Friday was a day of clichés – think upsets, air reverses and well, groms gone wild.
Sebastian Williams salutes a fellow competitors’ sick ride.
The air reverses and the upsets started in the same heat – the eighth of the day, fourth of U16 boys. Round about 10:30ish, or so. Warner Beach’s heir apparent, Koby Oberholzer, boosted into a most casual air-to-stand-up-again-in-the-foamie revo and Joshe Faulkner, carrying new expectations after his sixth place at the Vissla ISA World Juniors, was eliminated from the U16’s.
Joshe Faulkner surfed with his usual style and flair, but it wasn’t enough in a tough Under 16 match-up.
Up until then the biggest talking point had been Boland goofyfooter Steff Burrows who’d had to surf his way out of U20 boys round one, after being entered under his brother’s name and not getting the appropriate seeding. He came out of the water after successfully Occy-ing his heat, beaming, “I’m actually stoked I had to surf you know. The more you surf the more confidence you build.”
Confidence enough then to wear a farmer-style wide brim hat (complete with feather) and strut the contest site with calf-length Adidas socks. In fact that was the prevailing attitude on the beach with a vibe more akin to a giant fun fair than a serious surf contest. Groms gone freakin wild, with table tennis, a photo booth, board art centre… it goes on.
Slade Prestwich was on fire on Day 1.
The air reverse (and its many variations) once again reared its head as ‘essential-part-of-the-pro-arsenal’ as the U20 round of 32 closed out the day. The main protagonists being Slade Prestwich, Diran Zikarian and, local favourites Matt McGillivray and Dylan Lightfoot.
It was also the round that saw another upset, with J-Bay goofyfoot Steven Sawyer bowing out.
With free board art by Kane Bennewith, some competitors’ boards looked better than ever.
Here are the video highlights from Day 1’s action:
More of the same today? Not likely, the forecast calls for a rapidly dying swell and near-gale northwest bergwind (aka Devil Wind). Stay tuned.
Official press release below.
J-BAY COMES ALIVE FOR THE RVCA JUNIOR CHALLENGE DAY 1
Koby Oberholzer big punt in the early rounds of day 1 of the RVCA Junior Challenge in JBay
Lower Point, Jeffreys Bay – It was young JJ Van Seumeren from East London who caught the first wave of the RVCA Junior Challenge 2014, opening up the biggest junior surfing event in the country, amongst great Lower Point waves, burning sun and crowds of competitors, spectators and family
Early standouts were Keegan Wright from Durban and Alex Van Rijswicjk from Port Elizabeth in the U20 divisions, while Ford Van Jaarsveldt and Jake Elkington from Hout Bay were two standouts in the U16 Boys division.
Heat 4 of the Boys U16 round of 32 was the most exciting heat of the round, with Joshe Faulkner (JBay), Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach), Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay) and Josh Stow (JBay) battling it out in the perfect, reeling right-handers. Jordy came on strong from the beginning, and climbed into the lead with a long ride coring 6.75. He backed it up with the identical score, and with two 6.75 rides he held the lead with 13.5 points out of a possible 20. Talented Warner Beach surfer Koby Oberholzer finished off in second, and being eliminated from the U16 division were the two JBay locals in Joshe Faulkner and Josh Stow.
“The waves were really good out there actually,” said Jordy Maree. “I felt pretty good during my heat and picked up a few decent ones. I’ve actually been a bit out of rhythm this week after last week’s event, but I felt my rhythm come back yesterday and now I’m feeling strong again.”
International surfer Sebastian Williams, a South African who was brought up and who learned his surfing approach from the waves of Mexico, also showed form in the Boys U16 round of 32. Williams won his heat with relative ease and seemed to be having a whole lot of fun in the water.
In the U20 Girls round of 24 it was Teal Hogg from Umhlanga who was killing it in the first heat, and other stand outs in this early round was Jade Mets, Pippa Jones and, all having fun in the long, winding right-handers of Lower Point. Only having two divisions in U14 and U20, many of the girls are surfing out of their divisions, and this competitive environment is impetus for them to step up and impress.
The U20 Boys round of 32 was an action-packed affair, with surfers starting to think about that wildcard slot in the JBU Supertrial presented by RVCA. Slade Prestwich from Durban was the first surfer to really find form, racking up a 7 point ride and a 6.25 to give him a 13.25 points out of a possible 20 and the heat win.
“It was pretty good out there, and I started off with that seven point ride, so I felt strong,” said Prestwich. “After that I tried to go and site wide where the good ones were. I paddled the guys up the point a bit and tried to get back to the wide spot, because there was some good scoring potential on the wide ones. My second scoring wave was a good backup 6.25, so it’s all going well so far.”
In the late afternoon heats it was local surfer Matt McGillivray who was in blistering form in his backyard. He won his U20 heat with ease and is looking like a possible contender for the JBU Supertrial wildcard slot. Other surfers in U20 round of 32 who were on form were aerial kid Diran Zakarian, and Dylan Lightfoot who won the final heat of the day with some fast surfing.
The ping-pong table was alive all afternoon, good sounds were emanating from the RVCA control centre, and the spectators and surfers alike were enjoying the balmy Autumn weather in JBay.