It’s all about ‘going green for the big blue’ as the theme for the 2023 Ballito Pro Festival is announced

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“No matter how remote we feel we are from the oceans, every act each one of us takes in our everyday lives affects our planet’s water cycle and in return affects us.”  – Fabian Cousteau, Marine Explorer and Documentary Filmmaker

The globe’s longest-running surfing contest is returning to KwaDukuza and with it, 2023 Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival! Bringing the best in entertainment, retail, and beachside fun, this year’s festival programme from 27 June to 9 July will be centred on sustainability, inclusivity, and growth, with the theme announced as Konke KuLuhlaza – Zulu for Everything is Blue.

“This year’s Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival campaign is about forging impactful collaborations and using this global event to promote sustainable initiatives while celebrating our oceans and culture,” explained Collette Bundy, The Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival Organiser. “Taking inspiration from the local Zulu word ‘luhlaza’ which means blue, we’re celebrating the ocean, KwaDukuza’s ongoing Blue Flag Beach programme, and our sponsor, O’Neill’s Blue global product collection. It is fortuitous that ‘luhlaza’ also translates to ‘green’ because we’ll be weaving stories of sustainability into our ocean narrative with a great festival line-up planned for visitors.”

KwaDukuza’s Blue Flag Beach Programme

Ocean health is a priority for event hosts, KwaDukuza Municipality. They have adopted Coastal Development & Economic Tourism Strategies, including the KwaDukuza Coastal Management Plan, which ensures best practices, environmental education, sustainability, and beach safety through strategic plans for growth and economic sustainability.

“We recently launched our Blue Flag Beach programme which will support our iconic tourism status as a key beach destination,” explained KwaDukuza Municipal Mayor Lindile Nhaca. “This is an international standard in terms of best practices, environmental education, sustainability and beach safety. We are proud to be hosting the Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival at Willard Beach, one of three Blue Flag beaches in the area. Through the event, we will bring awareness about protecting our coastline’s environmental richness which is a key tourism asset and economic driver for the region.”

The Ballito Pro’s sustainability goals are also being achieved through public-private partnerships such as between KwaDukuza Municipality and the Ballito Urban Improvement Precinct (BUIP). In addition to existing BUIP programmes that support the safety and maintenance of public areas, BUIP continues to work towards growing its operational footprint during the Ballito Pro to include sustainable undertakings including water testing and coastal upgrades.

O’Neill Blue’s sustainable product collection

Event sponsor, O’Neill, has a longstanding commitment to the well-being of the ocean through founder, Jack O’Neill’s Sea Odyssey, and Ocean Mission programmes. The iconic surf lifestyle brand is growing its sustainability percentage through the O’Neill Blue global product collection.

“We are extremely proud to be partnering with KwaDukuza on the Ballito Pro again and are very excited about this year’s campaign,” commented Paul Canning, O’Neill Brand Director. “It’s about highlighting the importance of sustainability to minimise the impact on our planet and playgrounds through ocean initiatives, supply chains, and sustainable products. As Jack O’Neill said: ‘The ocean is alive and we’ve got to take care of it.’”

For the Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Challenger event, the event merchandise – O’Neill Blue – will be manufactured from recycled cotton and polyester, as well as using a recycling process called Repreve, where used plastic bottles from the oceans and landfills are converted into durable fibres to manufacture boardshorts. Throughout the festival, sustainable steps will be taken such as the removal of single-use plastics, recycled polybags, and recycled material hangtags.

NPO support and activations

O’Neill also supports global NPOs who align with the O’Neill Blue Ocean Mission including The Surfrider Foundation, Mauli Ola Foundation, Ocean Works, and Surfers Not Street Children.

There will also be a number of eco-focused campaigns and activations happening throughout, such as the Litter4Tokens awareness campaign and activation, with prizes worth R10 000 up for grabs! The Litterboom Project is also hosting awareness campaigns, beach and river clean-ups, and a 5km Fun Run, with the We are iLembe e-waste campaign dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of electronic waste.

2023 Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival

This year’s festival programme will adopt the Konke KuLuhlaza theme throughout the action-packed and fun-filled lineup. Visitors to this year’s top surfing event can look forward to great festival activities and entertainment, including:

·     Music concerts

·     Retail offerings

·     Battle of the DJs and dance competitions

·     Extreme sports programme

·     Daily beach sports and recreational activities

·     O’Neill Blue Capsule initiative and Women of the Wave activation

·     Bra Golf Day fundraiser

·     Parasurf Expression Session

·     After Dark Programmes

·     Environmental awareness programmes and events

·     Coastal and Cultural Tourism Experience

Don’t miss any of the action at the 2023 Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival and be part of the change.  #konkekuluhlaza #everythingisblue