SKZN surfers eye national honours

2012-09-25 00:00

THE country’s top young surfers will be flocking to the surfing mecca of Jeffreys Bay next week to compete for prestigious team and individual national titles in the annual Hurley SA Junior Champs.

Scheduled for October 3 to October 7, this premier Surfing South Africa (SSA) event features the best 17-and-under surfers selected by their respective provincial associations and will be staged at the high-performance surf break known as The Point for the first time in its 16-year history.

“Junior surfing is what drives the future of South Africa’s next crop of great surfers and the dream of adding to the pool of world champions from our shores,” says Jevon le Roux, MD of Hurley SA.

“Hurley is proud to be associated with Surfing South Africa’s junior champs as the kids are an inspiration to us. We look forward to them showing up and blowing up at J-Bay in October.”

Competitors from defending team champions Western Province and hosts Eastern Province will be joined by squads from KwaZulu-Natal Central, Southern KwaZulu-Natal, Border, Boland, Zululand, Southern Cape and the South African Development Academy in their quest to secure the Freedom Cup and South African titles in U17, U15 and U13 categories for boys and girls.

Western Province will be determined to repeat their domination after a narrow second successive team victory in Durban last year. Josh Smit (KZNC), Adin Masencamp (Boland) and Kai Woolf (EP) will be back to defend their U17 boys’, U13 boys’ and U13 girls’ titles, respectively, while new champions will be crowned the other three of the six individual divisions.

Last year’s U17 girls’ champion Sarah Baum (Athlone Park) is now competing on the World Tour and U15 boys’ and girls’ champions, Max Armstrong (WP) and Tahra Uren (EP), have moved up to the U17 division, leaving the way clear for the top contenders to stake their claim for a place in the annals of South African surfing history.

Eastern Province surfers, including 2011 finalists Tahra Uhren, Kai Woolf, Matt McGillivray (U15 boys) and Jose Faulkner (U13 boys), will benefit from hometown advantage at Jeffreys Bay but face strong challenges from the defending champions and the likes of McGillivray’s South African national team-mates Benji Brand and Armstrong (both WP), Steffen Burrows (Boland), Nicole Pallet (KZNC) and Warner Beach’s Chanelle Botha (SKZN).

Others expected to contend for individual glory include Bryce Burness (KZNC), Diran Zakarian (Boland), Brandon Benjamin (WP) and Warner Beach surfer Courtenay Ellish (SKZN) in the U17s; 2011 Surfer of the Contest Jordy Maree, fellow WP surfer Donovan Wichmann, Simo Mkhize (SKZN) and Anousch Zakarian (Boland) in the U15s and Koby Oberholzer (KZNC) and Ethan Fletcher (WP) in the youngest division.

In addition to the national titles at stake, winners will also be crowned for the Citroën Surfer of the Contest, All Aboard Travel Highest Heat Score, Zigzag Blowing Up Award, the Red Bull AirShow and the Skullcandy Best Team Trophy, which is awarded to the provincial team that displays the best team spirit throughout the event.

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