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SA’s Champs medal chances lie with Sykes, Williams
- Updated: October 17, 2015
Team captain Shane Sykes and rising star Sebastian Williams carry South Africa’s hopes for individual medals going into the final weekend of the VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship at Oceanside in California.
Sykes produced another polished performance in the first heat of the day on the South side of the pier on Friday, leading for the early part of his Under-18 boys’ Main Event Round 4 encounter before being overtaken by eventual heat winner Colt Ward (USA).
The pair banished Reo Inaba (JAP) and Nolan Repoza (USA) to the repercharge rounds as they advanced to the last eight in the main event stream and are now just two heats away from the Grand Final where they would be guaranteed a gold, silver, bronze or copper medal.
Williams showed steely temperament in the U16 boys’ repecharge rounds, advancing through three heats in each of which he clinched either first second place with his final ride. Having grown up in California and Mexico before moving South Africa, Williams utilised his signature front and backside aerial manoeuvres to earn high scores from the judges.
The rest of the SA team were eliminated from the event on Friday but will continue to show their support for their two teammates, including blowing their vuvuzelas, which was a feature of yesterday’s action on the beach.
In theU18 boys division, Ntando Msibi advanced through two rounds of sudden death repercharge rounds before placing third in his Round 6 match-up. He finished 17th overall in the division, contributing 400 points to the team total.
The U16 boys’ saw Luke Malherbe reach Repercharge Round 6 while Adin Masencamp and Joshe Faulkner bowed out in Round 5 as they ended 21st, 25th and 29th respectively and earned 380, 360 and 340 points for SA.
Teal Hogg’s campaign in the U18 girls came to an end with a 25th place finish and 360 points and Olivia Izzard matched that placing and points contribution in the U16 girls.
With a day to go before the individual and team champions are crowned on Sunday, South Africa has moved up one place to ninth in the provisional team standings. Hosts USA still have all 12 team members in the event while France still have seven, defending team champions Hawaii have six and Australia have four.
South Africa has another chance to earn a medal at the event when the ISA Aloha Cup semi-finals and final are run on Saturday. Featuring five person teams from the top eight countries at last year’s ISA World Junior Championships, the Aloha Cup is a form a relay surfing where each team member has to ride two waves and then tag the next surfer in the team, with all the rides being completed within an hour to prevent a time penalty.
Picture of Sykes getting airborne courtesy of ISA/Chris Grant