Local surfer second in Hawaii

2015-05-05 06:00

South African Benji Brand came within five seconds of clinching his first World Surf League (WSL) title at the Pipe Pro Junior in Hawaii, USA over the weekend before local Josh Moniz successfully landed a ‘Hail Mary’ 360 degree backhand aerial that earned the Hawaiian the points required to snatch the crown.

Competing in difficult two-metre surf that made wave selection critical in the WSL Junior 1 000 event, Brand who hails from Kommetjie, held the lead for the majority of the final by posting a pair of seven-point rides after Moniz had been awarded a near perfect 9.8 out of 10 score for his opening ride, a deep tube in the Backdoor section at Pipeline.

“After my nine I knew my chances of winning were pretty good, because people were winning all day with about 13 points,” said Moniz.

“But once I got it, I had a weird feeling ... I just couldn’t find a wave the entire heat. I know Benji so good. He’s so good at finding little waves when it’s like this, and he got his two sevens and I became pretty freaked out.”

But Moniz’s never-say-die attitude saw the 18-year-old from Honolulu add the Pipe Pro Junior title to the Sunset Beach Pro Junior crown he won last month.

He, Brand and his younger brother, Seth Moniz, are now among the favourites to secure the two berths for Hawaii’s top Juniors in the year-end Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the most prestigious title in surfing after the WSL World Title.

Brand, who turned 19 last month, has represented South Africa on numerous occasions as a junior but is also regarded as a Hawaiian as his family have homes in Kommetjie and Haleiwa, Hawaii.

He defeated a host of the world’s best surfers aged 20-and-under while advancing through four rounds of competition to reach the final of the Pipe Pro Junior

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