Eights or Lates
Oh man, SA juniors is one of our favourite events on the SSA calendar. The best juniors South Africa has to offer, in the mecca of surfing in the country, all frothing out and dropping hammers. We arrived at Lower Point on Day 4 of competition right in time for the quarterfinals. The sun was blazing down, waves were 3-4ft, bumpy but absolutely rippable and the vibes were hot.
Here’s a rundown of the best rides on Day 4; we’re talking eights or higher.
That’s just a little over the top.”
Chloe’s Straight Eight
We’ve never written about Chloe Ribbink before. And what a pleasure it is to write about someone new. Chloe’s been on the scene for quite some time and her surfing’s come a long way. Today she looked hungry. Frothing to prove her mettle.
On her eight point ride she sprinted into position; kicking and scratching. She opened up with a big, grinding layback jam of a carve, peppered the wave with a couple more filler carves and then absolutely obliterated the end section. The judges, blown away by the commitment and power, dropped a straight eight.
Isn’t it wonderful to see a hungry competitor? Focused on the task at hand. There’s a difference between trying not to lose and trying to win. Trying to win allows you to surf to your full potential. It’s a forward-looking perspective as opposed to trying not to lose, which keeps you worrying about what your competitor’s doing. Today we saw a Chloe that wants to walk away with the title.
Dan Emslie’s Duo of Eights
To get a blue collar perspective of what transpired on the opening days of SA Juniors, we went around the contest site posing the question to all: Who’s been a standout during the event thus far? Dan Emslie’s name was fresh on the lips of all. Dan Emslie’s been blowing up ever since we can remember – and this SA Champs, hearing his name thrown around was no surprise.
When heat 1 of the U18 Boys rolled round, Dan Emslie backed up those murmurings with a superb performance. In a heat stacked with big names hustling for position, Emslie broke from the group and proceeded to take the bull by the horns. He was like the protagonist in an action movie: Dan came to save the day. On his opening ride, Dan Emslie laid down the most precise carves we’d witnessed all day. One surgical slicing carve after the next, peppered with risky, man-sized layback gouges. It was like watching an action movie with bombs blowing up and a car chase and karate fight-offs and then Dan the protagonist saying, “I’ll be back in the semifinals!”
Louise Lepront – The Expression Session
Let us just quickly run you through Loulou Lepront’s 10 point ride. Big opening hook in the pocket, followed by a massive roundhouse cutback, complimented by a layback jam off the foam, a lengthy bottom turn into a fin-ditch off-the-lip and then she sealed the deal with one big pocket crank. Sometimes (or should we say mostly) when you watch competitive surfing you see surfers applying a formula to waves surfed. Give the same wave to a hundred surfers competitors, 95 of them would probably do something very similar. But occasionally, you come across a surfer that transcends the formula. Numbers and scores, that stuff plays second fiddle to the expression of the art of wave riding. Think Steph Gilmore, John John Florence, Dane Reynolds etc. Loulou Lepront’s 10 point ride was a lesson in self expression. A work of art.
Ben Ahead of the Game
Some people are simply ahead of the curve. Think about when Apple brought out the iPhone. We were all fiddling away on Blackberrys, painfully trying to aim at the right key when typing a message and taking photos where all you see is pixels. Then iPhone came along and revolutionised the industry. Suddenly, we had touch screens (say goodbye to the stylus), we got cameras where you could see people’s actual face and we got a user friendly operating system. It was ahead of its time. That’s what Ben Esterhuyse’s surfing is like in the U12 boys. It’s ahead of of it’s time. Its refinement beyond his years. Sure, the other boys will one day get there, but for now, Ben rules the roost.
In his quarterfinal heat, Ben dropped an eight and a nine to combo the rest of the boys and place his name firmly in the semis.
Keep an eye out for Finals Day Recap and Gallery tomorrow…
Written by – Cyle Myers
Images by – Mike Ruthnum