28 April, 2014 28 April, 2014

Champs Crowned in Mossels – Bong JNR Series (Event 1)

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The final day of Event 1 of this year’s Billabong Junior Series began with me carefully stepping my way across the surfboard-strewn deck of our beachfront surf shack to squint out at the salmon glow hidden behind the horizon. While I grabbed my first glimpse of the waves for the finals, I couldn’t shrug the thought that this entire event had been scripted by Michael Bay, as 4 to 5-foot tubes transformed down the point at Outer Pool with an army of wave assassins gathering on the rocks at the paddle-out zone. It was clear that we were in for an epic day of competition.

The Under 12 Boys Final may have been dealt the roughest deal of the day as triple overhead waves, by micro-grom standards, were giving them the rinsing of their lives. An adrenaline-filled Tide Lee Ireland was the standout of the heat and obliterated his second wave with a Mossel Bay Mcflurry of tasty in-the-pocket snaps that netted him a 7.5, which left Kye MacGregor, York Van Jaarsveld and Christian Venter playing ketchup for the rest of the heat.

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Tide-Lee Ireland showed determination and style in solid conditions to take the Under 12 title.

The Under 14 Girls Final were up next. As Sophie Bell, Gabi Lailvaux, Nina Harmse and Olivia Izzard paddled out for their heat, former WQS competitor and all-around awesome chick, Tasha Mentasti, had taken over the commentary and the girls were amped. Solid overhead waves poured down the point at Outer Pool, which made it tough for the competitors to initially stay in position. However, Sophie Bell took control of the heat after her second wave and smashed a combination of cutbacks and an awe-inspiring closeout turn to score a 7.5 and grab the victory.

The Under 14 Boys followed next with Max Elkington, Koby Oberholzer, Julian Zens and Karl Steen frothing harder than rabid surf rats to shred the waves that they were forced to watch all morning. An in-form Max Elkington opened up the final with a torrent of roundhouse cutbacks and a critical closeout turn over the jagged rock shelf. Recent Zag cover boy, Koby Oberholzer, sat patiently waiting for the right set wave, but Max Elkington confirmed his dominance of the U14 division on the next set. The Hout Bay local smashed three critical vert turns on a ruler-edged Outer Pool wall. Koby Oberholzer did stylishly answer back with two immense layback turns, but it was too late as Max had already stamped his mark on the division.

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Max Elkington was ripping on his backhand at Outer Pool.

A welcomed addition to the Billabong Junior Series was the Brain Blast Off VonZipper Air Show, which showcased eleven of the countries top junior surfers battling it out for R2,500 worth of VZ gear. The hotbed of shred included Jarred Veldhuis (Kom), Josh Smit (Toti), Diran Zakarian (Melkbos), Mikey Venter (Warner Beach), Ntando Nsibi (Durban), Matt McGillivrey (J-Bay), Dylan Lightfoot (J-Bay), Michael Monk (East London), Richard Kidd (Ballito), Sebastian Williams (Mexico) and Shane Sykes (Salt Rock).

Josh Smit started off the show by boosting a huge superman, but went down hard. Almost immediately, Ntando Msibi stomped an impressive backhand air reverse. Aqua pilot, Jarryd Veldhuis, proceeded to boost a heroic superman and an air reverse on the following wave to show his intent. Josh Smit wasn’t finished and went balls-to-the-wall on an air attempt and managed to twist his ankle. If Diran Zakarian, whom apparently the ladies had dubbed Clark Kent, wasn’t set on becoming a pro surfer, we are sure that he would’ve become an astronaut, because he took the win with a gigantic backhand full rotation air reverse.

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Above or on the lip, Diran Zakarian was in top form on the final day.

With the onshore having picked up by the time the Under 16 Girls Final paddled out, Pippa Jones, Ruth Armstrong, Michelle Verreynne and Danica Stockigt struggled to get connecting waves as the 4 to 5-foot swell became disjointed. They managed only a handful of low scoring rides, of which Michelle Verreynne found the best to take the title.

Despite the deteriorating conditions, the crowd peaked for the Under 16 Boys Final contested by Alex Van Rijswijck, Jordy Maree, Bevan Willis and Jake Elkington. Alex Van Rijswijck started off the final strong with a mammoth layback hack that was followed up immediately with another solid scoring wave. An exceptional exchange between Jake Elkington and Jordy Maree came next, as both shredded their sleds to their full potential in the bumpy conditions. SA Junior team member, Jordy Maree, seemed un-phased and snatched the lead with three calculated critical turns on a solid set wave. Towards the end of the heat Bevin Willis was left playing catch-up and answered back with two of the most impeccable turns that we had seen the entire event.

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Jordy Maree was unstoppable in the Under 16 Boys Final.

The Under 18 Girls Final saw Chanelle Botha claim a convincing win to grab her fifth consecutive Billabong Junior Series victory. The SA Junior Team member defeated Jade Story, Anoush Zakarian and Britney Linder in the testing conditions.

