5 May, 2014 5 May, 2014

Winners are Grinners – RVCA Junior Challenge Final Day

Day three dawned chilly. In stark contrast to the unseasonal May heat of the previous day, with coastal fog and funky cloudscapes that had the video guys frothing over their time-lapses. The surfers weren’t quite so chuffed, huddled under beanies they stared at the lump-less horizon – the front arrived early, the swell didn’t.

It was small, but perfect lines still marched down the point for the final day.


This made the morning high tide heats very tricky, with lowish scores and heated paddle battles. Guys we’re losing with 0.5’s and the like. Koby Oberholzer advanced posting a 0.9 when he needed a 0.6…

As the tidy went out, the sun came out and clean crisp runners peeled down the reef for the business-end semifinals. The semi’s were stacked and in lesser events would have read as finals, with names like Steff Burrows and Mikey Venter being eliminated.

“The standard of surfing was astronomical,” commented RVCA South Africa’s Arno Lane. “I look at people like Sebastian Williams (who claimed the boys U14 title) who competes internationally. We always think that the international standard is so much higher than what we have here, but then you put him against our current guys and our guys are as good – if not better – than him, in certain areas. That’s great to see.”

Sophie Bell was a clear winner in the Under 14 Girls division.


KZN’s Sophie Bell shone in the U14 Girls division, laying down some impressive turns in the difficult conditions to out-surf her compatriots with ease and style. She looked like a clear winner from day one and claimed the final by comboing everyone else.

Underdog Bevan Willis was another of the big stories of the day, winning a close U16 Boys final in inspiring fashion. “I got the wide ones,” he said right after the heat. “Then tried to keep the inside – there was a lot of hustling up the point.”

In the Under 16 Boys, Bevan Willis was on fire to claim victory.

Undoubtedly the surfer of the event though, was young James Ribbink (he won the official award for it as well), who claimed both U10 and U12 divisions. “That little kid is going places,” understated Arno.

James highlighted the issue of surfing a division up, a topic that came up more than once over the weekend. “RVCA is about family involvement, so first of all giving them the opportunity to surf more than once makes them stoked. Also the parents have driven for hundreds of kilometres,” commented Arno. “Secondly there’s a challenging aspect of surfing against kids who are older and better than they are. The only way you’re going to improve your surfing is surfing with people who are better than you are.”

Young James Ribbink was crowned ‘Surfer of the Contest’.

And then one day when you grow up to be, like 17, you can become the talk of your town by taking out the U20 division, beating some big names in the process and claiming a spot in the JBU Super Trial. A bit like that guy Matt McGillivray.

“I knew all the other guys were so good,” Matt said as he walked up the beach, having positively dominated the likes of Prestwich, Lightfoot and Armstrong in the Pro Junior final. “So I was just going to go out there, have fun, do my best,” he said.

“In the beginning everyone was sitting very far up, so I tried to come a bit lower down the Point to get one or two to start off. Local knowledge definitely helped in these conditions!”

Winning a coveted slot in the JBU Super Trial, Matt Mcgillivray had plenty of reasons to smile.


It’s been said before, but Lower Point really is the ideal setting for a junior contest. “You have the beach, the grass…” said Arno. “It’s just a natural amphitheatre and to see all the parents stoked and hanging at the beach all day makes this event successful.”

RVCA’s Arno Lane was also spotted grinning after another successful event.

Check out all the results on RVCA South Africa’s Facebook page.
Or for more, follow @RVCA_SA on Twitter.

Official press release below.



Matt McGillivray surfed a great event at the RVCA Junior Challenge.

Jeffreys Bay – Matt McGillivray was victorious in a nail-biting finish in the RVCA Junior Challenge JBay, winning the premier U20 division as well as winning himself that coveted entry into the JBU Supertrial presented by RVCA to be held at Supertubes in JBay in June.

The final day of competition started off fairly slowly, with a chill in the air and with the high tide holding the sets off the Lower Point. Waves were inconsistent, with occasional pulses coming through. In one of the early heats of the day, on one of those pulses, James Ribbink (DBN) scraped into an absolute bomb and rode it all the way through to the inside, picking up a score of 7.5, winning the second U12 Boys semi and earning his spot into the final.

In the U20 Girls semi number two, a fierce paddle battle between Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach) and Gina Smith (JBay) coupled with a sudden flurry of waves saw Gina turn the heat around and go from fourth place to first place, before finally dropping into second place and advancing into the final along with Olivia Brand (Umdloti).

Before the finals hit the water it was time for the Nixon Weird Board event. Eight surfers were commissioned to each shape a ‘weird board,’ an unconventional board shape and design, for this fun event. Shapers who delivered boards were Thys Strydom, Dutchie, Eric Stedman, Simon Fish, Glen Row, David Stubbs, Anton Butler and Glen D’Arcy. Some serious fun ensued in the tiny but reeling Lower Point waves, with Richard Kidd and York Van Jaarsveldt both being declared heat winners, each taking home a Nixon Blaster Bluetooth Speaker as reward.

