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Firing Surf For Opening Two Days Of Billabong Junior Series Finale

The opening day of the Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard Travel were completed in highly contestable  one metre waves and offshore winds at Seal Point in Cape St Francis on Friday.

This is an event with much at stake. The fourth and final event in the 20th annual edition of the world’s longest running surf series for surfers 18-and-under will crown event and series champions in seven divisions, as well as the men’s and women’s WSL Africa junior champions and also determine who will represent  the region at the WSL World Junior Championships in Australia In January.

Current Billabong Junior Series and WSL Africa junior rankings leader Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) had to play catch-up in the first heat of the U18 boys heat when Bryce du Preez (East London) opened his account with a 6.50 and then added a 4.60. But Elkington showed the form that has earned him three event victories already this year to secure second place and advanced to Round 2 alongside du Preez.

There was a major upset in Heat 3 of the U18 boys when Angelo Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay) was eliminated by Saxton Randall (Durban) and 14 year-old Mitch du Preez (East London). Faulkner had his sights set on victory at Seal Point, which would have seen him clinch a place in the WSL Africa squad for the World Junior Champs, but the J-Bay resident could only muster 10.17 points and was ousted when he placed third in the heat.

The U18 girls’ heats also produced an upset when Daniella Finlayson (Jeffreys Bay) grabbed victory ahead of second seed Taghiti Gericke (Wilderness). Top seed Tayla de Coning (East London), Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay) and Summer Sutton (Kommetjie) comfortably won their heats thereafter and advanced to Round 2.

The U16 division delivered excellent competitive performances with the likes of Faulkner, Ryan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay), Aya Gericke (Wilderness) and newcomer George Pittar claiming heat wins in boys, while Woolf, Sutton and Gabi Lailvaux (Westbrook) stamped their authority in the girls heats.

The highly competitive U14 boy’s category lived up to its billing with East Londoners Mitch du Preez and Daniel Emslie joined by Durbanites Luke Thompson and James Ribbink as heat winners after hard fought battles.

Meanwhile the U12 boys, the youngest division in the series, continue to prove that the future of South African surfing is in good shape with series champion elect Kyra Bennie (Vredehoek) and fourth seed Kai Hall (Durban) emerging triumphant from their opening encounters along with newcomers Ryan Kainalo and Joel Dace.

Seal Point was again firing on all cylinders on Day 2 of the Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard Travel.

Solid three-four foot waves and pristine conditions were on offer on Day 2 of the Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard Travel, allowing organiser to complete the semi-finals in each of the seven divisions. 

The country’s best junior surfers reveled in the long glassy waves in Cape St Francis, posting numerous scores in the excellent range as they chased prestige, prize-money, points and series titles in the fourth and final event in the world’s longest running junior surfing series.

The World Surf League Junior Qualifying Series event for U18 boys saw current runaway rankings leader Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) eliminated in Round 2 by Luke Malherbe (East London ) and Calvin Goor (Salt Rock), who advanced to the man-on-man  semi-finals. Goor’s near perfect 9.0 plus a 5.0 gave him victory over Malherbe and the Dolphin Coast surfer advanced to his second final of 2017.

In the bottom half of the draw Ford van Jaarsveldt (Kommetjie) was outstanding in Round 2, delivering scores of 9.0 and 8.17 for a heat tally of 17.17, the highest in the division to date. He was joined in the semi by 14 year-old Mitch du Preez (East London) who had to be happy with a third place finish as van Jaarsveldt delivered another master-class and will take on Goor for the title in Sunday’s final.

The JQS women’s event followed suit with former Jeffreys Bay star Kai Woolf, now surfing under the New Zealand flag, showing big moves and heat strategy to earn scores of 9.0 and 7.67 to ease into the final at the expense of Tayla de Coning (East London)

Woolf will be up against Taghiti Gericke (Wilderness) who outpointed rising star Summer Sutton (Kommetjie) in their semi-final encounter on her way to a career first one-on-one JQS final.

In the 3A rated SA Surf Tour (SAST) events, Woolf, de Coning and Sutton, along with Olivia Izzard (La Lucia), will also contest the four person U16 girls’ final, while Angelo Faulkner and fellow Jeffreys Bay resident Ryan Lightfoot, Tide Lee Ireland (Durban) and French surfer George Pittar will battle for honours in the U16 boys’ final.

The final four in the highly competitive U14 boys’ division include Durbanites Luke Thompson and Nate Spalding who will take on Daniel Emslie and Mitch du Preez, two of the promising crop of young talents currently emerging from East London.

The U16 girls’ final will feature Caroline Brown, Zoe Steyn, Lhea Johnston and Jesse Powell while the U12 boys will be a hard fought affair as previously unbeaten Kyra Bennie (Vredehoek) seeks revenge over young Brazilian Ryan Kainalo, who defeated him in their semi-final. The pair can expect stiff opposition from Kai Hall (Durban) and Nathan Plomaritis (Port Elizabeth).

The U18 boys’ and girls’ Billabong Junior Series champions have the added incentive of winning a coveted trip to the tropical surfing paradise of Bali thanks to All Aboard Travel.

The Billabong Junior Series pres. by All Aboard Travel is supported by BOS, VonZipper, Zigzag, Surfing South Africa and the World Surf League.

Next week, 4 – 8 October, will see the Billabong South African Junior Champs take place at Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay.

The Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard Travel runs until Sunday when all the event and series champions will crowned at the awards ceremony on the beach. The U18 boys’ and girls’ series champions have the added incentive of winning a coveted trip to the tropical surfing paradise of Bali thanks to All Aboard Travel, while the exciting VonZipper Airshow rewards the surfer landing the best aerial manoeuvre with a winner-takes-all R2,000 prize purse.

The Billabong Junior Series pres. by All Aboard Travel is supported by BOS, VonZipper, Zigzag, Surfing South Africa and the World Surf League.

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