Staples 10. Photo courtesy Mr Price Pro/Grew Ewing.
Tuesday June 30, 2009 – Day two of the Men's 6 Star Mr Price Pro Ballito revealed some of the most perfect surf witnessed on the ASP World Qualifying Series, as thunderous two and a half to three meter barrels roared the length of Willard's Beach in Ballito this morning.
Seven heats of the Men's Round of 144 were completed in epic conditions that saw perfect rides', gaping barrels and sensational wipeouts unfold as surfers waged war on the raging seas.
Eighteen-year-old South African surfer Dale Staples (St Francis) emerged as the event's standout performer, his barrel riding antics earning him the nickname 'The Magician' as he weaved his way through some of the most spectacular barrel rides of the morning, to score the only perfect ten-point ride of the event so far.
"That was definitely one of the best waves of my life," said Staples. "I couldn't really have asked for much more – it was perfect! There's a big difference from surfing in Durban and I'm really stoked that the event is now being held in big barrels – hopefully it will be the same tomorrow!"
Staples backed up his perfect score with a 7.93 (out of 10.00) wide tube to finish the heat with an outstanding 17.93 heat total (out of 20.00), advancing into the Round of 96 along with 16-year old Hawaiian John-John Florence.
"When I paddled out there I knew John John was going to get some good ones but I was just stoked to be out there with him and to surf my best. Lucky I got through with him. My aim is definitely to win this thing and hopefully I get lucky and it goes my way!"
Australian Luke Campbell found himself exactly in position for one of the day's super sets, completely disappearing inside a meaty three meter (10ft) cavern before reappearing to score the second highest single wave score of the event, a 9.57 (out of 10.00).
"I kinda got just got lucky,” said Campbell. "I was in the right spot and it stood up long enough for me to get out. It was pretty much the only wave I got, so it was nice to get a good one."
Heat 19 spelt disappointment for South Coast barrel master Frankie Obherholzer (Warner Beach) who opened up with one of the most dramatic tube rides of the morning, earning an excellent 8.83 (out of 10.00) to take an early heat lead.
Australian surfer Brent Dorrington (AUS) was quick to answer back with a racy 8.73 tube which he backed up with another good scoring ride to win the heat with an 11.40 (out of 20.00) score. Japanese surfer Yujiro Tsuji nipped into second with a 10.40, the pair relegating Obherholzer into third position.
"When I took off on that wave it didn't look that open from the start," explained Dorrington. "I ducked into the first part and then it opened up a bit. I've never surfed waves like this in a competition so when you can get swell like this it's fantastic!"
South African surfers Dave Richards (Cape Town) and Luke Patterson (Westbrook) out-classed their international counterparts, winning their respective Round of 144 heats to advance into the Round of 96.
Patterson opted to play the patience game taking his pick of the waves and performing clean, stylish carves to edge out Sam Page (AUS), Hawaiian charger Mason Ho (Haw) and Hilton Lawrence (Zaf).
Richards advanced through a relatively low scoring heat, taking command of the substantial surf to defeat Jack Perry (Aus), Jaco Steyn (Zaf) and Jesse Heilman (USA).
At around 11h00 the surf jacked up to another meter, with mammoth three meter (10ft) set waves storming through the Surfer's line-up, prompting event officials to use jet-ski assist to escort surfers out into the lineup at the start of their heats.
Hawaii's Granger Larsen took on some of the most testing conditions of the morning, capturing a narrow victory over local surfer Chris Leppan (ZAF) and defeating ASP Australasia Pro Junior Champion Stuart Kennedy (Aus) in the last heat of the morning, before the action was called off at 11h30.
"I paddled out before the previous heat even started and I was freaking out because I couldn't get out there and I was thinking 'what am I doing, I can't even get out!” explained Larsen. "I paddled for almost the entire heat only to have a huge set break right on my head. Eventually I called for the Jet Ski to help me to get out the back. I was stoked to just get one little wave and get through, it was ridiculous out there and they called it off right after my heat so I was pretty lucky to get through for sure."
Event organizers decided to call the event off at midday due to the deterioration of the quality of waves, which offered little in the way of scoring potential compared to the perfect conditions on offer earlier in the day.
The next call will be made at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday July 1 for a possible 7:00 a.m. start.
Heat 17: Marco Giorgi (URY) 14.50; Wade Goodall (AUS) 5.96; Thomas Hermes (BRA) 5.83; Nicholas Godfrey (ZAF) 0.30
Heat 18: Luke Patterson (AUS) 9.10; Sam Page (AUS) 7.26; Mason Ho (HAW) 5.83; Hilton Lawrence (ZAF) 2.50
Heat 19: Brent Dorrington (AUS) 11.40; Yujiro Tsuji (JAP) 10.40; Frankie Obherholzer (ZAF) 10.00; Michael February (ZAF) 5.26
Heat 20: Dale Staples (ZAF) 17.93; John John Florence (HAW) 13.50; Brad Ettinger (USA) 6.50; Clinton Gravett (ZAF) 4.16
Heat 21: Dave Richards (ZAF) 7.33; Perry Jack (AUS) 5.97; Jaco Steyn (ZAF) 07.00; Jesse Heilman (USA) 05.00
Heat 22: Luke Campbell (AUS) 12.80; Alex Gray (USA) 5.00; Mark Shepperson (ZAF) 3.33; Brendon Gibbens (ZAF) 1.67
Heat 23: Granger Larsen (HAW) 7.60; Chris Leppan (ZAF) 5.67; Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 4.40; Nobuyuki Osawa (JPN) 00.0