South Africa’s top young surfers demonstrated great talent on the opening day of Billabong SA Junior Champs at Lower Point, Jefffreys Bay.
And St Francis Bay’s Crystal Hulett’s carving manoeuvres earned high points from the judges in the U17 Girls division..
Hulett and Nelson Mandela Bay teammate Kia Fenton both posted heat wins while Taghiti Gericke (Eden) enhanced her growing reputation with another strong showing, Pippa Jones (Cape Town) and Natasha van Greunen (Cape Winelands) were the other round 1 heat winners.
The Under 17 boy’s division got the country’s premier junior event underway in clean offshore conditions. Straight up Bevan Willis, the top seed in the eThekweni district team, laid down a marker with powerful manoeuvres that saw him win his heat and advance directly to Round 3 along with runner-up David Burrows (Cape Winelands).
Liam de Villiers (Uthungulu) and Luke Malherbe (Buffalo City) delivered standout performances. Yet Adin Masencamp (Cape Winelands), last year’s U15 champ, also made it clear he is going to be a strong contender for the U17 title this year.
Adin Masencamp (Cape Winelands) carves a powerful turn off the lip of a Jeffreys Bay wave on the opening day of the Billabong SA Junior Champs. Photo: (c) Alan van Gysen
Jody Maree, Jake Elkington and Ethan Fletcher clinched three successive Round 1 heat wins for the Cape Town team Maree’s trademark vertical backhand attack earning the highest heat total of the day, 17.83 out of 20, and the early lead in the race for the BOS Highest Heat Score award.
“It went well but I could have done better waves selection wise,” said Maree modestly after his devastating showing. “I think I got two 8s and a 9 so it was a good heat for me.”
The U15 boy’s division was next up and occasional rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the excited youngsters. Calvin Goor, Saxton Randall, Jaime Irvine and Karl Steen (all from eThekweni) were all over the pristine waves, winning their heats convincingly.
Jeffreys Bay local Angelo Faulkner and Sebastian Williams, both members of the host Nelson Mandela Bay district team, showed their command of the Lower Point break while Max Elkington (Cape Town), competing in the final heat of the division, was arguably the outstanding U15 performer of the opening day.
The Billabong SA Junior Champs presented by BOS runs until Sunday when the winners in the U17, U15 and U13 boy’s and girl’s divisions will be crowned the 2015 SA Junior Champions. The district team accumulating the highest point tally across all divisions will be awarded the highly prized Freedom Cup and the winners of the U17 and U15 divisions will be awarded national team blazers.
The event also offers specialty awards totalling more than R20 000 for both surfers and their teams. These include the Billabong / Bad Billy’s Tag Team Paddle Battle, BOS Highest Heat Score, VonZipper Airshow, DaKine Most Progressive Manoeuvre, Skull Candy Stay Loud Team Spirit and the Zigzag Blowing Up awards.
Edited by St Francis Chronicle