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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Wed, 27 June 2018

Only one South African remains in the men's QS10,000 at Ballito, while after a marathon day in Ballito today, Peru’s Sofia Mulanovich won the women's QS1,000. Spike summarises.

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CHAMP: Sofia Mulanvich was the first South American world surfing champion. Photo WSL / Cestari

Mulanovich, 2004 Women’s World Champion, has won twice in the long history of what is now known as the Ballito Pro, having clinched her first title at the Mr Price Pro at North Beach, Durban in 2002. She comfortably defeated top seed Philippa Anderson (AUS) in the 25 minute final held in bumpy 3ft waves on the high tide. The Peruvian won five consecutive heats including the final where she racked up scores of 6.0 and 5.25 while the Australian could only produce a pair of fours.

The first surfer from South America to win a world title cruised through the early stages, winning every heat she contested, and overcoming surfers half her age. The result sees Anderson, who was born in South Africa, move to #11 on the women’s QS rankings, while Mulanovich jumps 19 spots to #51.

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LONE RANGER: Matt McGillivray was the one shining light for South Africa. Photo WSL / Cestari

In the men's event, the top seeds have dropped out, including 2017 winner Jordy Smith and runner-up Willian Cardoso (BRA). Only one South African has made it to the last 48. Jeffreys Bay standout Matt McGillivray has remained in the top 10 in the QS rankings since winning the first event of 2018 in Israel and was elated to progress at Ballito: “I wanted to be busy out there, catch a lot of waves and build my scores, but the incoming tide slowed the waves down and there were not very many opportunities.”

“I kept going for aerial manoeuvres and I wasn’t completing them. I was thinking that this wind was perfect for airs and I was hoping to get some big scores with them, but unfortunately I had a bit of a shocker. It ended up being a really low scoring heat and I somehow managed to scrape through so I’m just really grateful that I’ll get another opportunity to surf again and hopefully I’ll put a better heat together.”

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GREEN ROOM: Kai Woolf bottom turns off a turquoise gem at Willard Beach. Photo WSL / Cestari

David van Zyl, Adin Masencamp, Beyrick de Vries, Benji Brand, Michael February, Jake Elkington, and Jordy Maree have been knocked out. For Smith and Cardoso, their two defeats in Round 2 could not have been more different with Smith riding 10 waves but not earning a score over 2.93 points and ending in 4th place, needing a near-perfect 9.10 to move into second place and advance to the next round. Cardoso gave his all in an incredible tussle that saw the scores from first to fourth place separated by less than a point. The Brazilian event top seed finished in third place, just 0.43 of a point behind the runner-up, Charley Martin (FRA).

Deivid Silva (BRA) took full advantage of the pumping early morning conditions to put on a backhand clinic as he posted the highest heat tally of the day. The 23-year-old current QS No. 2 stumbled on his first two waves but then went through a purple patch where he produced back-to-back scores of 7.83, 6.17. 8.83 and 8.17 for a two-wave total of 17.04.

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LOW SCORING: Despite a busy heat the big man could not muster a score over 3. Photo WSL

Full results from the opening day, along with news, images, video clips and more will be available at www.worldsurfleague.com

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 at this coastal holiday highlight.

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