The USA’s Timmy Reyes claimed the biggest victory of his career at the Mr Price Pro Ballito north of Durban, South Africa on Sunday, defeating Australia’s Matt Wilkinson in six- to eight-foot surf in the final of the event.
A former World Championship Tour (WCT) campaigner turned big-wave free-surfer, Reyes opened his account with a 7.17 (out of a possible 10 points) for an early lead off his powerful performance on a reeling right-hander.
While Wilkinson answered back with an impressive 9.2 score, Reyes maintained his composure and, using a strategy he had dreamed about, he managed another big score of 8.27 to secure his victory over the Australian.
“This is definitely the biggest win I have ever had in my life,” an emotional Reyes said afterwards.
“I knew Matt would get a nine, and he did, but I had a dream a few days ago that I should just sit wide, be patient, and the wave would come to me. Almost every heat I had, the same thing happened and that’s what happened on my 8.25 in the final.”
Having returned to the water only two weeks ago after being out for 10 weeks with a shoulder injury, Reyes’s razor sharp performance saw him pocket $40 000 and 6 500 rankings points.
His victory also rocketed him from 131st on the Qualification Series (QS) rankings to a remarkable number five in the world, opening the door for a chance to re-qualify for the elite ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) in 2015.
“I’m just going to take it one contest at a time, and one heat at a time and see what happens,” Reyes said. “It’s been a special day for me. Ballito came alive and I’ve had amazing support from the locals and my friend Sid who gave me a home away from home this week.”
Wilkinson, currently ranked 33rd on the WCT, was a standout performer, netting some of the highest scoring waves of the competition including, a 9.90 in the semi- finals and a 9.2 in the final. However, he failed to find a second high scoring ride in the final and was forced to settle for a second place finish.
The eyes of the surfing world have now turned towards Jeffreys Bay, where the best surfers in the world have congregated to surf the JBay Open, a WCT event which forms part of the JBay WinterFest.