A Monstrous Surfing Season Gallery

A Monstrous Surfing Season Gallery

Random photos from a huge contest season in Ballito

 

All photos @kodymcgregor @pierretostee @theballitopro

O’Neill SMTH Shapes Rookie Rippers
June 25 – June 26
Ballito

Slayde Shooter

O’Neill SMTH Shapes Ballito Pro Junior
June 27 – June 28
JQS1000 Men & Women
Ballito

A Monstrous Surfing Season

Rory Dace

Ballito Open presented by Flojos
June 29 – June 30
WSL QS1000 Men & Women
Ballito

A Monstrous Surfing Season

Rylan Jarvis

 

Ballito Pro Presented By O’Neill
July 1 – July 8
World Surf League Africa Challenger Event
Ballito

Louise Lepront – (Photo by Pierre Tostee/World Surf League)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aerial Surfing Gallery From The Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill

Aerial Surfing Gallery From The Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill

The only way to win surfing events these days is to take to the skies, and that’s exactly what the surfers have been doing in this Aerial Surfing Gallery at The Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill World Surf League Challenger Series event.

All photos by @kodymcgregor @pierretostee @theballitopro

See also: St Francis Bay Surfers in action at The Ballito Pro: Gallery

Sally Fitzgibbons and Luke Thompson (South Africa) Wins Ballito Open presented by Flojos

Sally Fitzgibbons and Luke Thompson (South Africa) Wins Ballito Open presented by Flojos

BALLITO, KwaDukuza, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (Sunday, June 30,2024) – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Luke Thompson (RSA) won the World Surf League (WSL) Ballito Open presented by Flojos Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 today in challenging one-to-two foot surf in Ballito. The swell might have dropped, but today’s finalists showed their mettle to advance through the competition to make it all the way to the podium.

Fitzgibbons Spars With New Generation, Inspired To Keep Pushing

It was a stacked women’s Final, with the experienced Sally Fitzgibbons(AUS) coming up against a dominating new generation in Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri (EUK), Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) and Bella Kenworthy (USA).

Etxabarri posted the first score, while the rest of the field tried to find their spot in the lineup. Fitzgibbons kept moving up and down the lineup searching for opportunities. Halfway through the heat Fitzgibbons moved over to a different bank and found a good wave, getting two strong turns in for a 6.00 (out of a possible 10). Everything switched on and she found more fun sections and kept on improving her total score, applying the pressure on her competitors. No one could catch up and she adds another win to her trophy cabinet.

“It was one of those finals where there was a flurry of waves before, but then it just started to go a bit sleepy and none of us could get a jump start,Fitzgibbons said. I thought to myself, how do I get into this heat and I just started moving that energy. Getting that 6 was really handy, but I knew I had to back it up. I found a chunky section off the end in front of the rocks and that felt really cool.”

“To come in and have the next generation cheer you up, I started this game when they were probably still in nappies so it was cool that they came down to support me!It was a really great day, sparring with each other and lifting our performances for the rest of the week.”

Fitzgibbons did a great job in the first Semifinals, staying low over her board to crack out a few snappy turns, she got the win ahead of Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri (EUK). The second Semifinal was much slower which saw Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) and Bella Kenworthy (USA) squeak through with small scores.

Thompson Wins In Front Of Home Crowd

In today’s conditions, any wave and any score, no matter how small, could mean you win or lose and Shion Crawford (HAW) didn’t want to sit around and wait. Crawford posted two quick scores, putting the pressure on his competitors. Luck swung in the direction of Luke Thompson (RSA) when he found a good-looking wave to whack two man-size turns into the face for 7.00 and then backed it up with a 4.50 to take the lead.

Jackson Bunch (HAW) found the best wave of the heat, giving him a lot of wall to work with to unload three huge turns on his backhand, earning an excellent 8.83, the highest single wave score of the day. Thompson still had priority and found another great wave, slicing into the wave with everything he had. Crawford, Bunch and Rinta Oooto (JPN) all caught waves at the same time, and the seconds counted down as everyone waited for the scores to drop. The judges rewarded Thompson with a 7.33 and scored the highest heat total of the day with 14.33 (out of a possible 20).

