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Near-perfect rides from top trio in Cape St Francis

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Durbanites James Ribbink and Tide-Lee Ireland and Jeffreys Bay’s Kai Woolf were the standouts on Day 2 of the Billabong Junior Series event at Seal Point in Cape St Francis on Saturday as they delivered near-perfect rides in the reeling lines of 1.5 metre swell and stiff offshore winds.
With smaller waves and inclement onshore winds predicted for Sunday’s final day, organisers made use of the great conditions on offer today to whittle South Africa’s top junior surfers aged 18-and-under down to the last four in each division.
Competing in the youngest division, the U12 boys, Ribbink earned back-to-back scores of 9.0 and 9.5 for an incredible heat total of 18.50 out of 20, the highest of the entire event to date. Catching his waves on the Full Stop rock, Ribbink produced manoeuvres that belied his tender years as he carved his way down the point and into tomorrow’s final.
But it was Ireland who posted the highest single ride score when the judges rewarded him with 9.7 out of 10 for a ride punctuated with flair and innovation which handed the 13 year-old victory in his U14 boys’ semi-final, and berth in the final.
Not to be outdone, Woolf posted a 9.6 of her own in the U16 girls semi-final, which was all the more meritorious as it came in the last heat of the day when the waves were affected by the rising onshore wind. Woolf, who spends half her year in Jeffreys Bay and the other half in New Zealand, will be doing double duty on the final day as she also advanced to the semi-finals of the U18 girls division.
In Round 3 of the U18 girls, Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) repeated her heroics of yesterday to claim a semi-final spot after sitting in fourth spot with trio of throw-away scores to her name. Finding a lined up wave, she produced an excellent 8.17 and the heat win. Taghiti Gericke (Mossel Bay) held onto the runner-up position and also advanced while Danica Stockigt (East London) and Olivia Izzard (La Lucia) were eliminated in 3rd and 4th places respectively.
Kai Woolf left nothing to chance in her U18 girls’ Round 3 encounter, tearing up the waves on her backhand and racking up scores of 8.67 and 7.67 that left her rivals combo’d and needing to replace both their best scores for the victory.
Billabong Junior Series and WSL Africa girls’ junior rankings leader Kirsty McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) grabbed second place and will face Woolf in the second of the one-on-one semi-finals on Sunday.
Top seed Adin Masencamp (Strand), last year’s U18 boys’ runner-up at Seal Point, kept his hopes of an event victory alive by adding a 6.50 to his earlier 7.83 as he overtook Ford van Jaarsveldt (Kommetjie) late in their Round 3 boys’ clash. The pair eliminated Angelo Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay) and Luke Slijpen (Llandudno).
Sebastian Williams (Durban) and Calvin Goor (Salt Rock), both 16 year-olds, were responsible for a major upset when they finished first and second in their match up with Bevan Willis (Umdloti) and WSL Africa rankings leader Jordy Maree (Kommetjie) who placed 3rd and 4th respectively.
Maree will be pinning his hopes on fellow Kommetjie resident van Jaarsveldt defeating current rankings No. 2 Masencamp in their semi-final duel tomorrow, a result that would see Maree crowned the 2016 WSL Africa Junior boys champion.
S’Nenhlanhla Makhubu and Summer Sutton won their respective U14 girls’ semis and will match up in the final, along with Kayla Nogueira and Gabi Lailvaux.
The U16 boys’ final pits South African junior teammates Koby Oberholzer and Max Elkington against Luke Slijpen and Karl Steen, with the latter two having relegated Sebastian Williams to third place in their semi clash.
Sunday promises high octane action with the event and Billabong Junior Series titles up for grabs. The U18 boys and girls will also be competing for the WSL Africa Junior title and the selection of the top four ranked boys and top two girls in the squad who will represent WSL Africa at the World Junior Championships in Australia in January 2017.

Picture of Goor in action on Saturday courtesy of Billabong/Thurtell


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