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SA surfers looking good as World Juniors get underway

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The national junior team posted a near perfect performance on the opening day of the VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship at Oceanside, California on Monday.
The competition got underway in excellent one to 1.5-metre waves and ideal weather conditions and it was team captain Shane Sykes who led the way as seven of the eight SA team members in action on the day advanced directly to Round 2 of the Main Event in the world’s biggest junior surfing event which ran through 30 heats in each of U18 and U16 boys’ divisions.
Competing in the U18 boys’ on the South side of the Oceanside Pier, Sykes set the bar for the team as early as the second heat of the event when he won his closely fought Round 1 heat. He progressed along with heat runner-up, Luis Perloiro from Portugal, as they relegated their third and fourth placed opponents from Belgium and Denmark to the grueling Repercharge rounds.
Teammates Ntando Msibi (pictured above) and Richard Kidd racked up narrow victories before Michael Monk, competing in the last heat of the day, made it a clean sweep of opening day heat wins for SA’s U18 boys.
Sebastian Williams, contesting the U16 boys’ division in great waves on the North side of the pier, delivered the standout performance for the team. Having grown up in California and Mexico before relocating to South Africa, Williams was in tune with the waves on offer and used his wide repertoire of manoeuvres to earn scores of 8.43 (the third highest of the day) and 7.50 for a two-wave heat tally of 15.93, the fourth highest in all 60 heats run on day one.
Fellow SA U16’s, Luke Malherbe and Adin Masencamp, both finished comfortably in second place behind their respective Portuguese rivals to remain in the Main Event stream.
Joshe Faulkner was the only SA team member to drop into the Repecharge Rounds when he slipped to third place in his opening encounter. The tenacious teenager from Jeffreys Bay will being doing his utmost to post first or second place finishes in 10 consecutive heats to reach the Grand Final of the U16 boys division.
Logan Bediamol from the Hawaii recorded both the highest single ride score (9.67 out of 10) and heat total (17.87 out of 20) in the U16 boys as the defending ISA World Junior Team champions completed eight out of eight heat victories in their quest to secure back-to-back team gold medals and the prestigious ISA World Junior Team Champion Trophy.

Picture of Msibi courtesy of ISA/Chris Grant


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