“When Jackson (Bunch) dropped that 8.83 I was so stressed,Thompson admitted. Fortunately I had priority and there was still lots of time left, so I knew I just had to sit and wait and hope an opportunity comes my way. Then that wave came at the end and I knew it was my opportunity and everything aligned.”

“I felt so good out there, even at the start of the heat I was sitting in no man’s land and a wave just came to me, so it felt like everything was coming to me at the right time. I really wanted to get a win here at home in front of everyone. I have my friends here and my mom, so I’m just really grateful,Thompson said.

In the first men’s Semifinal, Crawford pushed the level to excellent when he scored an 8.17 for his powerful surfing and booked his spot in the Finals alongside Bunch. The second Semifinal saw the last two remaining South Africans Thompson and Connor Slijpen (RSA) take on Oooto and Winter Vincent (AUS), in an exciting exchange of airs, but only Thompson and Oooto advanced.

The Ballito Open presented by Flojos is supported by Flojos, KwaDukuza Municipality, Surfing South Africa, The North Coast Courier, Monster Energy, SMG and Coca-Cola.

Baum and Morais Win WSL J-Bay Classic Presented by Corona

Baum and Morais Win WSL J-Bay Classic Presented by Corona

  • Sally Fitzgibbons, Michael February Finish Runners-Up
  • Nail-biting Finals Day Keeps Crowds On Their Feet
  • More Available at WorldSurfLeague.com

 

Baum and Morais Win the World Surf League (WSL) J-Bay Classic Presented by Corona Specialty over Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Michael February (RSA) in clean, three-to-four foot waves at Supertubes. It was a bittersweet end to a week-long competition, which had the aura of something truly special, a celebration of surfing.

Local Trials Winner Sarah Baum Goes All The Way

Everyone loves Fitzgibbons, but the local crowd was cheering for Baum, the local trials winner who made it to the Final. Supertubes pumped perfect waves all day, albeit a bit slow at times. Fitzgibbons stayed busy, building her house with two medium-range scores, while Baum played the waiting game. Both surfers improved their scores on a great exchange, with Baum getting an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10). However, she still required a medium score to overtake Fitzgibbons.

Time was running out as the locals started whistling, the grandstand spectators chanted ‘go, go, go’, and Baum got the message and swung around into a beautiful wave. Two big turns in the pocket, Baum was charging towards a meaty section on the inside, the crowd holding their breath. Baum emerges from a whitewater explosion, the beach erupts, and she stands tall, both arms stretched into the air. She gets the required score, and with that, she’s the first South African woman to win an event in J-Bay since Shavonne Hill in 1987.

I claimed that wave

“I can’t even believe what just happened,” Baum said. “As soon as I made that wave, all the emotions flowed uncontrollably. I don’t usually claim waves, but I claimed that wave. I could hear everyone on the beach blowing up; I even had goosebumps on my head.”

“I made a couple of mistakes, so I was trying to move forward and not think about that. This event was just to iron out a few creases in my surfing, and I feel like I did that. Now I’m off to Ballito and then the Olympics, so hopefully, I can continue this momentum and believe in myself because that’s the main thing I want to do,” Baum said.

Longtime competitors Fitzgibbons and Baum are trying to qualify for the Championship Tour. They will head to Ballito for the next Challenger Series event.

“Watching Baumy go for the score and seeing her make that turn and the crowd erupting, I think that’s replaced my best memory of J-Bay by far,” Fitzgibbons said. “To be part of a real significant moment where she’s the first South African to win since 1987 is a good way to wrap up this week. I couldn’t ask for more; I’m so content and satisfied.”

