• Mattheys, Joske and Meister qualify for Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay through VonZipper Wildcard Trials

JEFFREYS BAY, South Africa (Thursday, July 9, 2009) - South African Devyn Mattheys, Australian Heath Joske and Torrey Meister from Hawaii secured coveted wildcards into the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay today when they won their respective heats in the VonZipper Wildcard Trials.
After small and inconsistent one metre waves at Supertubes prompted organisers to postpone the start of the Billabong Pro until Friday morning, contest director Mike Parsons put the 12 contenders for the three wildcards on standby until 10.30am and then announced that the first of the heats would get underway at 11.
Mattheys, competing in his first wildcard trials event, waited patiently for the better shoulder high and wind affected waves which were zipping down the rock lined point. He was rewarded when his first ride netted 6.87 points out of a possible 10 and after adding a solid backup score of 5.0, the 25 year-old East Londoner held onto his lead as Wade Goodall (AUS), Keanu Asing (HAW) and local Jeffreys Bay standout Warren Dean struggled to cope with the conditions.
Joske also posted his best score, 7.67, the highest single ride of the day, on his first wave in Heat 2 and although Durban's Warwick Wright forced his way into contention with a 6.17 later in the heat, it was the Australian who emerged the ultimate victor over Wright, Granger Larsen (HAW) and local Dale Staples (St Francis Bay).
The third wildcard went to Meister in a low-scoring affair where he finished ahead of former VonZipper wildcard winners Shaun Payne and Damien Fahrenfort with Shaun Joubert in fourth.
Mattheys, Joske and Meister will now join the world's top 45 ranked surfers when conditions are favourable for the R2.7 million Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, Stop 5 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, to get underway.
In a glowing tribute to Billabong for implementing a raft of measures to reduce the impact of the 2009 event on climate change, the South Africa Parliament passed a resolution on Tuesday congratulating the organisers of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay on their efforts in making environmental conservation a top priority and for demonstrating that this can be achieved, even in sport.
A letter to this effect, signed by the Speaker of the National Assembly and accompanied by a copy of the resolution passed in the house, was received by Ernest Bendeman, GM of Billabong South Africa today.
The next call on when to resume the action at Supertubes will be made at 7am on Friday morning. With Parsons likely to put the Billabong Pro on hold for another day, there is a good chance that the inaugural South African version of the Occy Grom Comp will start at the Point in Jeffreys Bay.
Scheduled for 9-15 July and running only on days when the Billabong Pro is on hold, the event caters for Under 12, U14 and U16 divisions and is the second leg of the Billabong Junior Series which will crown its champions for the 13th successive year in September.
Named after the legendary 1999 ASP World Champion Mark Occhilupo (AUS) who is in Jeffreys Bay for the much heralded Clash of the Icons against long-time rival Tom Curren (USA), the U16 division of the Grom Comp will have an intriguing edge as the top South Africans take on ISA U16 World champion Keanu Asing (HAW).
Asing won his crown in Ecuador in April, defeating South African national team surfers Mikey February (8th overall), Dane Staples (St Francis Bay) and Slade Prestwich (Scottburgh) on his way to victory in left breaking waves. The repeat match-up in right-breaking waves at the Point gives the locals a chance to reverse that result, although Asing has had a spectacular year, winning a string of Hawaiian and USA based events from U16 to U20 level.
The U14 and U12 divisions should also produce plenty of fireworks as the country's best young rippers jostle for ratings points, prize-money and the prestige of having their trophies presented by Occhilupo, whose long association with Jeffreys Bay since winning the Billabong Country Feeling Surf Classic in 1984 has made him one of the South African surfing Mecca's favourite sons.
The Malibu Festival with interactive lifestyle workshops and featuring many of SA's top bands gets underway on Friday and runs until Sunday as the Eastern Cape seaside town goes into party mode.
The Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay will be webcast LIVE via www.billabongpro.com
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
VonZipper Wildcard Trials
Heat 1: Devyn Mattheys (East London) 11.67, Wade Goodall (AUS) 9.06, Keanu Asing (HAW) 7.0, Warren Dean (Jeffreys Bay) 5.40
Heat 2: Heath Joske (AUS) 12.34, Warwick Wright (Durban) 10.44, Granger Larson (HAW) 7.97, Dale Staples (St Francis Bay) 3.57
Heat 3: Torrey Meister (HAW) 10.0, Shaun Payne (St Francis Bay) 7.94, Damien Fahrenfort (Kommetjie) 7.70, Shaun Joubert (Mossel Bay) 4.37
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Tim Boal (FRA), Michael Picon (FRA)
Heat 2: Tom Whitaker (AUS), Jay Thompson (AUS), Nathaniel Curran (USA)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Phillip MacDonald (AUS)
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Dean Morrison (AUS), Marlon Lipke (DEU)
Heat 6: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Chris Ward (USA), TBA
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Dustin Barca (HAW), TBA
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), TBA
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA), TBA
Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA), Dayyan Neve (AUS), TBA
Heat 11: Damien Hobgood (USA), Heitor Alves (BRA), Greg Emslie (ZAF)
Heat 12: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Chris Davidson (AUS), David Weare (ZAF)
Heat 13: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Aritz Aranburu (EUK), Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 14: Taylor Knox (USA), Jihad Khodr (BRA), Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 15: Mick Campbell (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Ben Dunn (AUS)
Heat 16: Kieren Perrow (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA), Drew Courtney (AUS)
Event organizers will meet tomorrow morning at 7am to assess conditions for a possible 7:30am start.
The conditions and status of the event can be obtained from the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay Hotline on 086 000 2009. Updated at 8am and 1pm daily during the waiting period.
Issued on behalf of:
Billabong South Africa
Contact:                       Peter Nicholson
Telephone:               +27 (0) 42 200 2600
Email:                             peter.nicholson@billabong.co.za              
Compiled and issued by:
Life's a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
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