Lower Point, Jeffreys Bay
October 4-8, 2017
Young Guns Charge Jeffreys Bay Point on Opening Day of Billabong SA Junior Champs pres. by BOS
Competitors from all over the South African coastline were greeted with small and blustery surf which did little to deter their high spirits on the opening day of the 2017 Billabong SA Junior Champs presented by BOS at Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay today, especially with an excellent forecast on the horizon.
The country’s top junior surfers charged the long, peeling waves and despite the inconsistent conditions they posted numerous rides in the excellent range (over 8 out of 10). The priority system being used at the event gave them a fair chance of progressing to the later rounds by eliminating the hustling to catch waves while the opening round is non-elimination so every competitor receives a second opportunity to shine.
The change in format to U12, U14, U16 and U18 age categories from the U13, U15 and U17 divisions used in the past has resulted in new rivalries being formed and new champions crowned.
As the various District teams staked their territory on the beach, the U14 boys division kicked off proceedings with Kye Macgregor (Nelson Mandela Bay) announcing himself as a threat by earning a heat total of 15.33 (out of 20) in the first heat of the event. Daniel Emslie (Buffalo City) put himself on the map when he delivered a 9-point ride and Nate Spalding (eThekweni) was another to rack up a heat total above 15 points.
Zoe Steyn clearly took notes from her teammate Daniel Emslie, as she also posted an impressive 9 point ride with her flowing backhand attack in the U14 girls. Kayla Nogueira (eThekweni), who has just returned from competing in the ISA World Junior Champs in Japan, also advanced directly to Round 3 and will no doubt be fighting to claim another SA title. And Ceara Knight (Cape Winelands) has shown massive improvement and will be hot on her heels.
The U16 boys division produced some explosive surfing despite the SA team members being jetlagged after returning from Japan just yesterday. Angelo Faulkner (Nelson Mandela Bay) displayed his local knowledge with a heat win in testing conditions brought on by the high tide. Teammates Ryan Lightfoot and Dellin Hendricks showed that they were right at home by clinching heat wins while Eli Beukes (Cape Town Surfriders) looked powerful and smooth in the small surf.
The U12 boys hit the surf to finish off the day and made the waves look bigger but is was just the competitors getting smaller as they surfed well beyond their years. Kyra Bennie (Cape Winelands) caught the attention of the judges and spectators after a near perfect ride earned a 9.6 and Ethan Currin (Buffalo City) and Joel Dace (Nelson Mandela Bay) were also top performers.
Tomorrow sees the start of premier U18 boys and girls divisions in what are predicted to be excellent conditions with a rising swell and light winds.
Alongside the coveted Freedom Cup and individual titles at stake, there are a number of specialty awards up for grabs including the BOS Highest Heat Score, VonZipper Airshow and the Wazoogles Surfer of the Event for Boys and Girls. The teams have also been making even more noise than usual supporting their teammates as they look to take home the prized Spirit Cup.
As part of Surfing South Africa’s commitment to transformation, the South African Development Academy team is participating thanks to support from Sea Harvest and a grant from Sport and Recreation South Africa.
All the action from the Billabong SA Junior Champs presented by BOS can be followed via:
Surfing South Africa (SSA) is the recognised governing body for surfing in South Africa. SSA is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA)