David van Zyl remains South Africa’s only hope after day two of the Ballito Pro surfing competition in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday.
Brazil’s Michael Rodriques was the standout performer of the day where the remaining 15 heats in the opening round of the Billabong presented event were completed in 1-1.2 metre waves at Bather’s Beach in Ballito.
The young Brazilian, pictured above, produced a spectacular display of progressive surfing, posting the first perfect 10 point ride in the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) event for a series of powerful turns and a high flying aerial manoeuvre that he landed in full control.
The local South African challenge for the prestigious title rests on the shoulders of 22-year-old Van Zyl from Glenashley, KZN after Jordy Smith (Durban) and Michael February (Kommetjie) were both ousted and Beyrick de Vries and Dale Staples (St Francis Bay) were sidelined.
Van Zyl finished second behind Marc Lacomare (France) and ahead of Jonathan Gonzalez (Canary Islands) and Carlos Munoz (Costa Rica). He posted a 6.00 early in the heat and then a 6.80 with five minutes to go, after which the ocean went flat and he held on to the runner-up spot.
‘It’s a big result for me. I haven’t had many results, or many keepers this year, so it’s hopefully going to turn my year around and I’m hoping to build off this first heat,’ Van Zyl said.
‘I surf onshore like this quite a lot so I know there’s no defined peaks and you’ve just got to keep moving around and try keep busy. That’s what I started off the heat doing, and then the rest of the heat I was just waiting for a bomb, and luckily the other guys didn’t manage to get two big scores.’
Back to Rodriques and the current No18 on the QS rankings was already leading the heat with scores of 7.00 and a near-perfect 9.20.The perfect ride gave him a heat total of 19.20, the highest of the event to date, and put him out of reach of his opponents who were left in a combination situation where they needed to improve on both their scores to overtake him.
‘This is a very important event for me. There are good waves and the conditions are so so, but I make some airs and the judges like it,’ Rodriques said. ‘I stay in ranking at number 20 after one 9th place at Lowers (California) and want to go to the next event in Huntington Beach. So it’s important to do well here in Ballito.’
H10: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 12.10, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.93, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.60, Michael February (ZAF) 8.63
H11: Perth Standlick (AUS) 14.83, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.43, Charles Martin (GLP) 10.80, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 8.53
H12: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.70, Flavio Nakagima (BRA) 14.33, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 11.37, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 10.30
H13: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 15.56, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 14.76, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.17, Robson Santos (BRA) 11.20
H14: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 15.34, David Van Zyl (ZAF) 12.80, Carlos Munoz (CRI) 11.77, Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 11.76
H15: Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.67, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 14.83, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 14.20, Cory Arrambide (USA) 13.53
H16: Santiago Muniz (ARG) 13.63, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 13.57, Cahill Bell-Warren (AUS) 10.54, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.14
H17: Cooper Chapman (AUS) 17.27, Alex Smith (HAW) 14.37, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.10, Mason Ho (HAW) 7.56
H18: Jose Ferreira (PRT) 14.60, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 14.43, Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.67, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.84
H19: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 19.20, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 16.10, Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 14.77, Nic Von Rupp (PRT) 13.50
H20: Soli Bailey (AUS) 14.80, Mitch Crews (AUS) 14.77, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.90, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.90
H21: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 12.56, Heitor Alves (BRA) 10.60, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 8.74, Dale Staples (ZAF) 5.90
H22: Lucas Silveira (BRA) 13.30, Davey Cathels (AUS) 12.77, Bino Lopes (BRA) 8.67, Dusty Payne (HAW) 7.84
H23: Thomas Woods (AUS) 16.10, Michael Dunphy (USA) 13.10, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 12.17, Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 12.04
H24: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 15.00, Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.53, Frederico Morais (PRT) 14.06, Jack Robinson (AUS) 5.97
Picture of Rodriguez courtesy of WSL/Ballito Pro/Cestari