Women's Mr. Price Pro Ballito Ends With 24 Surfers

BALLITO,  - The Women’s Mr. Price Pro Ballito will not crown a 2009 champion for the first time in the event’s history, due to the adverse surf and weather conditions that wreaked havoc with the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 5-Star event over the weekend.

The event that was scheduled to start on Saturday, June 28th, was postponed due to extreme surf and gale force winds that prevented organisers from completing the event within the assigned window.

The four remaining heats of the Women’s Round of 48 were completed in choppy two-meter surf at Surfers Beach in Ballito this morning, with the final eight surfers advancing into the Round of 24.

All 24 surfers remaining in the event earned an equal 19th place finish, splitting the prize money and ratings points equally with each surfer taking home R7900 (US$1000) and 1200 ratings points.

Top South African in the event Rosy Hodge (East London) dominated her Round of 48 heat over Johanne Defray (FRA), Laura Enever (AUS) and Claudia Goncalves (BRA). The current ASP World No. 13 used here elite competition experience to out-position her rivals, snatching the two best waves of the heat to advance in first place.

“The way things have gone has been a bit of a shake-up for everyone," Hodge said. "I don’t think anyone’s really been in this situation before where you make it through your heats and then it’s actually the end of your run. I’ve always looked forward to the Mr. Price Pro and both Mr. Price and the ASP are making the best effort that they can, but it’s just a situation where the surf is so variable and you can’t control what the ocean is doing.”

South African Open Women’s Champion Heather Clark (Port Shepstone) was the only other South African to advance through this morning’s heats, placing second behind heat winner and ASP World No. 3 Paige Hareb (New Zealand). Cape Town’s Stacey Guy (Melkbosstrand) struggled to find a decent scoring ride in her Round of 48 heat and was relegated to fourth place, finishing with an equal 37th position.

ASP WQS ratings leader Coco Ho (Haw) has maintained her ASP WQS No. 1 position alongside Carissa Moore (Haw) after becoming the last surfer to advance out of the Round of 48 this morning. Ho won her heat over of Francisco Santos (PRT), Anne-Cecile LeTallec and Erica Hosseini (USA).

“It’s a shame," Ho said. "I flew all the way across the world to get here and only got to put the singlet on once. I’m really bummed that I’ve come out of this event still tied in first on the ASP WQS with Carissa. I was looking forward to getting a lead on the ratings and having some fun at the same time, but with everyone splitting the points, it’s not going to matter to our positions on the ratings.”

Also advancing into the Round of 24 this morning were former ASP World Tour surfer Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) and Amandine Sanchez (FRA), who finished in first and second positions, during heat 10.

The 2009 Mr. Price Pro Ballito is the second event in the history of ASP Women’s World Tour and ASP WQS competition not to have been completed, the last of which was the 1998 Lacanau Pro in France. A total of ten ASP Men’s World Tour and WQS events have been called off due to poor or unsurfable conditions.

Women’s Round of 48 Results:
Heat 9:
Paige Hareb (NZL)11.67 Heather Clark (ZAF) 7.66 Crystal Vail(AUS) 3.57 Suelen Naraisa (BRA) 3.06
Heat 10: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 10.67 Amandine Sanchez (FRA) 5.17Laura Macauly (AUS) 4.83 Stacey Guy (ZAF) 3.00
Heat 11: Roseanne Hodge (ZAF) 11.66 Johanne Defay (FRA) 5.70 Laura Enever (AUS) 5.36 Claudia Goncalves (BRA) 3.97
Heat 12: Coco Ho (HAW) 10.26 Francisca Santos (PRT) 7.00 Anne-Cecile Le Tallec (FRA) 2.83 Erica Hosseini (USA) 0.00