For the fifth consecutive year the Mr Price Pro, South Africa's largest professional surfing competition, will anchor the Vodacom Beach Africa festival on North Beach, Durban from July 2 to 11.

The multi-million rand action-sports and music festival, sponsored by the Mr Price Group, attracts more than 300 world-class athletes from across the globe and features surfing, Freestyle Motocross (FMX) and a lineup of the country's best live bands with all events open to the public, free of charge.

Mr Price Pro comprises South Africa s highest-rated World Qualifying Series (WQS) surfing events for men and women with the six star rated men's event offering a R875 000 prize-purse that has attracted the likes of former six-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA), defending champion Neco Padaratz and more than 20 of his Brazilian compatriots, along with the top contenders from Australia, the USA, Europe, Asia and all of South Africa's best surfers to compete for the R100 000 winner's payout and the invaluable ratings points.

The four star rated Mr Price Pro women's event has R140 000 at stake and features most of the world's top 16 ranked competitors including the queen of South African surfing Heather Clark (Port Shepstone), a two-time bronze medallist and rated third in the world at the end of 2003, alongside defending champ Serena Brooke (Australia) and the South Americans Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) and Jacqueline Silva (Brazil), the winners in 2002 and 2001 respectively.

While the Mr Price Pro surfing event runs from Monday 5 to Sunday 11 July, the innovative and unique Mr Price Night Surfing, presented by Vodacom 4U, the world's only internationally rated surfing event to be staged under floodlights, launches the 10-day surf, action-sports and music extravaganza from July 2 to 4.

This year the night surfing events are One Star rated WQS tournaments for both men (R70 000) and women (R35 000) and will attract a large contingent of international surfers keen to hone their skills in Durban's waves and participate in the unique atmosphere that provides spectator-friendly viewing in the securely shark-netted, stadium-like dome of light provided by the powerful shore based lighting.

The Red Yamaha Freestyle Motocross (FMX) team will again provide the ultimate in gravity defying manoeuvres when the team members hurtle down the beach and launch their powerful machines into the air to perform daredevil tricks as high as 10m above the sand before landing safely.

While hundreds of thousands of spectators enjoy the daytime activities, tens of thousands are expected to throng the sands of North Beach for the free live Mr Price Pro music concerts, presented by Vodacom 4U, on the nights of Friday 9 and Saturday 10 July. The Springbok Nude Girls, Prime Circle, The Finkelsteins, Marlowe, Waverley, one80, Spoonfeedas and DJ Reddy D have been confirmed for the all South African lineup.

"The Mr Price Pro is Durban's quintessential action sports and lifestyle festival with its roots firmly placed in Surf City," says Clynton Lund, marketing manager for Mr Price.

Set against the backdrop of the famed Golden Mile beaches of Durban, the city touted as South Africa's playground, the Mr Price Pro women's final (2pm Saturday July 10) and the men's final (2pm Sunday July 11) bring the entire festival to a climax and will be followed by an SABC TV package that takes the action into millions of living rooms nationwide.