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Who's In? South Africa Prime names wildcards

Michael February © Cestari / Mr Price




Mr Price Pro Ballito

ASP Prime event
Willard Beach, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
30 June - 6 July 2014

Mikey February, Prestwich, Van Zyl & Lightfoot all in

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 26 June, 2014 - Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal - Four talented South African surfers have been granted wildcard entries into the prestigious Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) PRIME rated Mr Price Pro Ballito, from June 30 – July 6, 2014. Michael February (CT) and Slade Prestwich (Dbn) will make their way into the event courtesy of Mr Price wildcards, while David Van Zyl (Dbn) and Dylan Lightfoot (J-Bay), will take on the worlds’ best courtesy of ASP Africa wildcards.

2009 Mr Price Pro Champion Tanner Gudauskas (USA), along with World No. 19 Fred Patacchia Jnr (HAW), are the two international wildcards selected to compete for Mr Price Pro Ballito glory next week.

Due to the exclusive 96-man field, featuring only the top ranked surfers on the ASP Qualifying Series (QS), a wildcard entry will prove invaluable for both local, and international surfers hoping to improve their QS ranking, in order to qualify for other Prime and Six Star events and ultimately for the elite ASP World Championship Tour (WCT).

These six surfers will be guaranteed a minimum of 380 ratings points and R7941 (US$750), should they bow out early and, a substantial 6500 points and R423 566 (US$40,000) should they win the entire event! South African hopefuls February, Prestwich, Van Zyl and Lightfoot, will seize the opportunity to compete in an ASP Prime, in the hope of breaking into the Top 100, on the QS rankings.

For Gudauskas, currently No. 20 on the QS rankings, a wildcard entry is the opportunity to break into the Top 10 on the Qualifying Series, towards securing his spot on the Elite WCT in 2015. Patacchia, who is currently inside the Top 22 cutoff on the ASP WCT, will be looking to use a Prime result as a back-up should he be required to qualify via the QS in 2015.

A total of four South African surfers have qualified for the main event via their ASP World ranking. They include World No. 11 Jordy Smith (RSA), World No. 24 Travis Logie (Dbn), Beyrick De Vries (Umhlanga) who is No. 28 on the QS rankings and Dale Staples (St Francis Bay) who is No. 74 on the QS rankings.

Smith, who finished runner-up to Julian Wilson (AUS) in 2013, is the top seed for the event followed by elite World Tour campaigners Kai Otton (AUS), CJ Hobgood (USA), Adriano De Souza (BRA) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) who complete the top five seeds.

Forty-eight local surfers will compete in the Mr Price Pro Ballito Trials presented by Surfing South Africa on Saturday June 28, 2014, for the remaining two wildcard spots into the main event. The Mr Price Pro Ballito will kick off on Monday June 30, when organisers of the competition and the related festival - which is one of the biggest beach festivals in Africa - are expecting 100 000 fans to soak up the entertainment over the seven days of action.

The surfers will ride the ocean waves by day, and the spectators will be rocked by sound waves at night. Clothing and home ware group Mr Price, the sponsors of the event, and the KwaDukuza Municipality will be presenting free music concerts on the beach at Salt Rock on July 3 and 4. Thursday July 3 will see a night of Kwaito, Afro pop, hip-hop and house, and Friday July 4 will cater to more of a pop, rock and dance theme audience.

Robin de Kock

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