The health of the ocean is a primary focus for organisers, competitors and visitors of The Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill which is why a number of conservation-focused projects have been announced for this year’s festival line-up. In KwaDukuza from 29 June to 10 July, festival-goers will be able to do their part for the ocean while also standing the chance to win big!
“Ocean conservation has always played a major role in the Ballito Pro and the need for collective action has never been more evident than now following the devastating KZN floods,” said Collette Bundy, The Ballito Pro Festival Organiser. “We have some fantastic non-profit organisations on board for this year’s festival programme. They’ll be engaging with visitors in person and on social media platforms, demonstrating the work being done and innovative ways that visitors can play their part.”
The National Nurdle Clean-up Competition, organised by Litter4Tokens, will be running throughout the festival. This innovative project shines a light on the danger of plastic nurdles – also known as mermaid’s tears – which are lentil-sized plastic pellets used to create plastic products. Unfortunately, billions of these microplastics being shipped end up in the ocean, which is hugely detrimental to marine ecosystems and humans.
To tackle this pollution, Clare Swithenbank-Bowman from Litter4Tokens developed the Mermaid Tear Catcher (MTC) from ocean-bound plastic. The MTC is a scooping device with holes specifically demarcated so the user can actually sieve the nurdles out of the dry sea or river sand. Visitors to the Ballito Pro can now help with this worthwhile cause – and stand a chance to win big prizes – by entering the competition.
Step 1: Get a Mermaid Tear Catcher at The Ballito Pro or www.litter4tokens.co.za.
Step 2: Start sieving the dry sand near rivers and seas, particularly by the high-water marks.
Step 3: Take a photo of the nurdle find and load it with the unique code on the MTC to www.litter4tokens.co.za.
Step 4: Drop the nurdles in the drums located at lifesaving points, The Ballito Pro and Ballito Surf Co.
Lending support to the competition is Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker, legendary South African big wave surfer and three-time WSL World Champion. He commented: “Nurdle pollution is a huge problem. Almost every beach I travel to around the world has these environmentally disastrous pieces of plastic on them. The work that Litter4Tokens is doing to try and help clean these things up is fantastic. Please help support them.”
Through the World Surf League’s (WSL), NPO partner, WSL PURE, a coalition of more than 90 NPOs have united to create ocean conservation awareness through the We Are One Ocean campaign, which is running at The Ballito Pro. Everyone is playing a part in protecting the world’s oceans and the We Are One Ocean campaign aims to bring these stories together and identify areas for collaboration. Visitors to this year’s Ballito Pro can get involved by sharing their sustainability story on social media using the tag @wsl and #WeAreOneOcean.
Breathe Conservation, a global NPO dedicated to solving the problem of plastic pollution by inspiring change, will also participate in The Ballito Pro’s festival programme through informative environmental awareness campaigns. The organisation was founded by Sarah Furguson, a renowned Channel swimmer, world record holder, and physiotherapist who is committed to promoting ocean health. On Sunday, 3 July, visitors can participate in Breathe Conservation’s Snorkel Day and Guided Walk – meeting at 7.15am at Willard Beach -to get insight and first-hand experience of the marine life, tides and more. Bookings are essential. To book or for more information, contact Elzanne on 073 821 0426.
The Ballito Pro 2022 Festival
Alongside the sustainable initiatives, this year’s Ballito Pro festival programme has a variety of entertainment, retail and music offerings. Some of the highlights include:
- The Ballito Pro Skate Jam presented by Volcom, Fallen & Groundswell Skate & Surf on 1 July from 4pm with a cash prize of R10 000!
- The Groundswell Surf & Skate relaunch on 3 July from 6pm at the Ballito Steps with prizes and giveaways.
- Daily beach action at Willard Beach from 9am to 5pm including sunrise yoga, beach sports, Jive with Jen and fashion shows.
- Retail delight at Willard Beach from 9am to 5pm featuring arts, crafts, a food court, cider garden, the Oakley Pop Up, Surfboard displays and Shaping Pop Ups.
- Kids’ Corner at Willard Beach from 9am to 5pm with water balls, sandcastle building and more.
- The Ballito Pro Free Music Concerts at Salmon Bay on 7 and 8 July featuing Q Twins, Daliwonga, Majozi, Desmond & The Tutus, Kyle Cassim, Freddy L, Black Lapels, Yo Grapes and more!
- After Dark programmes including DJs at The Concilla Tapas Lounge & Bar; The Good Vibes programme; The Ekasi Experience Battle of the DJs; and Ballito Village Vibes.
The festival programme runs alongside the world’s longest running professional surfing event which is welcoming the return of international surfing with the O’Neill SMTH Shapes Ballito Pro Junior, World Surf League (WSL) Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Trials and Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Challenger Series (CS) for men and women. Visitors can also check out the up-and-coming surfers during the O’Neill KZN High School League and the Sea Harvest SSA/Ilembe Development Tag Team contests taking place on Thursday, 30 June.
Watch The Challenger Series broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the free WSL app, and the WSL’s YouTube channel.