Brazilian goofy-footer Deivid Silva has claimed the first QS10,000 of 2019.

Currently ranked 18th in his rookie year on tour, Silva was one of many CT surfers sitting outside the top 10 who came to Ballito chasing back-up points—and it paid off handsomely. He beat fellow Dream Tour campaigner Jack Freestone in the final, with Freestone finishing runner-up at the Ballito Pro for the second year running.

Conditions were up and down throughout the event window, with glassy beachbreak conditions often giving way to a howling onshore that quickly turned the lineup to mush.

Finals day was no different, and by the time Silva and Freestone met in the decider, the bumped-up righthanders coming through required a pretty refined level of flow to link together anything meaningful. Silva was arguably at an advantage here, employing a straight up and down backhand approach that, while not always pretty, was netting him big scores with the judges. He opened with an 8.33 for two sharp belts and backed it up with a 9.30 on the biggest wave of the final. Freestone, on the other hand, drew on his polished new-school approach but struggled to make anything stick. He ended up in a combo situation he couldn’t wrangle his way out of.

It must be said, as a subjective aside, that the backhand reo remains the most over-scored maneuver in all of surfing. As beautiful as a series of cleanly-executed backside belts look, all too often the ones getting thrown big numbers aren’t all that beautiful or even cleanly-executed.

Nevertheless, Silva was nothing if not consistent throughout the event, and he now sits fourth on the QS rankings, in a great position to requalify should his top-tier campaign falter.

Reunion surfer Jorgann Couzinet was the best-placed QS campaigner, finishing equal third with Aussie powerhouse Wade Carmichael and moving up to second on the QS rankings, which has also earned him a an injury replacement wildcard into J-Bay. Take a look and see if his surfing is to your liking, there’s every chance you’ll be watching him on tour in 2020.

Matt Banting remains the highest-ranked Aussie on the QS, sitting in third after another consistent result. Jordy Lawler also had a decent finish and sits inside the QS top 10 at number nine, while Jack Robinson slipped to 13th after a poor result and fellow hopefuls Connor O’Leary and Reef Heazlewood also slipped.

The next major event on the QS calendar is everyone’s favourite grovel-fest—the QS10,000 US Open at Huntington.