Today wasn’t just about the Hurley SA Junior Champs – although what Zag saw there blew their mind, because the groms were charging like champs.
Lines for as far as the eye could see.
Everyone – competitors, parents, locals, and visitors alike, had been waiting for this day since the forecast first started indicating the purple blobs heading towards Jeffreys Bay. Some competitors had been waiting in fear, predicting they’d be forced to paddle out into a heaving ocean to contest their heat. While others may have been eyeing this day as their chance to shine – after all this was the kind of swell that could separate the ‘men’ from the boys.
Then there were the locals, plus visitors – like big wave addicts Twiggy Baker and Jason Ribbink – who had their boards waxed and ready long before dawn’s early light revealed what the ocean was dishing up for J-Bay’s famous point.
What it did reveal was stormy and wild, 8-10ft power lines sweeping all and sundry swiftly east – especially the surfers attempting to ride them, and who were going at warp speed. From down at the contest site at Lower Point we managed to witness countless steaming cauldrons with another speck riding through its tube.
One speck was harder to spot, because he was on his knees, but was later identified as Gigs Celliers. Jason Ribbink was seen getting the barrel of the day, and Twiggy was spotted getting multiple tubes on rides from way around that side, to right past The Point and beyond. It was an incredible day.
Jason Ribbink (centre) runs back up the point after getting one of the tubes of the day.
But that’s only half of the story – When Zag walked into the contest site on Day 4, we noticed a lot of nervous faces on the Juniors who were scheduled to paddle out for their heats. We even offered one or two some encouraging words to hopefully get them to understand that giant swells don’t necessarily mean certain death.
Hurley were cautious enough to re-schedule the Under 13 Girls heats for the final day, which they’re expecting to be slightly smaller and cooking, but the Under 13 Boys were chosen as the first to test the waters. They took the bull by the flippin’ horns, and by heat two the first giant sets were being tamed by the scrawny grommets. It was, in fact, the legendary Searcher Frankie Oberholzer’s son, Koby, who charged down the first freight train like a madman.
Koby charges down the first serious wave of the day.
Max Elkington quickly followed Koby’s lead, on his backhand, and commentator, Greg Swart, was literally speechless as he giggled with excitement at how hard the Under 13’s were charging. One of the event photographers, Craig Kolesky, clicked his camera as tiny York van Jaarsveld calmly straightened out on a monster closeout, staring back at an angry wave that was trying its best to chow him alive.
Tiny York van Jaarsveld avoids a hungry wave.
What followed throughout the course of the day was quite possibly the greatest show a South African junior event has seen in, like, who remembers how long? A long time, that’s all we’re saying. All day the lighties shredded on waves three or four times overhead. Some doing bottom turns the legendary Occy would be proud of, like Steff Burrows did in his heat.
The field was narrowed down to only the finest in the Boys divisions, while the Girls will get their chance to tackle some slightly more settled surf on the final day, when the 2013 Hurley SA Junior Champs find their hard-charging champions.
Here’s just a few of the video highlights from a memorable day:
Get all the results, plus see more photos on www.sajuniorchamps.co.za
Or check out the official press release below.
BOY’S FINALISTS DECIDED IN GIANT WAVES ON DAY 4 OF HURLEY SA JUNIOR CHAMPS IN JEFFREYS BAY
The finalists in the U17, U15 and U13 Boy’s divisions were decided in giant waves that will be remembered forever by all in attendance and remain indelibly etched into the memory banks of those who rode them on Day 4 of the Hurley SA Junior Champs at Jeffreys Bay today (Saturday).
Enormous walls of water, reaching more than three times the height of the youthful competitors at times, poured down the Lower Point fanned by a strong offshore wind that groomed them into liquid racetracks for the country’s best junior surfers.
While many competitors battled to even get out to the set waves and the organisers put additional safety measures in place to prevent any mishaps, the top contenders revelled in the powerful conditions, proving that the future of SA competitive surfing is in good hands.
After deciding not to run any Girls heats today, the U13 Boys were the first to take to the surf this morning and it took Koby Oberholzer (KZNC) in the second heat to show the way when he caught a set wave, rode it all the way down the point and was awarded 9.0 points out 10 by the judges. Max Elkington (on his backhand) and WP teammate York van Jaarsveldt were also standouts in Round 3 of the U13’s, charging the massive waves and winning their heats
The U17 Boys were next up and last year’s U15 champ and ‘Surfer of the Contest’ Matt McGillivray showed he will be hard to beat again this year when he pulled into a huge tube and emerged to the hoots of the crowd for a near-perfect score of 9.25 and the heat victory.
Jordy Maree, Ethan Fletcher, Ford van Jaarsveldt and Jake Elkington (all WP) along with Tristan Lev and Adin Masencamp (Boland) impressed when the U15’s took up the challenge, showing guts and reaping the glory with Round 3 heat wins.
The wind backed off as the day wore on and the quality of the surf and surfing became even more radical with multiple eight and nine point scores being dropped by the judges. All three divisions completed three rounds of competition and it was a quartet of tired but elated surfers from each age category that qualified for tomorrow’s finals.
Making it through to the U13 final were Koby Oberholzer and Karl Steen (both KZNC), Max Elkington (WP) and Angelo Faulkner from the hosts Eastern Province. The four that will line up in the U15 final are Ethan Fletcher, Jordy Maree and Jake Elkington (all WP) along with Tristan Lev (Boland) while the SA U17 champion will be one of Matt McGillivray (EP), Steff Burrows (Boland) and the WP pair of Dylan Wichmann and Max Armstrong.
Light offshore winds, sunshine and significantly smaller surf are predicted for Sunday when the remaining Rounds of the U17, U15 and U13 Girl’s divisions will be run before all six finals are completed, the individual SA Champions crowned and the points from all surfers tallied to decide the winning provincial team who receive the coveted Freedom Cup.
There is also an array of lucrative special awards at stake, including:
• Hurley Surfer of the Contest presented by All Aboard Travel – R20 000 travel voucher to Bali
• Red Bull Best Air – R5 000
• Oakley Highest Heat Score – R3 000
• Zigzag Blowing Up Award – R3 000
• Skullcandy Team Spirit Award – R3 000
• Van’s Tarp Surf Champ – Product from Vans Off The Wall
All the action and behind the scenes highlights at the 2013 Hurley SA Junior Champs can be followed on the following digital platforms:
Hurley FB: https://www.facebook.com/Hurley.ZA
Hurley Twitter: https://twitter.com/HurleyZA
SA Junior Champs: https://twitter.com/sajuniorchamps (Results Only)
Twitter account – @HurleyZA and the hashtag #sajuniorchamps
Hurley Instagram: http://instagram.com/hurley_za
The South African Development Academy team is participating thanks to a grant from Sport and Recreation South Africa.
The Hurley SA Junior Champs is sanctioned by Surfing South Africa (SSA), recognised by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and Sport and Recreation SA as the national governing body for the sport. SSA is a member of the International Surfing Association (ISA), the world’s governing body for surfing.
The 2013 Hurley SA Junior Champs is supported by All Aboard Travel, Skullcandy, Red Bull, Zigzag, Oakley, Neff, Vans Off The Wall, FUTURELIFE and Island Tribe in association with Sticky Bumps Wax, Channel Islands and Mayhem surfboards.