International competitors dominate day two of Mr Price Pro
Solid 1.3 metre (4 foot) waves at both Bay of Plenty and North Beach, protected from the stiff SW offshore wind by the piers, provided the platform for inspired performances by both the men and women’s competitors on the second day of the Mr Price Pro in Durban today.
Participants from America, Australia, Brazil, Hawaii, Japan, France and New Zealand dominated the results as the seeded surfers took to the waves for the first time in the third and fourth rounds, demonstrating the level expertise that has made the event such a draw card on the annual South African sports calendar.
Although a number of South Africans managed to hold their own in the surf, notably Michael Roscoe (Warner Beach) and Shane Warren (Bluff) amongst the men and Tasha Mentasti (Durban) and Natasha Bastenie (EL) who qualified for the women’s third round, the true local stars were the dolphins that have filled the bay for the past week.
The contest was halted for 50 minutes this morning as the Marine Safety staff manning the inshore rescue craft warned of sardine shoals that moved through the lineup. The fish were followed by literally hundreds of dolphins that put on a spectacular display of wave riding, performing aerials and racing the right across North Beach in the wave faces.
Australian girls won five of the remaining seven heats in round two, which were completed as the swell was rising at the Bay of Plenty this morning, creating testing conditions for competitors.
“The waves were really challenging and most of them closed out, only allowing one or two manoeuvres,” said Trudy Todd, the livewire former WCT stalwart who is making a comeback to the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) after taking an injury enforced break in 2001.
“I love coming to South Africa and was stoked to win that heat to get into the money round,” declared the diminutive blonde who scored a convincing victory in the last heat of the round to advance to round three along with second placed Bastenie.
Claire Bevilacqua (Aus) found the waves to her liking, racking up three great rides in 20 minutes, including an excellent 8.33 points on her second, to accumulate a 15.50 point heat total, the highest of the round, which left the other three competitors in the heat combo’ed (needing a combination of at least two scores to overtake her).
Damon Harvey finished his first heat in the R1.2 million event with a near perfect ride in which the Australian executed a full repertoire of vertical manoeuvres on a wave that peeled the length of North Beach, earning him 9.33 points (out of a possible 10) from the international judging panel, the highest score of the event to date.
This was almost matched by Roscoe two heats later when the longtime ASP Africa star was awarded 9.17 for his heat winning ride, which was punctuated by a series of powerful bottom turns and radical off-the-lip snaps that had the local fans cheering.
The Mr Price Pro starts at 7.30am on Thursday with the completion of the remaining 10 heats of men?s round four (the round of 128). This will be followed at 11am by the eight heats of women?s round three (round of 32), where the top 16 seeds enter the fray for the first time.
The day’s action concludes with the nine heats of men’s round five (round of 96) that will feature the likes of 2001 finalist Tim Curran (USA) and former WCT standouts Shane Beschen (USA) and Beau Emerton (Aus).
Friday sees the top 32 men’s seeds start their challenge for the title, ratings points and the R100 000 winner’s prize-purse that will be determined on Sunday. The women’s champion will be crowned at the podium on North Beach on Saturday afternoon.
The Mr Price pro is the anchor event in the Vodacom Beach Africa festival, a 10 day celebration of beach culture staged on the Golden Mile beaches of the Durban annually.
2002 Mr Price Pro
North Beach &aamp; Bay Of Plenty, Durban
Round Three (round of 160)
Heat 1: 1. Gabe Kling (USA), 2. Matthew Kruger (SAfr), Christian se Clouett (Aus), 4. Rory Gibson (SAfr)
Heat 2: 1.Damon Harvey (Aus), 2.Warwick Wright (SAfr), 3.Sidney Boulanger (SAfr), 4. Ricardo Ortiz (Brz)
Heat 3: 1.Teppei Tajima (Jpn), 2.Llewellyn Whittaker (SAfr), 3. Warren Tuck (SAfr), 4.Peter Nicholson (SAfr)
Heat 4: 1.Michael Roscoe (SAfr), 2.Luke Munro (Aus), 3.Craig Parsons (SAfr), 4. Bernardo Pigmeu (Brz)
Heat 5: 1.Marcelo Trekinho (Brz), 2.Dane Patterson (SAfr), 3. Kai Ellison (USA), 4. Ian Walsh (Haw)
Heat 6: 1.Ryan Bisset (SAfr), 2.Masatoshi Ohno (Jpn), 3. Ty Arnold (Aus), 4.Dylan Stone (SAfr)
Heat 7: 1. Che Stang (USA), 2. Sean Holmes (SAfr), 3. Cale Grigson (Aus)
Heat 8: 1. Shaun Cansdell (Aus), 2. Jihad Kohdr (Brz), 3.Justin Sanders (SAfr), 4.Michael Varikas (SAfr)
Heat 9: 1.Cristo Hall (Aus), 2. Jamie Thompson (Aus), 3. Adriano de Souza (Brz), 4. Antonio Bortoletto (SAfr)
Heat 10: 1.Diego Rosa (Brz), 2. Kai Otton (Aus), 3. Frankie Oberholzer (SAfr), 4. Marc Jackson (SAfr)
Heat 11: 1.Russell Molony (Aus), 2. Mark Matthews (Aus), 3.Cheyne Cottrell (SAfr), 4. Brad Mommsen (SAfr)
Heat 12: 1. Blair Stewart (NZ), 2. Seth Hulley (SAfr), 3. Luke Patterson (SAfr), 4. James Elliot (SAfr)
Heat 13: 1.Mitchell Ross (Aus), 2.Robbie Schofield (Haw), 3.Wayne Secomb (Aus), 4. Quintin Jones
Heat 14: 1.Shane Warren (SAfr), 2. Sam Lamiroy (GB), 3.Matt Owens (Aus), 4.Richard Sills (SAfr)
Heat 15: 1. Will Lewis (Aus), 2.Bede Durbidge (Aus), 3.Andrew Groenewald (SAfr), 4. Dayyan Neve (Aus)
Heat 16: 1.Mike Todd (USA), 2. Noel Rahme (SAfr), 3.Alan Stokes (GB), 4.Gavin Roberts
Round Four (round of 128)
Heat 1: 1. Paul Parkes (Aus), 2. Gabe Kling (USA), 3. Matthew Kruger (SAfr), 4. Samba Mann (Aus)
Heat 2: 1.Sunny Russell (Aus), 2. Damon Harvey (Aus), 3.Warwick Wright (SAfr), 4.Gavin Beschen (USA)
Heat 3: 1.Tanio Barreto (Brz), 2. Danylo Grillo (Brz), 3. Llewellyn Whittaker (SAfr), 4.Teppei Tajima (Jpn)
Heat 4: 1.Raoni Monteiro (Brz), 2. Matt Thompson (Aus), 3. Luke Munro (Aus), 4.Michael Roscoe (SAfr)
Heat 5: 1.Marcelo Trekinho (Brz), 2.Beto Fernandez (Brz), 3. Patrick Bevan (Fra), Dane Patterson (SAfr)
Heat 6: 1.Kirk Flintoff (Aus), 2. Chris Ward (USA), 3. Ryan Bissett (SAfr), 4. Masatoshi Ohno (Jpn)