The onshore had backed-off slightly and the waves continued to pump as Richard Kidd, Jerry Van Wyk, Matt McGillivray and Benji Brand hit the water for the Under 18 Boys Final. Matt McGillivray started off the final with a bang and cracked a huge closeout turn that earned him a 6.5, which was followed by Benji Brand milking a smaller insider down the point for a 5.0 ride. Richard Kidd and Jerry Van Wyk struggled with wave selection and with only five minutes left on the clock, Matt McGillivray continued to shine as he stomped a gigantic double grab air to take the win.

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Matt McGillivray’s high-flying antics grabbed him victory in the Under 18 Boys division.

The penultimate heat of the day was the ASP Pro Junior Womens Final. Chanelle Botha was once again featuring, and was up-against Emma Smith, Jade Mets and Crystal Hulett. The ocean had woken up again by this stage and 5-foot sets were pummelling the point. Emma Smith caught the best wave of the final and started the ride with a huge snap and then several severe cutbacks. With only five minutes to go, Jade Mets and Crystal Hulett were struggling to find waves, while Chanelle Botha opted to paddle in and change boards. Unfortunately despite a lung-busting run back up the point, the South Coast local failed to make it back out in time for another wave, which left Emma Smith victorious.

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J-Bay local, Emma Smith, carved her way to a good win in the Pro Junior Womens division.

The last heat of the day was the ASP Pro Junior Mens Final, which saw Diran Zakarian up against Dylan Lightfoot. Diran started off the two-man heat with three cracks, but fell on the heavy closeout turn to score a 4.0. Dylan Lightfoot then answered back with the wave of the final, on which he smashed a monumental cutback, several snaps and a solid closeout turn to earn him a 6.5. On his next wave, Diran went for broke on a huge air reverse but fell on the landing. The ocean then proceeded to come alive and Diran took off halfway down the point and fitted in two solid turns. This left Dylan out the back with priority. With only four minutes to go it was the J-Bay local’s heat to lose as he took off on a smaller set wave. He held his composure and smashed two critical turns to claim the heat win, while Diran sat with priority out the back with no contestable waves coming through as the buzzer rang.

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Showing his WQS experience, Dylan Lightfoot was the man to beat in the Pro Junior division.

The day was rounded-up by a classic Coaches vs Judges Surf-Off, giving them the chance to show that they aren’t all talk and no action. By this time in the day the sea breeze had turned into a blustery onshore, but Grant Beck threw down some huge backhand turns representing the judges. It was local knowledge that sealed the deal for Llewellyn Whittaker though, as he claimed victory for the surf coaches with his extremely vertical approach to the Outer Pool wall.

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The Coaches vs Judges Surf-Off competitors line up for their heat.

Overall it was a fantastic event and such a pleasure to watch the country’s best juniors shred Outer Pool apart. The next stop on the Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS is the Cape Town leg in August and if it is anything like this one, it promises to be an event not to be missed.

FINAL RESULTS:

Winners
All the division champs, stoked!

U12 BOYS
1.Tide-Lee Ireland (DBN)
2. York Van Jaarsveld (CT)
3. Christian Venter (CT)
4. Kye MacGregor (Port Alfred)

U14 GIRLS
1. Sophie Bell (DBN)
2. Gabrielle Lailvaux (DBN)
3. Nina Harmse (Mossel Bay)
4. Olivia Izzard (DBN)

U14 BOYS
1. Max Elkington (CT)
2. Koby Oberholzer (warner beach)
3. Julian Zens (CT)
4. Karl Steen (DBN)

U16 GIRLS
1. Michelle Verreynne (George)
2. Danica Stockigt (EL)
3. Ruth Armstrong (CT)
4. Pippa Jones (Muizenberg)

U16 BOYS
1. Jordan Maree (Kalk Bay)
2. Alex Van Rijswijck (PE)
3. Jake Elkington (CT)
4. Bevan Willis (DBN)

U18 GIRLS
1. Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach)
2. Jade Story (DBN)
3. Britney Linder (PE)
4. Anoush Zakarian (CT)

U18 BOYS
1. Matt McGillivray (JBay)
2. Benji Brand (CT)
3. Richard Kidd (DBN)
4. Jerry Van Wyk (JBay)

ASP PRO JUNIOR WOMENS
1. Emma Smith (JBay)
2. Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach)
3. Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay)
4. Jade Mets (DBN)

ASP PRO JUNIOR MENS
1. Dylan Lightfoot (JBay)
2. Diran Zakarian (CT)

SPECIALITY AWARDS:
Dakine Wave Of The Day award went to Dylan Lightfoot for some of the most critical in the pocket fins-free snaps ever seen in the Semi Finals of the Pro Junior event in Mossel Bay.
KR Fins Free award went to Bevin Willis for a death defying closeout turn.
Nixon WTA award for the highest heat score of the day went to Dylan Lightfoot for racking up a total of 16.50 for a 8 and 8.5 in the Pro Junior Semi Finals.
BOS Surfer of the Event award went to Matt McGillivray
Dennis Ellis Underground Ripper Award – Greg Cuthbert, Danica Stockit.

Here are the highlights from an incredible final day in Mossel Bay:

For more photos and highlights check out Billabong South Africa’s Facebook page, or you can read the official press release for the final day below.

