South KZN juniors ride the waves

2012-10-09 00:00

SOUTHERN KwaZulu-Natal produced an admirable showing at the Hurley SA Junior Champs at Jeffreys Bay last week.

South Africa’s premier event for surfers aged 17 and under ended on Sunday after enjoying a phenomenal five straight days of excellent surf at the Point with offshore winds grooming the waves and giving the competitors every opportunity to showcase their talent.

Captained by Port Shepstone High School’s Byron Wigmore, the Southern KwaZulu-Natal contingent finished fifth out of the nine teams that competed for the coveted Freedom Cup.

Eastern Province dominated the national competition in their home surf, clinching the team trophy for the first time in the 16-year history of the event and earning three of the six South African individual titles and three of the five special awards on offer.

The powerful KwaZulu-Natal Central (KZNC) team from Durban finished just 184 points behind Eastern Province in second place, with defending champions Western Province a distant third, 1 143 points further back.

Chanelle Botha of Amanzimtoti High School was named the star performer on Thursday after dominating her opening round heat with an excellent ride of 8,25 points, one of the highest scores among the girls’ divisions, and a 5,75 follow-up ride.

“It was a bit slow out there, and the wind was really strong, but I got what I needed, so I’m pretty stoked about that. I managed a few top turns and a long cutback into the pocket, and a re-entry on the inside, and that was all I needed to get the score,” she said in her post-heat interview.

Chanelle went on to book her place in the U15 girls’ final, which was a closely fought affair. When the spray settled, Crystal Hulett (EP) emerged as the champion, with Chanelle close behind and Olivia Brand (KZNC) and Ruth Armstrong (WP) placing third and fourth.

The hosts’ Matt McGillivray was the stand-out performer, producing inspired surfing that saw him win every heat on his way to the South African U15 boys’ title.

He was deservedly crowned the Hurley Surfer of the Contest, in association with All Aboard Travel, earning a R20 000 voucher to any destination in the world, and then pocketed another R5 000 for winning the Red Bull Airshow, where he beat the best aerial surfers at the event.

Benji Brand (WP) was on fire on the final day, employing his trademark vertical backhand repertoire to win the South African U17 title and also taking home the R3 000 for the Citroën Highest Heat Score award when he posted a 17 point out of 20 total in his semi-final encounter. Diran Zakarian (Boland) took the runner-up spot, with Jason Harris (KZNC) in third and Ethan Pentz (WP) placing fourth.

J-Bay local Gina Smith (EP) was another who went unbeaten throughout the event, going on to be crowned the South African U17 girls’ champion, ahead of Inge McLaren (Border), team-mate and last year’s U15 champion Tahra Uren (EP) and Caryn McNicol (KZNC).

Matt’s dominating victory in the U15 boys’ division saw Shane Sykes (KZNC) finish second, with Jordy Maree (WP) taking third place and Nthando Msibi (KZNC) in fourth place and receiving the Zigzag Blowing Up award and a R3 000 prize-purse.

Adin Masencamp (Boland), who had held the lead in the Citroën Highest Heat Score award for the first four days of the tournament, successfully defended his U13 boys’ title, finishing just ahead of arch-rival Ethan Fletcher (WP). Jose Faulkner (EP) took third and Max Elkington (WP) placed fourth.

The U13 girls’ title went to Sophie Bell (KZNC), who racked up a massive 15 points to deny Kai Woolf (EP) a second successive title in her home surf.

Ashleigh Vaughan finished ahead of Danica Stockigt (Border) in the final to grab third place.

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