Billabong Junior Series Launches Festival of Surfing in Ballito Next Week
The Billabong Junior Series launches a 12-day festival of world class surfing when it gets underway at Willard Beach in Ballito next week with the country’s best surfers aged 18-and-under going all out to earn coveted titles along with prize-money and rankings points.
The world’s longest running junior surfing series, now in its 18th year, has nurtured the competitive careers of countless local surfers including current World No. 10 Jordy Smith, WSL Women’s No. 7 Bianca Buitendag and former WSL Championship Tour campaigners Travis Logie, Royden Bryson, Ricky Basnett, Rosy Hodge and Nikita Robb.
Scheduled for Wednesday to Saturday, 22-25 June, the Billabong Junior Series features World Surf League (WSL) Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) 1,000 rated events for U18 boys and girls, as well as 3A rated Surfing South Africa (SSA) Pro Surf Tour (PST) events for U16 and U14 boys and girls as well as U12 boys.
Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay) heads a strong 24-man field of entries for the U18 boy’s event where the points earned count towards the 2016 Billabong Junior Series and WSL Africa Junior titles as well as selection for the squad who will attend the WSL World Junior Championships at the end of the year.
Maree faces tough opposition in Kommetjie based brothers, Jake and Max Elkington, Adin Masencamp (Strand), Salt Rock local Shane Sykes, Calvin Goor (Durban) and Jeffreys Bay’s Joshe Faulkner and Sebastian Williams.
Locals Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) and Teal Hogg (Umhlanga) will be using their experience in the Willard Beach waves to stave off the challenges of Chrystal Hulett (St Francis Bay), Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay) and Taghiti Gericke (Southern Cape) for the U18 girls’ title.
Dillon Hendricks (Muizenberg) and Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) head the PST rankings for the U16 boys and girls respectively, while Kommetjie’s Travis Pearce and Summer Sutton head the U14 standings and Christian Venter is top seed for the U12 boys.
The top two finishers in the U18 boys’ event will be awarded prestigious wildcards into the SSA Ballito Pro Trials presented by Billabong on Sunday 26 June at the same venue. The all-South African 32-man trials event will determine the last remaining spot in the R4 million, QS10,000 rated Ballito Pro presented by Billabong.
The first round of the R20 000, QS1,000 rated Ballito Women’s Pro presented by Billabong will also be run on the Sunday, and this event will continue alongside the men’s event from Monday to Sunday, June 27 to 3 July.
While the surfers ride the waves, the Ballito Pro Festival is set to turn up the heat in KwaDukuza by offering the best in beach, music and sports entertainment. Locals and holiday-makers will be spoilt for choice with the week-long festival featuring the ‘Fire up your stoke: Night of food & wine’, an extreme sports programme and an exciting retail area, while the Five Star Ballito Pro Free Music Concerts powered by 5FM bring some of South Africa’s most talented music acts to the stage in Salt Rock.
The Billabong Junior Series Ballito is proudly supported by BOS, Neff, Skullcandy, VonZipper, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, KwaDukuza Municipality, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).
Max Elkington (Kommetjie) will be one of the top seeds in the U18 boys’ event in the Billabong Junior Series at Willard Beach in Ballito from 22 – 25 June. ©Ian Thurtell
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).