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Young stars shine as SA Juniors get underway
- Updated: October 1, 2015
South Africa’s top young surfers demonstrated that the future of competitive surfing is in good hands by producing stellar performances in perfect waves at the Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay on Wednesday’s opening day of the Billabong SA Junior Champs presented by BOS.
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 before Adin Masencamp (Cape Winelands), picture above and last year’s U15 champ, made it clear that he is going to be a strong contender for the U17 title this year.
Jody Maree, Jake Elkington and Ethan Fletcher clinched three successive Round 1 heat wins for the Cape Town team, with 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 8’s 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 U17 girls then took to the waves that continued to peel down the rocky point. Chrystal Hulett’s carving manoeuvres earned high points from the judges and she and her Nelson Mandela Bay teammate Kia Fenton both posted heat wins. Taghiti Gericke (Eden) enhanced her growing reputation with another strong showing and Pippa Jones (Cape Town) and Natasha van Greunen (Cape Winelands) were the other round 1 heat winners.
The Champs run until Sunday when the winners in the U17, U15 and U13 boy’s and girl’s divisions will be crowned 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.
Picture of Masencamp courtesy of Alan van Gysen