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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Thu, 4 May 2017

Talented young surfer Sebastian Williams, 16, has been fined and suspended by the WSL for three months after alleged misconduct at the East London leg of the City Surf Series, writes Spike.

DurbanPro SebWilliams_IanThurtell

OBSCURED: Williams shreds at the Corona Durban Surf Pro presented by Quiksilver. Photo Thurtell

According to sources at the Buffalo City Surf Pro, the source of his apparent misconduct was around an expletive-laden rant at judges. The statement from the WSL, which appeared on their press room, did not go into detail:

"The WSL Discipline Committee today announced that surfer Sebastian Williams has been fined and suspended for three months following misconduct at the Buffalo City Surf Pro in East London, South Africa. Upon completing his suspension, Mr. Williams will be permitted to reenter WSL competition with a probationary window extending to mid 2018."

The ban will mean that Williams can only surf in a contest again after July 31. That means he will miss a large chunk of the remaining junior events in South Africa, the largest junior series in the world now with a total of nine events.


TOP TO BOTTOM: Williams won the U16 at the JBay Billabong junior event in 2015. Photo Thurtell

When he returns, he will have missed the current run of events in Cape Town and the Ballito event, with only have one left, the Billabong Junior Series event at Seal Point, unless he goes overseas to compete in any remaining JQS events.

This is going to deny him points to better his spot on the WSL Junior Qualifying Series. He is #9 on the WSL Africa Junior rankings and #119 on the world JQS rankings. He also risks not making the squad for the upcoming world junior championships. So far Surfing South Africa has not announced any sanction.

According to General Manager Robin de Kock, SSA is following a process. He said that SSA was a organisation with a constitution, not a corporation like the WSL, who can make discliplinary decisions quickly. With SSA, proper due process has to be followed according to the constitution of SSA, particularly since he is a minor, in which case mediation and legal arguments will have to be made with lawyers involved, while his father Tim acts on his behalf.


TALENTED KID: Williams wins the Quiksilver King of the Groms in 2015. Photo Quiksilver

Other sources say that Williams will have to bounce back by showing a lot more professionalism and restraint if he is going to rebuild the bridges he is breaking down. He is prone to outbursts when he moves from likeable kid to "enfant terrible". A source in East London said that Williams Junior swore at the judges from the rocks after a heat, calling them "f*****g c**ts" in front of VIPs and sponsors.

He has time to learn, aged 16 about to turn 17, but he needs to take this sanction to heart, and turn it into something positive if he wants to remain a competitive surfer.

The Mexican-born teen who now lives in South Africa is a prodigious talent. He won the global 2015 Quiksilver King of the Groms event, coming on top of the world's best young surfers.

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