Words: Craig Jarvis
The Billabong SA Junior Champs, the country’s most prestigious surfing event for competitors aged 17-and-under, gets underway in the fabled high performance waves of the Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay on Wednesday and runs until Sunday 4 October.
Photo credit: Ian Thurtell
The five-day tournament features the top young surfers from every corner of the coastline who have qualified for the SA Champs via gruelling trials conducted by their respective district associations.
At stake are individual titles for Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 boys and girls, along with national team blazers for the winners of the U15 and U17 events and the coveted Freedom Cup, which goes to the district whose team members accumulate the highest points tally across all age divisions.
“We're really proud to be the sponsors of the Billabong SA Junior Champs presented by BOS,” said Billabong South Africa Marketing Manager Chad D'Arcy. "This is the premier junior event on the Surfing South Africa calendar and to host it in our home town of Jeffreys Bay makes it even more special. Good luck to the country’s best young surfers in their quest for national titles."
The event also offers number of lucrative specialty awards totalling more than R20 000 for both surfers and their teams. These include the Billabong / Bad Billy’s Tag Team Paddle Battle, BOS Highest Heat Score, VonZipper Airshow, DaKine Most Progressive Manoeuvre, Skull Candy Stay Loud Team Spirit and the Zigzag Blowing Up awards.
The star laden team from eThekweni will be determined to retain the Freedom Cup while Nelson Mandela Bay, last year’s runners-up, will be hoping that local wave knowledge will tip the balance of power their way. The team from Cape Town, who have held the cup on numerous occasions in recent years, will present a strong challenge again and Cape Winelands, Buffalo City, Ugu, Eden, uThungulu and the team from the SA Development Academy will be going all out to improve on their final placing in the team standings.
“The Billabong SA Junior Championships presented by BOS is the most important junior tournament on the South African calendar and attracts the best young surfers from around the country to the best wave in the country,” says Robin de Kock, GM of Surfing South Africa (SSA). “This is where the future of South African surfing takes centre stage and we are extremely grateful and proud to be associated with Billabong whose support for the event is really special.”
Sophie Bell (eThekweni) will be defending her U15 girl’s title while the other five divisions will crown new South African champions. Adin Masencamp (Cape Winelands), last year’s U15 boys champ, has moved up to the U17 age category while Max Elkington (Cape Town), the U13 boys champ in 2014, is now in the U15 division.
As part of Surfing South Africa’s commitment to transformation, the South African Development Academy team is participating thanks to a grant from Sport and Recreation South Africa.
All the action from the Billabong SA Junior Champs presented by BOS can be followed via:
Billabong South Africa
Billabong Women’s South Africa:
Billabong South Africa
Billabong Womens 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
The Billabong SA Junior Champs presented by BOS is proudly supported by DaKine, VonZipper, Skull Candy, Neff and Zigzag Surfing Magazine.
Surfing South Africa is the recognised governing body for surfing in South Africa. SSA is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA)