The Billabong Junior series has rolled into Ballito along with the national school holidays and the groms couldn’t be more stoked. The Ballito Pro and Billabong have provided a world class junior event for these young surfers, and they’re up to all sorts of mischief in and out of the water.
Although we’re in the midst of our Winter season here in SA, this week the surf has been strange on the KZN north coast, a small period east swell has been trying it’s best to deliver surf, dribbling all it’s worth onto the sand filled points of Ballito. Combined with easterly winds and high tide mornings, the groms have had to work for their points. With the tricky conditions, most rides were short, just enough time to nail one or two turns before closing out on the sandbank. The conditions didn’t really suit waiting for the best waves and many heats saw competitors catching their maximum wave count of 12 waves.
The Ballito Pro has drawn the crowds down to Willard Beach where our countries best juniors have been keeping the spectators entertained. The beach vendors, selling soft drinks and ice-creams, have had the biggest smiles on their faces and are loving all the holiday makers, family vibes and increased traffic on the beaches, ka-ching.
Many of the international WSL QS Ballito Pro competitors are in town, trying to squeeze a few waves in before the main event gets underway on Monday and our junior competitors have had the added bonus of watching some of the world class freesurfing that has been going down around the event.
Throughout the ages, the junior series has moulded many of our countries most promising young rippers into world class competitive surfers and, after being down on Willard Beach over the past four days of competition, we are confident that some of these groms will be stepping up onto the world stage in the near future.
Lead image: Koby Oberholzer, timeless and vertical. ©Kelly Cestari
Highlights from the 2016 Billabong Pro Junior Series at Ballito.
(All South African unless indicated)
Billabong Junior Series U18 Boys Final Results
1. Adin Masencamp (Strand) 15.84pts
2. Jordan Maree (Kalk Bay) 12.50pts
Billabong Junior Series U18 Girls Final Results
1. Zoe McDougall (Hawaii) 12.60pts
2. Kirsty McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 8.00pts
Billabong Junior Series U16 Boys Final Results
1. Max Elkington 14.93pts
2. Eli Beukes 13.00pts
3. Luke Slijpen 13.00pts
4. Karl Steen 9.54pts
Billabong Junior Series U16 Girls Final Results
1. Sophie Bell 12.17pts
2. Kai Woolf 11.10pts
3. Kayla Nogueira 6.50pts
4. S’Nenhlanhla Makhubu 6.10pts
Billabong Junior Series U14 Boys Final Results
1. Tide Lee Ireland 11.00pts
2. York Van Jaarsveldt 10.47pts
3. Mitch Du Preez 10.20pts
4. Nate Spalding 7.87
Billabong Junior Series U14 Girls Final Results
1. Gabi Lailvaux 10.00pts
2. Kayla Nogueira 9.27pts
3. S’Nenhlanhla Makhubu 9.00pts
4. Zoe Steyn 2.17pts
Billabong Junior Series U12 Boys Final Results
1. Dan Emslie 14.00pts
2. Luke Thompson 11.76pts
3. Alex Townsend 11.33pts
4. James Ribbink 10.70pts
The lucrative specialty awards went to:
VonZipper Airshow – R2 000
Zigzag Blowing Up Award – R2 000
BOS Best Carve of the Contest – surfboard
Neff – Forever Fun – R2 000
Skull Candy – #StayLoud Award – R2 500
Ford Van Jaarsveldt
Masencamp and McDougall Clinch Titles at Billabong Junior Series Event in Ballito
Adin Masencamp (Strand) and Zoe McDougall (HAW) clinched the premier U18 Boys’ and Girls’ titles at the Billabong Junior Series event which ended in tricky one metre onshore waves at Willard Beach in Ballito on Saturday.
The latest edition of the world’s longest running series of surfing events for junior surfers aged 18-and-under featured World Surf League (WSL) JQS 1,000 rated events for U18 boys and girls alongside Surfing South Africa (SSA) Pro Surf Tour (PST) events for U12 boys and U14 and U16 boys and girls.
Masencamp had to play catch up early in the U18 Boys’ final when current WSL Africa Junior rankings leader Jordan Maree (Kalk Bay) opened the 30 minute encounter with a solid ride of 7.17 out of 10 and then added a 5.33.
But full of confidence after his stellar performance in posting the highest heat total of the event in yesterday’s semi-finals, Masencamp answered back with scores of 6.17 and an excellent 8.67, the highest of the heat, to take the lead. Needing 7.43 for the win with seven minutes remaining, Maree had priority and waited patiently for a wave with scoring potential while his opponent stayed busy patrolling the lineup and found a corner to blast a couple of explosive turns for a 7.17 that clinched the title.
“He started off with a 9 and I was like “Aw no!” And then when I got a couple of waves I knew that if I could get a good wave I could get the score,” said Masencamp.”I’m feeling pretty great, and super pumped to be in the trials and surf against the big guys. Thank you to Billabong for putting on a great event, for the housing and for supporting me. And of course a big thanks to G-Force surfboards for the best boards.”
The victory earned Masencamp R8 000 and 1 000 points which saw him overtake Jake Elkington into second place behind Maree on the WSL Africa Junior rankings He also took the early lead in the chase for the prestigious Billabong Junior Series U18 boys’ crown that will be decided at the second and final event at Seal Point in September.
The U18 Girls’ final was a closer affair where Hawaiian Zoe McDougall led from start to finish over Kirsty McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay), but only established a comfortable lead in the last minute when she added a 5.93 to her opening 6.67. McDougall (16), who is staying with the McGillivray family while in South Africa, was elated to collect an event win in just her fourth day in the country.
“It was an interesting final with Kirsty, my good friend whom I’m staying with. Just fun, no hassling, just trading waves,” said McDougall. “I’m pretty stoked, and I’m happy with the results, but mostly I’m using this event as practice for the QS so I hate to mess up the ratings, but I’m glad Kirsty’s in first.”
The Under 16 Boys’ final was a see-saw battle with Kommetjie’s Max Elkington snatching victory in the closing minutes with a 6.60 and an excellent 8.33 to overtake good friends Eli Beukes and Luke Slijpen. The pair tied on 13.0 points each but Beukes finished second thanks to having the highest single wave score, while Karl Steen finished fourth.
Elkington and Beukes join Masencamp and Maree in the SSA Ballito Pro Trials presented by Billabong which will be run at Willard Beach on Sunday. The Trials winner is awarded the final spot in the112 man field for the R4 million QS10,000 rated Ballito Pro presented by Billabong which runs from Monday June 27 to Sunday 3 July at the same venue.
Salt Rock local Sophie Bell had the partisan crowd cheering when she claimed the U16 Girls’ title ahead of Kai Woolf, Kayla Nogueira and S’Nenhlanhla Makhubu. Makhubu, competing in her first nationally rated event, made it two finals in succession when she also placed third in the U14 Girls behind winner Gail Lailvaux and runner-up Nogueira, with Zoe Steyn taking fourth.
The U14 Boys title went to Tide Lee Ireland in a narrow win over York van Jaarsveldt, Mitch du Preez and Nate Spalding while Dan Emslie showed he has the talent to follow in the footsteps of his famous father Greg when he selected the best waves and convincingly won the U12 Boys’ division. Luke Thomson grabbed second spot with Alex Townsend third and James Ribbink fourth
Adin Masencamp (Strand) throws an arc of spray on his way to victory in the premier U18 Boys’ division of the Billabong Junior Series at Willard Beach in Ballito on Saturday. Photo By: Kelly Cestari
WSL Africa Junior Rankings (After Billabong Junior Series Ballito)
1. Jordy Maree 1750 points
2. Adin Masencamp 1560 pts
3. Jake Elkington 1310 pts
4. Bevan Willis 860 pts
5. Max Elkington 825 pts
1. Kirsty McGillivray 750 points
2. Sophie Bell 560 pts
3. Natasha van Greunen 420 pts
3. Olivia Izzard 420 pts
4. Taghiti Gericke 395 pts
4. Kayla Nogueira 395 pts
The Billabong Junior Series was supported by KwaDukuza Municipality, VonZipper, Zigzag, BOS, Neff, Skull Candy, Surfing South Africa and the World Surf League.
About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.
The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels.
Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.
Surfing South Africa
The Ballito Pro, Ballito Women’s Pro, SSA Trials and Billabong Junior Series are registered with Surfing South Africa, recognised by the Dept. of Sport and Recreation as the national controlling body for the sport and a member of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).