Kolohe Andino came through flawless barrels and a sea of broken boards to post the first perfect 10 at the ASP’s Pro Ballito in South Africa, while defending champion Jordy Smith also booked his place in the next round.
Conditions were ideal for the morning’s action as the first round of the ASP Prime competition got under way at Surfers Beach on the KwaZulu Natal coast with two to two-and-a-half metre (6-8ft) swell and a light offshore breeze combining to serve up some flawless barrels.
“These are some of the best waves I’ve surfed in my life,” said the Californian, who then set about demonstrating what he could do with them.
Sitting deeper and taking off later than his opponents, Andino opened up with an excellent 8.27 (out of 10) before dropping into an enormous ocean cavern, navigating through two wide sections, to come screaming out earning a perfect 10- ten point ride that had the crowd cheering in disbelief.
“That wave was amazing,” said the 17-year-old. “I wasn’t sure if I would make it out but I made that first section, pumped hard and made the second one. That wave was so good I was freaking out. I cannot believe I made it!”
'These are some of the best waves I’ve surfed in my life' – Kolohe Andino
Another American making the most of the conditions was Corey Lopez who showed off his backhand barrel riding skills on a throaty wind affected wave, dropping straight into a four second barrel to score the second perfect 10-point ride of the day.
“I was lucky to get that wave,” Lopez said. “It was big and gnarly, the first part was nice and open but then it got all foamy and I couldn’t see in front of me. I just closed my eyes, held my rail and came out!
“It’s such a beautiful place with a great little beach community and today was some of the best waves I’ve seen on tour all year,” Lopez added.
July 4 or not, the homegrown surfers made sure the Americans didn’t have it all their own way. Leading the way for the seven South Africans making the next round was defending champion Jordy Smith, even though the waves were rapidly deteriorating by the time he took to the waves.
“I knew conditions would change from the minute I arrived. Ballito seems to do that in the afternoon so I was just glad to make my heat,” Smith said. “I watched some incredible heats this morning, there was some inspiring surfing and it was good to see so many South Africans go through.”
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