Peterson Crisanto (BRA) won the historic 50th edition of the Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong in front of a beach jam packed with vocal spectators today, defeating powerful Australian Jack Freestone in final memorable for the pristine waves, picture perfect conditions and huge crowds.
The finalists in the first World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series event to carry a QS 10,000 rating this season had to wait for long periods between sets, but when the waves came they provided the surfers with the opportunity to showcase the full extent of their talents.
After a slow start with no waves for the first eight minutes, Crisanto barely put a foot wrong in the 35 minute final, starting with a mid- range 5.50 out of 10 that got his juices flowing and following that up with an excellent 8.73 that gave him a lead that he never relinquished.
Freestone waited and then delivered a 7.83 before also adding a 5.50 of his own. But it was the Brazilian who stayed the busier and he increased his two-wave heat tally with a 6.93 before slamming the door on his opponent with another excellent 8.20 for a ride that seamlessly combined three manoeuvres utilising the entire face of the wave.
“I can’t believe I’ve won this event, I’m so happy,” said Crisanto. “This is the biggest win of my career so far and it comes after a lot of hard work and hard times. For the last two years, after I lost my main sponsor, I just competed in Brazil to earn money to travel. But now I’m so happy to be back, competing against the best surfers in the world. And to win the 50th edition of the event – it is so special.”
Crisanto came into Ballito ranked No. 42 on the QS leaderboard and it is an endorsement of the importance of the South African event that the 10,000 points earned sees him leave ranked No. 1. His path to the final included wins over Seth Moniz (HAW) in the semifinals and fellow Brazilian Thiago Camarao in the quarterfinals on the final day Earlier he eliminated former Championship Tour (CT) member Nat Young (USA) in Round 5.
Freestone was elated to get his 2018 campaign underway with a great result and huge point haul in Ballito after missing out earlier in the year.
“My start to the year was pretty bad and I could barely make it out of a heat in the QS 3000 and QS 6,000 events,” said Freestone. “But Ballito is usually where the year starts and I’m so happy to kick off the Prime campaign with a second. It means so much to me, especially here in Ballito where I’ve never done better than 5th before. To now be 5th in the world, I’ll take that and know I’m back on course.”
Freestone narrowly outpointed Ricardo Christie (NZL) in their quarterfinal clash this morning and his win over compatriot Wade Carmichael, currently ranked No. 14 on the CT, catapulted him into the final.
The day started with the quarterfinals and Carmichael employed his power surfing repertoire to dispatch young Californian Griffin Colapinto before Freestone got the better of Christie. Moniz then upset the form book by eliminating red hot Brazilian Krystian Kymerson, who had been responsible for some of the biggest aerial manoeuvres seen in Ballito and had claimed the only perfect 10 point ride of the event, before Crisanto defeated Camarao in the fourth quarterfinal.
The top local performer in the 2018 Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong was Matt McGillivray who was the only South African to reach the third round before being ousted in equal 37th place overall. The result sees McGillivray slip out of the top 10 on the ranking to 17th for the first time since winning the first event of the year in Israel.
But the Jeffreys Bay resident is still the top ranked WSL Africa member, which earns him the wildcard into the Corona Open J-Bay, the sixth stop on the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which runs from2-12 July at McGillivray’s home break of Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay.
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BALLITO PRO PRES. BY BILLABONG FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 16.93 points
2 – Jack Freestone (AUS) 14.13
BALLITO PRO PRES. BY BILLABONG SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Jack Freestone (AUS) 12.03 def. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 10.10
SF 2: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 16.43 def. Seth Moniz (HAW) 14.60
BALLITO PRO PRES. BY BILLABONG QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 16.90 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.84
QF 2: Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.34 def. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 12.80
QF 3: Seth Moniz (HAW) 13.60 def. Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 11.24
QF 4: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 13.36 def. Thiago Camarao (BRA) 12.20
WORLD SURF LEAGUE QUALIFYING SERIES RANKINGS (After Ballito Pro pres, by Billabong)
1 Peterson Crisanto BRA 13720
2 Seth Moniz HAW 12950
3 Mikey Wright, AUS 12205
4 Alejo Muniz BRA 10980
5 Jack Freestone AUS 9720
South Africans: (Top 50)
17 Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay 7300
36 Beyrick De Vries (uMhlanga) 5380
44 Adin Masencamp (Strand) 4750
The Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong is proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, Billabong, Capitec Bank, Casio G-Shock, Ballito Junction Regional Mall, Coco Der Mer, 5FM, SMG Rocks, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).