Mr Price Pro Ballito 2010

Winter in the gorgeous KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa means… well… sun, surf and the world’s top surfers battling it out at the Mr Price Pro Ballito from 1 – 11 July 2010.

The province of almost eternal summer is home to one of this week-long, 5-star rated surfing event, which forms part of the Association of Surfing Professionals’ (ASP) World Tour and the ASP Africa circuits is also widely regarded to be one of the longest running professional surfing events in the world.

But the top surfers are lured by more than just the historical significance of the event or the ASP ratings points that can be racked up. The R1 million prize money definitely holds an allure as well.

Among the local surfers who will be vying for that significant loot includes Durbanite and former ASP World Tour competitor Ricky Basnett, Greg Emslie from East London, Capetonian Royden Bryson, Durbanites Antonio Bortoletto, Brandon Jackson, Rudy Palmboom and Shane Thorne. Other Natallers competing in the event will include Frankie Obherholzer, Gary Van Wieringen and Gavin Roberts. One of the undisputed star attractions at this year’s event will be Jordy Smith, who is currently ranked number 3 in the world.

This year the Mr Price Pro Women’s event will be added, with the likes of Stacy Guy from Melkbosstrand, Sarah Baum from Athlone Park, Bianca Buitendag from George, and Tanika Hoffman from Kommetjie taking part. In the Pro Junior division, Beyrick De Vries from Umhlanga will battle it out against Davey Brand from Kommetjie, Matthew Bromley from Cape Town and Jaco Steyn from Melkbosstrand.

Apart from the sun and surf, some of South Africa’s greatest musical acts, like Prime Circle and Farryl Purkiss, will also be performing on the nights of the 9th and 10th of July. For more information, visit www.mrpricepro.com

Kelly Slater Reigns Supreme for Ninth Time

American surfer Kelly Slater is fast becoming the Bruce Fordyce of the world championship surf circuit. Today, he clinched the ASP World Tour title for the ninth time when he won the Billabong Pro Mundaka in Spain.

The veteran, who at the age of 20 became the Association of Surfing Professionals’ youngest world champion as a tour rookie, is now also the oldest champion at the age of 36.

Although he has won 88 percent of his heats this season, Slater did not expect a full season.

“I went under the radar at Snapper Rocks (opening event in Australia),” he said. “There was so much focus on Dane (Reynolds) and Jordy (Smith), and Mick Fanning defending his world title, I was kind of sneaking around.

“I really wasn’t going to Bells (Beach), but when I won that, at that point I was thinking it was a great time to stop or just get everything in order and go for it.”

Slater’s nine world titles still put him miles ahead of Mark Richards, who is the runner-up with four.

Rumors abound that Slater’s longtime primary sponsor, Quiksilver, will offer him a $10 million bonus if he should manage another title win for the 10th time.  But although he said he would love being offered that amount to come back, it is not just about the money.

“I love surfing. I love what I do,” he said.

(Picture Source)