Frederico Morais Wins, Catches Feelings In J-Bay

The men’s Finals started with a lull, and Frederico Morais (POR) and Michael February (RSA) sat wide from each other in the lineup, waiting for the sets. Morais snatched two quick leg looseners while February kept his cards close to his chest, far out the back. It was an agonisingly slow heat.

The Portuguese powerhouse slid into a wave under priority, cranking out huge layback carves back into the pocket and drawing out his turns. He locks in a 6.00 and a 6.83 back-to-back to pressure February. The tension is palpable when February finds a good wave to work with, laying into his turns and showing some flair as he hits the lip. It’s good, but it’s not enough, and Morais takes out the first-ever J-Bay Classic presented by Corona Specialty.

Super Special Week

“J-Bay is not a place, it’s an emotion,” Morais said. “It’s the best wave in the world. J-Bay has always been kind to me, especially the wave and the people. I love it here. It was a super special week with some competition and free surfing. It’s just what I was looking for,” Morais said.

“Surfing with some of the most iconic surfers in the world, from young to old generations, we all surfed together. It was my first time surfing a twinny, too! It was just a beautiful week, and coming up with the win against Michael February, one of the most stylish surfers in the world, was just so special.”

February was one of the most impressive surfers in the event, scoring excellent rides in the Twin Fin, Bonus Round and the Semifinals. “It’s been fun surfing an event again, but I’m exhausted!” February admitted. “It’s been a great week, and we surfed some amazing waves. It was fun to be part of a different celebration of surfing.”

Nail-biting Finals Day Keeps Crowds On Their Feet

Competitors and spectators got to experience Supertubes in all her glory and her different moods this week. Finals Day started in the golden glow of the morning as perfectly groomed waves peeled into the bay for the Women’s Semifinals. Over the years, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) have matched up 23 times in two-person heats, and today was their first time surfing a Specialty heat together.

Gilmore glided on her yellow pickle-fork twin fin, drawing out her turns like the 8-time World Champion can, but Fitzgibbons was fired up. Locking in two excellent scores to book her spot in the Finals, Gilmore returned to the beach with a smile to enjoy the show from the sidelines.

Coco Ho (HAW) has been ripping all week but was coming up against local favourite Sarah Baum (RSA). After watching the first heat, they both opt for the trusty thruster surfboard setup. Whistles from the beach get everyone’s attention when a good-looking set arrives, and there’s an exciting exchange between Ho and Baum. The South African’s powerful backhand turns in the pocket were the point of difference, and she stamped her ticket to the Finals.

Baum and Morais Win

Matt Wilkinson (AUS) and Michael February (RSA) scored excellent rides in their Semifinal clash. Still, it was one of the slower heats of the day. The set arrived in the dying minutes of their heat, and Wilkinson stumbled on his wave. At the same time, February styled his way right through to the inside to the crowd’s roar as he moved into Finals.

It was a nail-biting heat between Morais and Josh Kerr (AUS) in the second Semifinal. Morais has so much power and speed as he snaps off the top and hammers the inside section for a rewarding 8.83. Kerr brought some innovative surfing to J-Bay, throwing out his signature ‘club sandwich’ move, a frontside grab-rail reverse done under the lip of the wave. Still, in the end, Morais edged him out with 0.16 points.

J-Bay Classic Presented By Corona Women’s Final Results

1- Sarah Baum (RSA) 14.27

2- Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.13

J-Bay Classic Presented By Corona Men’s Final Results

1- Frederico Morais (POR) 12.83

2- Michael February (RSA) 10.33

J-Bay Classic Presented By Corona Women’s Semifinal Results

HEAT 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.07 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.57

HEAT 2: Sarah Baum (RSA) 13.90 DEF. Coco Ho (HAW) 12.97

J-Bay Classic Presented By Corona Men’s Semifinal Results

HEAT 1: Michael February (RSA) 15.30 DEF. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.00

HEAT 2: Frederico Morais (POR) 15.16 DEF. Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.00

See also: JBay Classic 2024 Photo Gallery from Thruster Rounds