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Australia-born Irish surfer Glenn Hall secured the biggest win of his career so far when he beat American Nathaniel Curran in the final of the ASP Prime Mr Price Pro Ballito at Willard Beach yesterday.
The final day of competition culminated with the best swell of the waiting period as solid 1.5m offshore conditions provided the idyllic arena for an action-packed day of world-class surfing.
Hall held his composure throughout the 35-minute final, opening with an excellent 8.33 points out of 10 and waiting until the final minute to regain his priority and earning more than the required score to snatch the title from Curran with his 6.67 back-up ride.
Hall won the heat by 15.00 to 13.67 (both out of 20.00).
“It’s the biggest win of my career by far,” said an ecstatic Hall. “I kinda felt like if you got the wave out there you could get the score and I was just praying for a wave at the end.”
“Nathaniel is an amazing surfer and I was pumped to have a final against him. It was always going to be a tough heat but I’ve learnt never to be content with second and to always push for more until you’ve won,” he said.
Hall’s victory adds to a stellar competition season after winning a 4 Star in China followed by a runner-up finish at the ASP Prime Lowers Pro at Trestles, California. His consistency has leapt him from 27th to 16th on the world rankings.
“It’s still a long road ahead and I’m just going to keep trying and see where I end up,” Hall explained. “I’m not doing J-Bay and I’m proud of my choice. I came here and put all eggs into one basket because if you are here to qualify it’s about the Primes. That’s my focus so I’m taking it to the next event in America.”
Curran was outstanding throughout the week, revealing the depth of his surfing repertoire with a combination of airs, barrels and carves but suffered a disappointing defeat in the final.
“It still feels great to get a result,” Curran said. “I’ve been struggling for a year and a half so I’m stoked to make the final. It was an awesome contest, I’ve been coming here since I was 18 and the waves are always insane. I love coming here and I can’t wait for next year.”
Taking down some big names, including South African hopeful Travis Logie in the quarter-finals, followed by ASP Word No 4 Adriano de Souza (Brazil) in the semi-finals, Curran’s runner-up finish sees him jump from 96th to 42nd on the world rankings.
De Souza showed exactly why he is the world No 4, posting convincing heat wins all week as well as the highest individual wave score of the event – 9.50 against Brian Toth (Puerto Rico) in the quarter-finals. De Souza finished equal third, falling just short of the mark against Curran in the semi-finals.
Jordy Smith and Logie placed equal fifth after the Durban pair were eliminated in the quarter-finals.