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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Sun, 30 September 2018

Parents or coaches screaming at judges does nothing except belittle their kids in front of others, writes Craig Jarvis as Seal Point presents the Billabong Junior Series with a grand finale.

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SUMMER SPRING: Summer Sutton in a karate chop full-stop slash back. Photo McGregor

Perhaps it's the spring conditions, but it's been a fitting end to the series, the longest running junior series in the world, which began 21 years ago.

Yesterday was a great day of surfing at the point. Three-foot waves poured down all day, and the surfers excelled in the great conditions. Luke Slijpen and Eli Beukes were their usual polished selves. Kai Woolf and Zoe Steyn battled it out on their backhand. Ceara Knight continued to show that she will be a force to be reckoned with, and Max Elkington showed that he has the backhand routine dialed on waves with a crumbling lip. He is able to whack it over and over again for crucial points when needed.

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MAXING OUT: Max Elkington tucks up a tight one on a Seals runner. Photo McGregor

Junior surfing is looking pretty good though, and our surfers are continuing to push harder and harder in a bid for supremacy and big international results. Are we going to get them though? What are we missing at this stage? What was lacking?

Well, watching a WCT or QS final on the webcast, it is very obvious that events are won in the air. The surfers executing and sticking the big and innovative airs are the ones that are winning events and are getting the most accolades. The air moves are still out of the ordinary enough to spike the judge’s interests and get the big scores. Not so much for the forehand rotations, but the different flips and grabs that keep it interesting. Yesterday, while the surfers were bashing the lip, carving and floating, Simon Fish was freesurfing on the beachbreak, going for and sticking two innovative backhand air 360-type moves and attempting a full backflip.

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WOLVERINE: Kai Woolfe hacks a chop off the top on a grey day at Seals. Photo Thurtell

When Filipe Toldeo takes off, all he is doing is looking for the air sections. Nothing else. He knows that the only way to beat the best in the world is in the skies. It’s a mindset ting, more than anything else.

Also, there were constant queries coming at the judges from parents and others who wanted to question judging decisions. Some were polite, while others were less so. I’ve used these words before and they’re great, so I am going to use them again. Shaun Tomson told me in an interview something that his dad taught him when he began surfing competitions all those years ago. “The judges’ decision is set in stone, so no matter what you do – how much you shout and scream and rant – the decision is not going to change,” said Shaun. “Accept it. Deal with it. Win like a champion and lose like a man.”

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SERENE STILLNESS: Unlike the outbursts that make you wonder who the child is. Photo McGregor

What is even better to note are the parents and coaches who do not go to the judges to query decisions, but instead take the time to talk to their kids or the surfers they are coaching, and talk them through their losses, explain to them what went wrong and help them understand the situation so that it won’t happen again.

Irate parents and coaches lambasting judges - to their faces or behind their backs - do nothing except subtly denigrate their kids or students in the eyes of the judges and other hard-working contest officials.

There are a couple of kids coming up from the U12 divisions in the boys and girls that look good and show promise for the future. These are the ones that we want to see coming through in a few years and need to have the correct nurturing and coaching as they get more into it.

For more results on the Pro Junior divisions, the premier division at the event, go here

Facebook: Billabong South Africa: www.facebook.com/Billabong and Billabong Women’s South Africa: www.facebook.com/BillabongWomens

Instagram: @billabongwomens_za or @billabongsa and hashtag #BillabongJNR

The Billabong Junior Series is supported by BOS, VonZipper, Surfing South Africa and the World Surf League.

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