Stage Set For Finals Day at the Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill

Stage Set For Finals Day at the Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill

The stage is set for Finals Day at the Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill, Stop No. 3 of the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series (CS) , after completing the men’s and women’s Quarterfinals on Sunday.

Standing out as one of the most in form surfers in Ballito, Vahine Fierro’s (FRA) backhand brilliance dominated her Quarterfinal clash against top seed Isabella Nichols (AUS). Fierro was in sync with the ocean, finding the two best waves of the heat to let her backhand shine in the early morning glow. The judges rewarded her with an excellent 8.00 and 9.00 (out of a possible 10) for a total of 17.00 (out of a possible 20), eliminating Nichols from the competition.

“I have so much respect for Isabella, she is such an experienced surfer,” Fierro commented. “I had to give my absolute best in this heat and I’m really happy to take the win. A well-rounded surfer is the best in the world, so big waves or small, you need to find the motivation to be the best you can be in any conditions and I love the challenge.”

Continuing her impressive momentum in Ballito, Sophia Medina (BRA) earned a great heat win over Ellie Harrison (AUS) with a calculated approach in the smaller waves. Medina will have to bring her absolute best to Finals Day where she will meet Fierro in the first Semifinal.

“I can’t believe it, I’m just so grateful to God for his guidance in my life,” Medina said. “Ellie is such an incredible competitor, everyone here is surfing really well, I have so much respect for all of them. It was a tough heat, the waves changed a lot but I’m really glad I made this round.”

It was heartbreak for Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) who fought bravely for her spot in the Quarterfinals yesterday, only to bow out today against Tessa Thyssen(FRA) in another agonisingly close heat.

“Sally is a tough competitor,” Thyssen reacted. “She beat me at Snapper in the Round of 16 so I’m really happy to get this one. I knew she could get the score anytime, but I’m glad we had a good battle.”

Thyssen will meet Bella Kenworthy (USA) in the Semifinals, after Kenworthy first had to overcome Francisca Veselko (POR) in the Round of 16 at the start of the day and later defeated Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) in the Quarters.
Groggia, Gouveia Set Up Brazilian Battle In Semifinals

Edgard Groggia (BRA) has been on a tear despite feeling under the weather since arriving in Ballito. Groggia paddled out for the first men’s Quarterfinal of the day against Keijiro Nishi (JPN) and immediately started taking to the air. After warming up with two mid-range scores, the Brazilian launched a lofty frontside rotation, grabbing the rail and riding it out for an excellent 9.00 to take the win.

“I don’t believe it, this week has been so hard being sick,” Groggia said. “This heat was hard, because the wind is really strong but it’s also good for airs. I was nervous in the beginning, but when I landed my first air I felt better. I used my old board with a broken nose, but it’s a magical board. I’m ready for Finals Day.”

Groggia will meet Ian Gouveia (BRA) in the Semifinals for an all-Brazilian matchup. In his Quarterfinal heat against Hiroto Ohhara (JPN), Gouveia had to adapt to the conditions and rely on his turns instead of going for the aerial maneuvers. Both surfers rode 13 waves in the 35 minutes, but Gouveia got the win with a pair of six point rides.

“That was a tough heat, I knew I would have to get a strong start against Hiroto,” Gouveia said. “I think it’s the first time I beat Hiroto! I wanted to get the best waves I could and I’m stoked I didn’t have to do any airs, I’ll save that for tomorrow.”

Stage Set For Finals Day

Nolan Rapoza (Photo by Kody McGregor/World Surf League)

Nolan Rapoza (USA) continues his impressive form in Ballito, punching his ticket to the Semifinals after defeating Jackson Bunch (HAW).  “I think I got lucky,” Rapoza said after scoring an excellent 8.00 for a quick snap and a big turn into the oncoming end section.  “Jackson had a look at that wave and didn’t go, I had to hold him off and the second section was too good not to crack. I think it was probably the best wave of the heat and Jackson would’ve been able to get an 8 on that wave too.”

Rapoza will meet Winter Vincent (AUS) in the Semifinals after Vincent beat good friend Justin Becret (FRA) in the last heat of the day.

What Risk Profile Are You?

What Risk Profile Are You?

Recent work with a few new clients in St Francis Bay has again highlighted the danger of what I see as an absolute Scourge in Financial Planning, namely, Risk Profiling. In short this is where a client after filling in a risk analysis questionnaire or even just based on their age get labelled and high, medium or low risk. The result is that their investments then get setup to reflect this label and deliver a return on investment based on that specific asset allocation. The result is a pot of wealth that they then need to live off for the rest of their life.

All this process does is protect the adviser who doesn’t want to do the work to understand what the client really needs or to explain to the client why they may need to target a higher return to achieve their long-term plan. If the clients’ outcomes are not what they want the adviser points to the questionnaire that the client completed decades ago. LAZY!

