Sun, 9 October 2016

Unbelievably, for the 4th straight day, absolutely firing surf came through for the Billabong Junior SA Championships that will finish at Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay, writes Craig Jarvis.


SURF GLOW: A lot of time was spent waiting for a gap to paddle out. Photo Grant Scholtz

It’s unheard of, it’s like a Kelly Slater Wave Pool, without the barrel. It’s like a Wave Garden out there and other wave pool quips.

The contestants got straight out there yesterday, with the first heat out at 7am, on the high tide in epic conditions. Then just to confound us all, the ocean decided to turn into absolute sheet glass, making the conditions go from the ridiculous to the sublime. The U17 Girls got the conditions at its best, with four foot waves pouring through for the entire round 4. Local girl Kirsty McGillivray stood out, as per usual on her probable road to the final, as did Sophie bell. Taghiti Gericke was another surfer who brought her A-Game as did Anna Jelema Butler.


WAITING GAME: Four straight days of cranking surf is quite unusual. Photo Grant Scholtz

In the U17 Boys division, the premier division at the SA Champs, all eyes were on Adin Masencamp. He didn't disappoint, winning his heat with ease and taking Ford Van Jaarsveldt through with him. In the second heat the elimination of Ethan Fletcher was the shock of the morning, and he came third behind Joshe Faulkner and Luke Malherbe from Buffalo City. Koby Oberholzer continued his onslaught, and another local in Rewaldo Abersalie won the final quarterfinal with Liam De Villers in second and advancing.

For a few moments it looked like the surf was going to deteriorate, as a light onshore southerly started puffing across the perfect groomed walls. It was unbelievable, the surf actually might become less than perfect! It was short lived however, as a gentle south westerly started blowing across the four foot waves, cleaning them up, lifting up their crests, and creating flawless lines once again. Close call.


FORDING AHEAD: Ford van Jaarsveld dismantled the surf like a wrecking ball. Photo Ian Thurtell

As that offshore came up, so the teams started getting into their cheering modes, vying for the Skull Candy Stay Loud Team Spirit award. Nelson Mandela Bay looked the strongest, with their Team Dragon called Mushu looking like something from the Rio Carnival walking up and down the beach with their team cheering underneath.

So it was looking like it was going to be a local onslaught, with Joshe Faulkner and Rewaldo Abersalie looking the favourites with their polished performances.

In the U13 Boys semi finals 1 James Ribbink from eThekweni came alive, outpointing Luke Thomson and Kye McGregor, with Kye being eliminated.


HOLLOW TUBE: Some sets showed why this reef is world renowned. Photo Ian Thurtell

“The waves were great out there,” said Ribbink. “Going into the final I don't really focus on who I am going to be surfing against.”

Ribbink surfed in a short wetsuit in the frigid water. “I didn't find it that cold, and anyway I hate wearing a full suit, I’m from Durban.”

Ribbink’s board had the same spray design as Jordy Smith’s current design. “Jordy is my favourite surfer, and he’s a surfer that I really look up to.”

As the day drew to a close, expectations were high of another good day of surf today. Imagine that – 5 days of perfect surf. 

The event ends today (Sunday 9 October)

Hashtag: #SAJuniorChamps

Billabong South Africa
Billabong Women’s South Africa:

Billabong South Africa  - @BillabongSA
Billabong Women’s South Africa - @Billabongwomens_za

Contest format and results will be posted daily on www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za

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