South Africa’s top junior surfers have been spotted out in the water everywhere between Jeffreys Bay and Cape St Francis for the past few days, making the most of the Eastern Cape’s perfect training ground in preparation for the upcoming consecutive events. Most of the juniors have just competed in the Boss of the Moss Pro Junior and have made their way down the coast positively chomping at the bit.
At Magnatubes, Luke Slijpen showed the kind of surfing we can expect to see this weekend.
Some surfers will be fighting to hold on to their victories, while many will be nurturing a fierce determination to improve their performance and get back at their competitors. Regardless, there is a tangible and exciting momentum building with the two major contests coming up just days apart. We can expect the level of surfing to improve with each event as the surfers are gaining valuable contest experience and accolades that they can carry with them to each contest, be it on a national or international level.
The grand finale of the Billabong Junior Series presented by Bos kicks off today (Friday, 25 September) at Seal Point, and will continue through the weekend until the finals on Sunday, 27 September. The Billabong Junior Series has been running in South Africa since 1997 and is the most prestigious Junior Series in the country. The contest is both Pro Surf Tour (PST) and World Surf Tour (WSL) rated, and therefore has valuable points and prize money up for grabs. The conditions are looking to be very contestable. Seal Point is notorious for being a fun, high quality right hand point break and should make for a very exciting finale to series.
Competitors are hoping for classic conditions at Seal Point to end the Series.
The youngest division will be the Under 12 Boys, which hosts the future stars who are already surfing with style and commitment well beyond their years. J-Bay local Dylan Hendricks will be a strong contender with his phenomenal backhand. Recent winner, Nathan Spalding, will also be one to watch along with Mitch Du Preez and Christian Venter.
The Under 14 Boys division has caused us to notice dark horses like Aya Gericke and Luke Slijpen. Ryan Lightfoot is no stranger to Seal Point and has very quickly been walking in the footsteps of his professional older brother, Dylan Lightfoot. Kelly Medley, Julia Ploughman and Gabi Lailvaux are some of the young, stylish girls looking to excel in the girls side of things. Ten-year-old Lisa van Heerden is sure to do damage in the Under 14 and Under 16 Girls division, as she is a fearless and highly talented young surfer.
Natasha van Greunen will be aiming for victory in the Under 16 Girls division.
The Under 16 Girls division has seen a massive jump in the standard of surfing, with a goofy and natural foot showdown happening at every event. Taghiti Gericke, Natasha van Greunen and Zoe Smith representing the backhanders, while the likes of Sophie Bell, Kirsty McGillivray and Olivia Izzard will be ripping it up on their forehand.
The Under 16 Boys has been one of the most exciting divisions to watch with surfers like Angelo Faulkner, Luke Malherbe, Calvin Goor and Adin Masencamp never ceasing to impress, showcasing a highly polished level of speed, power and flow.
Angelo Faulkner won the Bos Surfer of the Contest award at Magnatubes.
The highly competitive senior division is not to be missed either. Current WSL ratings for the Under 20 Boys sees Dylan Lightfoot in the lead, followed closely by the explosive Shane Sykes, Jordy Maree and Matthew McGillivray. In the equally competitive Under 20 Girls division it is Nicole Pallet who holds the lead followed by Gina Smith, Olivia Brand and Teal Hogg.
All surfers have been at the top of their game, and will be looking to raise the bar and prove themselves at this weekend’s event. The nature of the break makes it a great warm up for surfers competing in the Billabong South African Junior Champs taking place just a few days later on 30 September to the 04 October, so you can expect the next two weeks to showcase the full potential of the junior talent that SA has to offer.