There’s no denying that junior surfing in this country is on the rise. We mentioned it in an article last week, and we witnessed it this past weekend at the Point for the RVCA Junior Series in J-Bay.
With a record amount of entries into a local junior event, 158 frothing groms in total, and having to turn dozens more away at the door because the schedule filled up so quickly, RVCA South Africa’s first foray into sponsoring local junior surfing was a big deal.
You can’t go wrong with J-Bay as the venue for your competition, and the waves for the event looked exactly like this for the duration of the contest – albeit with differing levels of sunshine and greyness as J-Bay went through it’s usual four seasons in a day:
It wasn’t big, but when you’re one of the best groms in the country and naturally light on your feet, there was plenty of opportunity to blow up and show the judges what you’ve got – which Under 14 champ Rewaldo Abersalie did with maturity and style.
Rewaldo’s win was one of the highlights of the contest and got the biggest cheer at the prizegiving. The local grom from the nearby township of Pelsrus dominated on his backhand and took down the pre-event favourite – Mexican supergrom Sebastian Williams – who despite being only 12 years old is rated among the top 20 Under 16 surfers worldwide in Surfer Magazine’s influential Top 100. It also goes to show that South Africa has the talent to beat the best, we’re just slightly sheltered from the prying eyes of international surf media, who might not know what’s going down in the townships and secluded enclaves of SA.
But that’s not to say the young Mexican wasn’t deserving of the pre-event hype given to him. Sebastian (son of former Durbanite Tim Williams) showed amazing style and pulled off one of the moves of the contest with this sick air reverse.
Following a double division win at last year’s Bloodscan event in similar conditions at the Point, there can be no denying that Mikey February is close to unbeatable when J-Bay is small. His semi-final performance was testament to this, when he stuck a number of smooth and tweaked airs, combining them with some stylish railwork to score an almost perfect heat score of 19.50pts out of a possible 20. Another fast and loose performance in the final made sure he took home the RVCA Junior Series Under 20 title despite a hard fought heat by local Dylan Lightfoot.
One of RVCA’s focuses as a brand is their artist network program (ANP), which showcases the talents of artists globally, and local J-Bay ANP artist Stephen Bibb was on hand to give the groms at the event a canvas to show their skills with the brush and spray paint (all the groms received a can of Plascon spraypaint in their gift packs). This below is what the groms conjured up as a collective effort – as well as painting the tyres of Stephen’s bakkie (which was parked nearby) a fruity turquoise.
The RVCA Junior Series featured a full schedule from the micro Under 10 groms all the way through to the Under 20 division. Durban grom James Ribbink (son of big wave surfer Jason Ribbink) took out his first ever surf contest with a win in the Under 10 boys division in what was double overhead surf for the tiny lighties. Fellow New Pier local Saxton Randall made it a Durban double by taking out the Under 12’s, while Anoush Zakarian from Melkbosstrand was the standout in the Under 16 Girls division.
In the premier Under 20 girls division, local girl Emma Smith showed a polished style groomed by the long lines of her homebreak and took out the title ahead of powerful Durban surfer Nicole Pallet, while Stellenbosch grom Steffen Burrows saw off the challenge of Mexican grom Sebastian Williams (surfing in his second final of the day) in the Under 16 division.
All in all, if you judged the success of an event by the smiles on the competitors faces, then the RVCA Junior Series J-Bay was one heck of an event and you can be sure the country’s future stars are going to be frothing to compete in the next one.
Check out the highlights from the final day of competition below:
Final results were as follows:
1. Michael February (Kommetjie) 12.85 (Tied – count back to best ride – 8.25 vs. 7.0)
2. Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) 12.85
3. David Brand (Kommetjie) 12.50
4. Slade Prestwich (Durban North) 9.75
1. Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) 13.25
2. Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) 11.25
3. Tahra Uren (Jeffreys Bay) 7.50
4. Nikita Kekana (Kalk Bay) 6.85
1. Steff Burrows (Stellenbosch) 12.0
2. Sebastian Williams (Mexico) 11.25
3. Adin Masencamp (Strand) 10.20
4. Ethan Fletcher (Kommetjie) 7.75
1. Anoush Zakarian (Melkbosstrand) 13.0
2. Ashleigh Vaughan (Port Elizabeth) 8.50
3. Kayla Verreynne (Mossel Bay) 6.25
4. Robin van der Merwe (Port Elizabeth) 5.60
1. Rewaldo Abersalie (Jeffreys Bay) 13.50
2. Adin Masencamp (Strand) 11.50
3. Sebastian Williams (Mexico) 7.50
4. Ford van Jaarsveldt (Kommetjie) 6.50
1. Saxton Randall (Durban) 14.10
2. Max Elkington (Hout Bay) 11.35
3. Karl Steen (Morningside) 10.65
4. York van Jaarsveldt (Kommetjie) 10.25
1. James Ribbink (Durban North) 10.50
2. Christian Venter (Melkbosstrand) 9.50
3. Alex Townsend (Cape Town) 5.65
4. Viviers Strydom (George) 2.60
Fly Away Award:
Michael February (Kommetjie)
On Fire Awards:
Ford van Jaarsveldt (Kommetjie)
Adin Masencamp (Strand)
David van Zyl (Glenashley)
Highest Heat Score:
Michael February (Kommetjie) – 19.50 out of 20 in U20 boys semi-final