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PHENOMENAL FINAL DAY AT BILLABONG JUNIOR SERIES PRESENTED BY BOS EVENT #1 Mossel Bay

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Max Elkington from Hout Bay won the U16 Boys Final at the Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS event #1 at Mossel Bay.

Mossel Bay – a solid rise in swell and subsequent good conditions prevailed throughout the final day of the Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS event #1 at Outer Pool. A slight northerly wind gave way to light onshore conditions, and the fresh, consistent four-to-five foot swell meant that all the remaining contestants had ample oportunity to pick up good waves in their respective heats.

Early morning stand-out was Bevan Willis from Umdloti who surfed to the judges liking, performing a series of critical and powerful turns on the biggest set waves of his heat to win comfortably. Willis has a strong style of surfing and kept the spectators and commentator excited at his gung-ho yet successful approach to big moves.

As the Mossel Bay sun beat down and the crowds continued to grow, so the business end of the competition ensued. The Judges Vs Coaches tag-team tussle was a fun heat that saw local surfer and coach Llewellyn Whittaker utilise his local knowledge and score highest points, allowing the Coaches to sneak the win.

In the VonZipper Brainblast-Off Airshow it was air specialist Diran Zakarian who took to the skies and performed a couple of wild aerial turns, eventually nailing a big backhand air reverse to secure the win.

The U12 Boys took to the water for their final, and the biggest waves of the day decided to arrive. Giant sets poured through, catching the young surfers a few times, but they soldiered on. The jetski safety crew were on standby, but none of the young surfers called for assistance and the heat ran without a problem. It was young Tide-Lee Ireland who caught the biggest waves and impressed all for the win. York Van Jaarsveld (CT) was in second, and Christian Venter came third.

For the U14 Girls Final, the waves slowed down a touch, but there were still some solid sets pouring through as the onshore breeze started showing up. Young Sophie Bell (DBN) was on top form and took the win comfortably from Gabriella Lailvaux (DBN) and local Mossel Bay surfer Nina Harmse in third.

The U16 Boys final was a close affair, with all the surfers throwing caution to the wind in the chunky conditions. In the end it was Max Elkington (CT) who emerged victorious, with Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach) in second ahead of Julian Zens (CT) in third.

It was Michelle Verreyne (George) who stood out in the U16 Girls Final, showing her experience at Outer Pool, defeating Danica Stockigt (EL), with Ruth Armstrong in third.

Many people had touted Jeffreys Bay surfer Matt McGillivray to win the U18 Boys division from the event start two days ago, and he did not disappoint. Matt put on a polished display and finished off with a massive forehand air maneuver that was awarded a 7.6 point score out of a possible 10 for a single move. That score helped him into first place, ahead of Benji Brand (CT) and Richard Kidd from Durban. “I was just so stoked to land that thing,” said Matt of the high scoring air move. “It has been great having a contest here in Mossel Bay, and I felt good with my fitness and with my equipment.The local people have also been very nice and friendly and I have had a good time here.”

It was Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach) who dominated the U18 Girls throughout the final day, eventually sealing the deal with an emphatic win in the final heat. She beat Jade Story (DBN) into second and Britney Linder (PE) into third.

When the U20 ASP Pro Junior Women took to the water the waves were still pouring through. Highly rated Jeffreys Bay surfer Emma Smith got busy out there from the get-go with some high-scoring waves, and held onto her lead throughout the final. She beat Chanelle Botha into second, and Crystal Hulett from St Francis Bay into third.

By the time the premier U20 ASP Pro Junior Men took to the water, the conditions had become challenging, with the onshore wind ruffling the wave surfaces and making them difficult to ride. It was a man-on-man final beween Diran Zakarian and Dylan Lightfoot, with both surfers choosing different approaches to the conditions and the heat. Dylan chose to wait for the good looking waves, only catching three waves in the final, while Diran took off on many waves and went for big moves on every one, making a few and wiping out on a few as well. In the end it was Dylan’s approach that saw him walk away victorious with the coveted first win in the series.

“The waves were a lot harder than what they looked. There was a lot of chop on them, and the big ones were no good,” said Dylan. “I was looking for the middle waves, the ones that had more potential across the inside. I’m just so stoked with my first win of the year, and am looking forward to the upcoming contest season. This has been an amazing event, and the waves have been so much fun throughout.”

The Dennis Ellis Underground Ripper awards of a custom-made surfboard went to both Greg Cuthbert from Knysna, and Danica Stockigt from East London. Greg and Danica had been charging all weekend, and were recognised for their perseverance and high performance surfing in and around the contest arena.

The BOS Surfer Of The Contest went to a very stoked Matt McGillivray, who pulled off two of the biggest and most critical air moves of the entire event.

Dylan Lightfoot got the highest heat score of the event, and won the Nixon WTA Award of a Nixon Supertide watch for his efforts. His score was 16.5 out of a possible 20 points, and Dylan achieved it in the U20 ASP Pro Junior semi-final.

Check out Day 1 video highlights here>>
Or Day 2 video highlights here>>

Event hashtag #billabongjnr

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