Ballito Pro boosts economy

The 2017 Ballito Pro, presented by Billabong has come and gone, leaving us all a little more tanned and looking forward to next year’s event, reports the North Coast Courier.

An estimated 160 000 people came out to enjoy the Pro over the fortnight eager to watch the 112 men, 48 women and 80 juniors from 20 countries , surf for World Surf League qualifying points and major bragging rights.

“KwaDukuza once again proved itself as the ideal venue,” said event organiser Collette Bundy.

“The weather was exquisite, the people warm and welcoming and the vibe was just fantastic throughout. It is always sad to bring the event to a close but we are looking forward to another phenomenal festival next year as we celebrate the 50th edition of the Ballito Pro.”

Some of the world’s best surfers came and conquered, but in the end it was former Durbanite Jordy Smith who claimed his second Ballito Pro title ahead of Brazilian Willian Cardoso.

Smith beat out crowd favourite Michael February (Cape Town) in the semis to advance to the final and there he dominated throughout.

Beyrick DeVries (Umhlanga) showing his fans some love after his heat at the 2017 Ballito Pro presented by Bilabong. Photo: Ryan Janssens/ The Ballito Pro.

“Secretly I was a little bummed for Mikey. I would have liked to be in the finals with him but that is just the way our sport goes,” said Smith.

KwaDukuza Mayor Ricardo Mthembu extended his congratulations to Smith on winning the 2017 Billabong Ballito Pro in an effervescent final.

“We congratulate Jordy for his remarkable achievement which has demonstrated the rich talent that exists within our country’s surfing fraternity, especially among our youth. Jordy’s achievement augurs well for the development of our country’s sports and recreation,” said the Mayor.

In the senior women’s category Australia’s Sophia Fulton was crowned champ after beating out Zoe McDougall in patchy conditions while Brazil’s Samuel Pupo and Hawaii’s McDougall won the junior series.

Economy boost

Christine Grobler of Ballito Accommodation told The Courier that they see a definite upward trend in bookings during the Pro.

“Naturally, all the surfers and event coordinators need a place to stay during the contest but this is also holiday time, so the Pro is an added attraction to draw holidaymakers and for visitors to take advantage of.”

Restaurants and bars throughout Ballito and Salt Rock were doing booming business with holidaymakers flocking to enjoy a bite to eat or a cold beverage after leaving the beach.

Fun, sun and beach bodies is what the Ballito Pro is all about. A picture worth a thousand words – Ballito’s Grant Visagie won this handcrafted one-of-a-kind Hutchinson surfboard with this “selfie”.

Mo-Zam-Bik’s Brett Michielin said the Pro more than doubles their clientele.

“Of course, we are situated in the right spot to take advantage of it.”

Michielin said that during the week they saw even more customers than last year’s Pro, but due to the final being moved from Sunday to Saturday things did quiet down a little over the weekend.

Caxton News Service

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