One of the problems with this approach is the language used. Instead of an investment portfolio being called a high, medium or low risk portfolio, they should be called high, medium or low return portfolios as this is much closer to the truth and reflects the real outcome. Also, the work “RISK” triggers emotion and should be replaced by “VOLATILITY” which more correctly reflects the nature of responsible investing.

The biggest shortcoming of risk profiling however is that it focuses on the money and not the person/family. By turning the above process on its head far better results can be achieved for the client. This means first understanding the clients existing lifestyle and the lifestyle they want to enjoy for the rest of their lives. Once this has been clarified, understood and costed, the necessary return on existing and future investment contributions can be calculated.

The asset allocation to get this return is straight forward to work out and this will have a level of volatility which the client needs to be comfortable with. If the return needed is too high or the volatility too much for the client to bear, then adjustments need to be made to the actual and/or desired lifestyle until the outcome is achievable.


This process will give the client what they need and highlight any changes that may be necessary in their current or future lifestyle expenses. This is proper planning and takes a bit of time, but hey, we are talking about the rest of your life?

If your adviser has “labelled” you into one of these categories or if even scarier you have no idea what you are actually invested in, then take the time to find out, your future self will thank your current self.

We are all unique, we all want different things. This is what makes life so wonderful but to make sure we can achieve these things we need to understand what needs to happen now with our investments to make sure our future self is living the way we plan.

Dirk Groeneveld, Certified Financial Planner.

Previous Columns:

Cape St Francis Shipwreck Display enhanced with a Cannon.

Cape St Francis Shipwreck Display enhanced with a Cannon.

The shipwreck display at the Irma Booysen Nature Reserve entrance in Cape St Francis features a cannon from the 1800s. Bobby Cheetam, long-time motoring editor of the Herald from Port Elizabeth, donated the cannon. His family was originally from Cannonville, a small village on the banks of the Sunday River.

“Admittedly, the cannon does not come from an actual shipwreck but is of significant historical value, from the Eastern Cape and is what people expect to see at a shipwreck display”, said Matt Gennrich, local CSF resident and Chairman of FOSTER, a local NPO looking after the 4 nature reserves surrounding Cape St Francis. “Since opening the display with sponsorship and support from the Civics, Rotary and Lighthouse Construction, we started looking around for a cannon to enhance the display. These are difficult to find, and people who own them tend to keep them. One day, I  remembered that Bobby Cheetam had shown me his cannon some years ago whilst he lived in Summerstrand, and I took a chance and phoned him to ask if he still had it.

Bobby, now retired in George, said that he had sent it to his son Clive in Johannesburg without knowing what to do with his cannon. If Clive agreed, Bobby would be happy to donate it to the shipwreck display in Cape St Francis if it added value and gave pleasure to more people.

I then called Clive, who readily agreed with his father and confirmed that we could have it as long as we could get it back to the Eastern Cape, where it belonged. It was large and weighed an estimated 3-4 tons.

I mentioned our dilemma to Miles Japhet of St Francis Bay, one of FOSTERS’ generous donors, and he said he might be able to help. On Monday, Ryan from Milltrans called to ask where he could collect the cannon and said it would be delivered on Thursday. Dave Bowmer, our reserve manager and custodian of the display, sprang into action and prepared the display site in time for the delivery.” Said Matt.
There are a number of amateur shipwreck fundis in our area, but we also have one of South Africa’s foremost authorities on shipwrecks living in St Francis Bay: Malcolm Turner, a professional diver turned historian and author of the book Shipwrecks and Salvage in South Africa, published in 1988.

When asked, Malcolm gave his advice freely. He sent me an article from the Herald of the 11th of December 1968, which tells the history of two cannons from Cannonville, which Malcolm positively identified as one of them. The exact history is unclear, but as these are not military canons, it is likely that they were used to initially protect private property. According to the Herald article, though, the 18-pounder guns were used to salute dignitaries, such as when the Prince of Wales visited in August 1860 and Lord Charles Somerset when they crossed the Sunday’s River on the Pont in use then. Both the article and Malcolm stress that these are assumptions and remain so until proven otherwise.

Whatever the real story is, a huge thank you to the Cheetam family for this generous donation to our town, then Miles and Milltrans for helping to get the canon relocated to Cape St Francis.

Before long with the support of the Civics and Rotary the shipwreck display will hopefully be further enhanced with artifacts from our latest shipwreck the Elke M, including its anchor and sections of the rear mast and its nameplate. FOSTER, whilst happy to host the display at the entrance of the Irma Booysen Reserve will not use funds raised for conservation to contribute financially to the display.

Please stop and visit the display when next in Cape St Francis. Then why not take a walk while there in one of our reserves, kept pristine by the team with funding from memberships and generous donors? If you are not already a paid-up member, please consider becoming one at to help preserve the incredible biodiversity around us.