Ever checked out Ballito in South Africa? 

Neither have we, really. But our eyes were certainly on it all last week when the Ballito Pro, a World Surf League Challenger Series stop, was going down in some pretty prime conditions. The waves looked warm and epic, the backdrop lush, green and all those great things, and the sand had that golden, warm glow to it. In short, it was just a few particular open cold ones away from looking like your typical summer beach scene right here in California.

But why were we so fixated on a surf contest on the other side of the world? Because we’re always keen on watching some good waves, for one. But also because our own Kirra Pinkerton and Nolan Rapoza were throwing on jerseys and throwing some water around. So, you know we had our sight set on the webcast. 

We’ll save you time and not go into the intricacies of every heat. Besides, that’s what hours and hours of heat highlights already uploaded onto YouTube are for. Just know you need to grab your nearest 805 or Cerveza, give it a good shake, pop it open and rain down that spray because Nolan nabbed a second-place finish in the whole, dang thing.

Making it to the final of a contest is never an easy feat. And yet it was made even more impressive after you see who Nolan was stacked up against. Local South African legends, former WCT’ers, and even a recent top-four WSL finalist were all there. But it didn’t matter much to Nolan, who utilized his very dialled and specialized fore and backhand, air repertoire, and greater bag of tricks to cruise to the final.

Want to see just how much Nolan dominated his road to the final? You can check out the heat breakdown here, or get a feeling for it all by hitting play on any of the heat replays here.

If not already obvious by its Challenger Series status, Ballito is a pretty crucial stop on the WSL’s greater qualifying series. Not only do the waves consistently show up, but also it’s essentially the dress rehearsal for the US Open. Huntington looms right around the corner every year after South Africa. With only so much time left in the qualifying calendar by this point of the year, every wave, heat, and win matters.

Which is why we could not be more stoked for Nolan on his finish. Now entering the US Open with some serious momentum, we’re sure he’ll continue to dazzle once the south side of the Huntington Beach pier starts to light up. You can catch both him and Kirra there and on our socials once it all officially kicks off.

Until then, grab yourself a cold one from the fridge now that you’re back, Nolan. We can’t wait to properly celebrate with you and couldn’t be more stoked about your finish.