we enjoy today.

Many older South African men have had to face battle at young age as did the brave men who landed on Normandy beaches that day. To all of these souls we must honour their bravery too for running into battle knowing that the next bullet could end your life is indeed the ultimate sacrifice for one’s country.

The events were attended by many of the courageous men who on that day stormed the beaches only to see comrades at arms mowed down by Nazi gunfire. Now in their nineties, most of these true veterans were still in their teens at the time and to see them honoured was a moving, poignant experience even if it was only a television rendition of the events and certainly brought a tear to the eye on more than one occasion.

Surprisingly the highlight of the day was the speech by President Trump. For once it wasn’t all about him, how great, how wonderful and important he is. Yesterday he spoke of the bravery of a generation that sacrificed so much. Citing individual acts of bravery of some of the men were actually present, shaking their hands and embracing them truly added to not just the emotion of the event but more than illustrated the bravery of those present and those lost forever.

Thank you SkyNews and CNN for not only commemorating the event but also for reminding us what so many of our parent of those us in our late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s suffered from 1939 to 1945.


World’s Top Surfers Confirmed for Ballito Pro pres. by O’Neill

More than a dozen of the world’s best surfers are heading to the Ballito Pro pres. by O’Neill at Willard Beach from 1-7 July. No less than 16 of the elite World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) surfers have thrown their names into the bag for the first Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 rated event of the year, including world No. 2, Kolohe Andino (USA).

Andino put on a stellar performance at the recent Margaret River Pro in West Australia to finish runner-up to Hawaiian John John Florence.

Current WSL No. 2 Kolohe Andino (USA) will be one of the top seeds at the Ballito Pro pres. by O’Neill at Willard Beach in July

The Ballito Pro defending event winner, Peterson Crisanto (BRA), will return to KwaDukuza for the world’s longest running professional surfing event. Crisanto will join fellow Brazilian competitors including 2015 World Champion, Adriano de Souza and 2017 Ballito Pro runner-up Willian Cardoso..

De Souza has been out of the water for the past nine months due to injury and the Ballito Pro pres. by O’Neill will be his first event of the year.

Australia’s Wade Carmichael, the 2018 CT Rookie of the Year, will be a credible threat in any heat at Willard Beach. Carmichael let his powerful surfing do the talking in 2018, earning an equal 3rd place in Ballito after losing out to eventual runner-up Jack Freestone (AUS).

Other big international names include Hawaiians Ezekiel Lau and Seth Moniz, Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Frederico Morais (PRT).

South African favourite and former two-time event winner, Jordy Smith, will come into the event with a string of great results behind his name and sitting at No. 5 on the CT leaderboard. The Durbanite enjoys competing in front of his hometown crowds, who rock up in their numbers to support the local stars.

The South African contingent includes 2018 CT competitor Michael February (Kommetjie) and top QS surfers Matthew McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay), hometown hero Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga), David van Zyl (Glenashley), Adin Masencamp (Strand), Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) and Slade Prestwich (Durban).

On Sunday, 30 June, the Ballito Trial pres. by O’Neill will give 32 surfers one last opportunity to earn a slot in the QS 10,000.

Alongside the surfing, visitors will be spoiled for choice with non-stop activities providing even more entertainment throughout the Ballito festival site. South Africa’s hottest musical acts appealing to all tastes – rock, pop, hip hop, kwaito, electro and dance – will be performing live on Salt Rock Beach over the last weekend. Beach and extreme sports, culinary contests as well as quality retail and food stalls will captivate visitors to this coastal holiday highlight. 

For more information, visit:

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Snapchat: Username – TheBallitoPro

The Ballito Pro pres. by O’Neill is proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, O’Neill, Capitec, Casio G-Shock, SMTH Shapes, 5FM, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, North Coast Courier, SMG MINI, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).