A plethora of South Africa’s top junior surfers descended upon the surf rich town of Mossel Bay for the opening event of the Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS. This event marks the first of three events that will crown a host of champions across and array of age groups. Fresh from a semi-successful stint at the ISA World Junior Games in Ecuador, many of the competitors were ready to prove their worth to the ever gathering spectators and sponsors on the beach as the day wore on.
Before dawn as I walked out onto the balcony overlooking Outer Pool, it was an eye-opener as Mikey Venter made me realise how lethargic my stoke has become when it’s perhaps ‘too cold’ or the waves aren’t barreling ‘that much’. He was in night-vision mode and frothing about how sick the waves were and how he was amped to paddle out and get some before his heat.
Matt Mcgillivray scored a draining Outer Pool barrel during his opening heat.
The crowd on the beach was a potluck of South African coastal culture from the Hout Bay mom, the worsie-wielding holiday maker, to the hardcore surf local. It was the Billabong Junior Series’ first time ever in Mossel Bay, In the water, the abundant sea life was only overshadowed by the reeling 3 to 4-foot crisp offshore, yet tricky waves on the Southern Cape point break.
Outer Pool proved to be a cruel mistress during the opening heat of the day, as the electric Pro Junior Men’s division competitors frothed too hard and paddled themselves too far up the point for the first half of their heat. The bar was however quickly set in Heat 2 when Matt Mcgillivray stomped a gigantic air-reverse followed in heat 3 by and awe-inspiring performance by Alex Van Rijswick’s three turn combo to massively committed closeout turn over the bricks, which netted him a well deserved 9-point ride and eventually the highest heat total of the day of 16.5.
Alex Van Rijswijck stepped up the the plate and convincingly won his U20 Pro Junior Men’s heat
Notable highlights on Day 1 included Olivia Izzard’s domination of Round 1 in the U12 Girls division, an inform York Van Jaarsveld’s critical surfing to win his opening heat in the U12 Boys division, the U16 Girls Semi Final number 1 solid performance from Pippa Jones and of course Alex Van Rijswick’s second victory of the day in the U16 division.
If the gallant surfing wasn’t enough to get the crowd cheering on their deck chairs and sipping furiously at cappuccino’s at Delphino’s, the event was complimented by an on form Captain Kai and Tash Mentasti on the mic.
If anything can be taken away from the opening day of the Billabong Junior Series, it is that the juniors are working as a team and pushing boundries further than we have seen in previous years. Perhaps this is from the influence of the SA Junior Team that has recently returned from Ecuador, or perhaps someone has lit a spark under the laaities arses. But one thing is for sure, we can expect a lot out of our junior surfers the rest of the year and definitely until the culmination of this event.
Adin Masencamp was showing full commitment during his heat on the opening day.
Conditions are expected to stay favourable on Day 2, but with an increase in swell predicted the surfing is just going to get better as the rounds progress.
View more photos and highlights on Billabong SA’s Facebook page.
Or check out the official press release below.
SUBLIME OPENING DAY FOR BILLABONG JUNIOR SERIES PRESENTED BY BOS EVENT 1
Ntando Msibi from Durban in flight during the ASP Pro Junior Men’s round of 24.
Mossel Bay – Excellent conditions, perfect weather and light offshore winds greeted the competitors for the opening day of the Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS event 1 in Mossel Bay. It was an excited group of young surfers who took to the warm water with relish, and went to town in the perfect waves, embracing the start of the junior surf season in South Africa.
“Good conditions,” was how contest director Cyril Nel succinctly described the surf at Outer Pool. “Three foot, the odd four-footer, and highly contestable.”
Early stand-outs were Joshe Faulkner, on a roll after his recent 6th place at the ISA World Games in Ecuador, Matt McGillivray from JBay, and Steffan Burrows from Boland, with all three winning their ASP Pro Junior Men’s heats first thing this morning.
The sun poured down as the best junior surfers gathered on the grass in front of Outer Pool to watch the conditions and to cheer on their friends in the classic conditions, as Mossel Bay welcomed junior surfing back to the town.
“It’s great to have Billabong, BOS and junior surfing here in Mossel Bay,” said Southern Cape Surfing Association Chairman Mike Sheppard. “We have a great set-up here, and good point break waves for the junior surfers to compete in, and this sort of event brings out the best in our junior surfers. I”m stoked to have it all going on in Mossel Bay.”
The Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS Event 1 is set to run from Friday 25 – Sunday 27 April.
As the girls took to the waves, with the U14, U16 and U18 girls all surfing heats throughout the afternoon, eyes often wandered away from the drama of the heats and across to Inner Pool, where the waves were also firing, and all of the surfers not in heats were performing outrageous free-surfing moves for the gathered spectators and photographers. Stand-out of the early afternoon session at Inner Pool was Shane Sykes from Salt Rock, getting good practice in for when he hits the water again tomorrow. Mexican grom surfing star Sebastian Williams also took to the water today, and advanced from his U16 round of 24 heat. Williams will be based in South Africa for the winter and will be competing in junior surfing events for the season.
Apart from the heats and divisions, there are also a number of awards and mini-events going down within the main competition. There is the BOS Surfer Of The Event as well as the BOS Surfer Of The Series. The DaKine Youthful Movement Award will reward the surfer who displays the Most Progressive Surfing with a prize of R2,500 in product, while the Kinetic Racing Fins Free Award is for R2,500 for the most radical fins-free move of the contest.
Nixon are giving away a number of prizes including a Nixon Blaster weatherproof Blue Tooth speaker to the winner of every division, a gold 48-20 Nixon Watch for the U20 Boys winner and a gold Camden Watch for the U20 Girls winner. There is also the Nixon WTA (Winner Takes All) Award of a Nixon Supertide watch for the highest score of each event.
Techniblock are the official sun screen sponsors for the Billabong Jnr Series. Follow them on twitter here www.twitter.com/techniblocksun
With an increase in swell and favourable conditions forecast for tomorrow, competitors are excited for day two of the Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS. Contest updates can be tracked via Facebook on the Billabong Page www.facebook.com/Billabong.South.Africa and the Billabong Women’s Page www.facebook.com/BillabongWomensSA
The official event hashtag for Social Media is #billabongjnr