BRAZILIAN Peterson Crisanto won the historic 50th edition of the Ballito Pro in front of a beach jam-packed with vocal spectators on Saturday, defeating powerful Australian, Jack Freestone.
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 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. 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,” said Crisanto.
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 (Hawaii) in the semifinals and fellow Brazilian Thiago Camarao in the quarterfinals on the final day.
The top local performer in the competition 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.
Full results are available at www.worldsurfleague.com.