10 October, 2022 10 October, 2022

SA Champs Finals Day

Oh man, how we love SA Junior Champs. Yesterday, we mentioned how it’s one of our favourite events on the SSA calendar, today we reckon it’s simply one of our favourite surf events in South Africa full-stop. There’s passion and excitement oozing from all corners of the contest site. And unlike the WSL where you don’t really have too much of a vested interest, every person on the beach is invested in some way, shape or form. Anyway, enough of that, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Here’s a rundown of who took home top honours at the 2022 SA Junior Champs presented by SMITH Shapes.

U12 Girls | Leah Lepront

The U12 girls final began as a closely fought battle between the two standouts of the division; Leah Lepront & Camilla Heuer. Camilla laid down some gorgeous down carves and Leah, inspired by her sister, Louise whipped it like a gangster on the backhand. But as the heat wound down so Leah found her stride, edging her way ever further into the lead until she left Camilla needing a mid-range nine to dispose of her from the first place podium.

U12 Boys | Ben Esterhuyse

You know when you open up the Zigzag Magazine and read an expertly written piece by an astute writer; every thought flows beautifully into the next. Every paragraph naturally leads you to think about the next paragraph before it’s introduced. And the conclusion is like the puzzle piece that holds the whole thing together while relating to the introduction. Such is Ben’s surfing. Beyond its years. Beautifully orchestrated. 

On his 9.33 he caught the wave of the heat. A 2ft set that just kept on giving like a generous Santa clause. And Ben laid down a plethora of (very smooth) backhand cracks to emerge the victor.

U14 Girls | Louise Lepront

The U14 girls division is one of the most exciting divisions at SA Juniors. This is thanks to two girls who are raising the standard of surfing to new heights; Louise Lepront & Remi Fourie. If a World Championship Tour surfer emerges from this generation of surfers, we wouldn’t be surprised if it came from this crop of U14 girls.

The girls hustled hard for the first wave, so much so that when the set of the heat rolled through nobody was in position to capitalise. With over 13 minutes down and 7 minutes to go, a two-wave set appeared on the horizon with Remi and Louise in the driver’s seats. Louise on wave one – Remi on wave two. And they both went absolutely ballistic. Louise went straight into the lip on a beefy section and continued that approach all the way down the line. Remi, just behind her, followed suit. When the dust had settled, it was Louise who emerged victorious courtesy of a 9.5 and a 6.77. 

U14 Boys | Rory Dace

Rory Dace is a Point Break professional. In business, you get brand strategists that help you position your brand, so it speaks to the right people (or speaks to anybody at all). Rory Dace could be a point-break strategist. He could specialise in helping people position themselves to get the best waves and how to choose what manoeuvres suit each section. He could bill his clients on a pro-rata basis or take a fee based on wave profit. Rory positioned himself for the best wave of the heat and surfed the wave like a man wearing a business suit. It was professional and superbly executed. The judges awarded him an 8.67. He then backed it up with a 5.50 to take the U14 boys title.

U16 Girls | Maya Potgieter

As the water edged its way up the sand, moving closer to high tide – so the consistency of set waves grew slim and wave choice became increasingly pertinent. The U16 girls was a closely fought affair with all girls in shot of grasping the title – but it was Mayah Potgieter who edged her way ahead of pack courtesy of some strong top-to-bottom rail surfing.

U16 Boys | Joel Fowles

U16 boys division is highly competitive. They are unwilling to release the inside position. Ready for war. With resources scarce, wave choice became crucial and it turned the first exchange into a chess match. The first set rolled through and everyone was too deep. Everyone except Nate. Nate hung wide of the pack, allowing the big wigs to battle it out while he sat wide and enjoyed the first meaningful roll of the dice; 5.67. It was a decision that we thought would set the pace for the rest of the heat. But where Nate had been taking risks all week long – he played it safe in the finals and his competitors reeled him in. In particular, Joel Fowles. Joel, lying third came out of nowhere to drop a high eight-point ride. He found a wave that hugged the reef and rolled down the point at the perfect speed allowing him to go top-to-bottom with that classic knock-knee, goof-foot East London style. It was that single ride that remained the determining factor for him to emerge the victor.

U18 Girls | Adriel Wolmarans

Last year Adriel came within a moustache’s hair away from taking the U18 girls final off Zoe Steyn. She looked visibly upset with her result last year. Which was interesting because losing to Zoe Steyn is nothing to be ashamed about. But it did give us a glimpse into her goals and dreams. How hungry she is. This year Adriel came back with a vengeance. Her boards looked good and her backhand whip looked more refined. Her surfing is like Capitec Bank. It hasn’t been around forever like Standard Bank and Nedbank. It’s fun. Youthful. Reliable and trustworthy. (Capitec aren’t paying us, nor Adriel for this comparison, but they should!). We’re stoked on Adriel’s win. It’s a tangible result from years of hard work.

U18 Boys | Dan Emslie

If there’s one word that describes Dan Emslie’s surfing, it’s electrifying. Dan Emslie’s surfing is electrifying. It’s like being shocked with a tazer. It grips you and throws you to the ground. 

Last year Dan was the standout of the U18’s division and he was pipped in the final by Mitch Du Preez – this year he was the standout of the event and he wasn’t about to be pipped again. His surfing has something else. It has an extra spice. Like when you have Asian food in South Africa and then you go to Singapore and have Asian food there. It’s like suddenly you realise – this is actually what Asian food is meant to taste like. Your heart rate goes up and your taste buds come alive. That’s what watching Dan surf is like. It’s exhilarating. We hope Hurley gets him on the QS next year because lord knows he deserves it!

Written by – Cyle Myers

Images by – Mr Images J Bay

1 Comment

  1. SA Champs Finals Day - Daily Post Zone
    10 October, 2022 at 7:01 am · Reply

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