The invitees getting ready for the Nixon Weird Board heat.

In the U10 Boys final it was Christian Venter who came out firing, and picked up an early lead. James Ribbink was hot on his heels however, and soon overtook Christian. Once James had the lead, he didn’t let it go and remained the heat winner all the way through to the final siren. Viviers Strydom was in second, Christian Venter ended up in third and Alex Townsend was fourth.

Ribbink stayed in the water for the U12 Boys final, and played a patient game, sitting wide and waiting for the good set waves. His strategy paid off and he won this division as well, beating York Van Jaarsveldt, Tide-Lee Ireland and Sebastian Baurield into the minor positions.

“The waves were a little bit onshore out there, but it was really fun,” said Ribbink of the conditions. ” I wasn’t sure how I had done, but in the middle of the under twelve final I heard that I had won the under ten final and I was stoked. In the under twelve final I decided to sit wide. The waves were breaking really fast on the inside and then they were slowing down on the outside and that’s where you could get some good scores, so I went and sat there and got two good ones.”

Sophie Bell was the outstanding surfer of the U14 Girls final. She scored an 8.5 points out of a possible 10 points for her highest scoring ride, backed it up with a 5.75 for a clear victory, and left all the other surfers in the final needing a combination of waves to catch her. Finn Musson was second, Kirsty McGillivray third and Zoe Smith was fourth.

The only international surfer in the event, Sebastian Williams, surged into an early lead in the U14 Boys final, despite a strong push from Koby Oberholzer. Sebastian, who is a South African who grew up in Mexico, remained in the lead with some fast and light-footed surfing in the final, with Koby, Angelo Faulkner and Saxton Randall filling up the minor placings.

New kid on the block Bevan Willis surfed a powerful and explosive U16 final against some fierce competitors to take the win with relative ease. “I picked up a decent wave near the beginning of the heat, and then I hassled the guys a bit,” said Willis of his strategy. “That wave at the end was a really good one. I didn’t hear what the score was, but I knew that it was a decent score.”

His second score was a 6, and combined with his earlier score of 4.75 saw the Undloti surfer with a heat total of 10.75 out of a possible 20 points, with Jordy Maree in second. Jake Elkington was in third and Adin Masencamp in 4th.

The Smith family was well represented in the U20 Girls final, with Emma and Gina duking it out with Olivia Brand and Jade Mets. The Smith’s made it one-two, with Emma winning convincingly and with Gina in second. Jade Mets came in third and Olivia Brand in fourth.

Matt McGillivray threw caution to the wind in the U20 Final, laying it all on the line by going for some big aerial moves and pulling them off successfully. His first such move, a big forehand air reverse saw Matt score 6.75 and go firmly into the lead. Max Armstrong fought back hard but ended up in the runner-up spot, with Dylan Lightfoot in third and Slade Prestwich in fourth.

“In the beginning everyone was sitting very far up the point, so I tried to come a bit lower down the point to get one or two to start off,” said Matt of his strategy in the final. “Local knowledge definitely helps in these conditions.”

The Most Progressive Move Award of a Firewire Surfboard valued at R7,000 went to Adin Masencamp.

The Girl Surfer Of The Event Award of a Firewire Surfboard valued at R7,000 went to Sophie Bell.

The Male Surfer Of The Event Award of 2 airplane tickets from anywhere in South Africa to Jeffreys Bay, and 3 Nights stay in African Perfection Guesthouse, went to James Ribbink.

Video highlights from Day 1 can be watched via the links below.
Day 1 highlights here>>
Day 2 highlights here>>


U10 Boys Final
1. James Ribbink (DBN)
2. Viviers Strydom (PE)
3. Christian Venter (Melkbos)
4. Alex Townsend (Kom)

U12 Boys Final
1. James Ribbink (DBN)
2. York Van Jaarsveldt (Kom)
3. Tide-Lee Ireland (DBN)
4. Sebastian Baurield (Hout Bay)

U14 Girls Final
1. Sophie Bell (DBN)
2. Finn Musson (Kom)
3. Kirsty McGillivray (JBay)
4. Zoe Smith (JBay)

U14 Boys Final
1. Sebastian Williams (Mexico)
2. Koby Oberholzer (DBN)
3. Angelo Faulkner (JBay)
4. Saxton Randall (DBN)

U16 Boys Final
1. Bevan Willis (DBN)
2. Jordan Maree (Kalk Bay)
3. Jake Elkington (Hout Bay)
4. Adin Masencamp (Strand)

U20 Girls Final
1. Emma Smith (JBay)
2. Gina Smith (JBay)
3. Jade Mets (DBN)
4. Olivia Brand (DBN)

U20 Boys Final
1. Matt McGillivray (JBay)
2. Max Armstrong (Kom)
3. Dylan Lightfoot (JBay)
4. Slade Prestwich (DBN)

1 Comment

  1. Ross Turner
    5 May, 2014 at 8:49 am · Reply

    Well done York van Jaarsveldt! Two second place finishes in as many weeks – great consistency!

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