Words: Craig Jarvis
Matt McGillivray was victorious in a nail-biting finish in the RVCA Junior Challenge JBay, winning the premier U20 division as well as winning himself that coveted entry into the JBU Supertrial presented by RVCA to be held at Supertubes in JBay in June.
The final day of competition started off fairly slowly, with a chill in the air and with the high tide holding the sets off the Lower Point. Waves were inconsistent, with occasional pulses coming through. In one of the early heats of the day, on one of those pulses, James Ribbink (DBN) scraped into an absolute bomb and rode it all the way through to the inside, picking up a score of 7.5, winning the second U12 Boys semi and earning his spot into the final.
In the U20 Girls semi number two, a fierce paddle battle between Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach) and Gina Smith (JBay) coupled with a sudden flurry of waves saw Gina turn the heat around and go from fourth place to first place, before finally dropping into second place and advancing into the final along with Olivia Brand (Umdloti).
Before the finals hit the water it was time for the Nixon Weird Board event. Eight surfers were commissioned to each shape a 'weird board,' an unconventional board shape and design, for this fun event. Shapers who delivered boards were Thys Strydom, Dutchie, Eric Stedman, Simon Fish, Glen Row, David Stubbs, Anton Butler and Glen D'Arcy. Some serious fun ensued in the tiny but reeling Lower Point waves, with Richard Kidd and York Van Jaarsveldt both being declared heat winners, each taking home a Nixon Blaster Bluetooth Speaker as reward.
In the U10 Boys final it was Christian Venter who came out firing, and picked up an early lead. James Ribbink was hot on his heels however, and soon overtook Christian. Once James had the lead, he didn't let it go and remained the heat winner all the way through to the final siren. Viviers Strydom was in second, Christian Venter ended up in third and Alex Townsend was fourth.
Ribbink stayed in the water for the U12 Boys final, and played a patient game, sitting wide and waiting for the good set waves. His strategy paid off and he won this division as well, beating York Van Jaarsveldt, Tide-Lee Ireland and Sebastian Baurield into the minor positions.
"The waves were a little bit onshore out there, but it was really fun," said Ribbink of the conditions. " I wasn't sure how I had done, but in the middle of the under twelve final I heard that I had won the under ten final and I was stoked. In the under twelve final I decided to sit wide. The waves were breaking really fast on the inside and then they were slowing down on the outside and that's where you could get some good scores, so I went and sat there and got two good ones."
Sophie Bell was the outstanding surfer of the U14 Girls final. She scored an 8.5 points out of a possible 10 points for her highest scoring ride, backed it up with a 5.75 for a clear victory, and left all the other surfers in the final needing a combination of waves to catch her. Finn Musson was second, Kirsty McGillivray third and Zoe Smith was fourth.
The only international surfer in the event, Sebastian Williams, surged into an early lead in the U14 Boys final, despite a strong push from Koby Oberholzer. Sebastian, who is a South African who grew up in Mexico, remained in the lead with some fast and light-footed surfing in the final, with Koby, Angelo Faulkner and Saxton Randall filling up the minor placings.
New kid on the block Bevan Willis surfed a powerful and explosive U16 final against some fierce competitors to take the win with relative ease. "I picked up a decent wave near the beginning of the heat, and then I hassled the guys a bit," said Willis of his strategy. "That wave at the end was a really good one. I didn't hear what the score was, but I knew that it was a decent score."
His second score was a 6, and combined with his earlier score of 4.75 saw the Undloti surfer with a heat total of 10.75 out of a possible 20 points, with Jordy Maree in second. Jake Elkington was in third and Adin Masencamp in 4th.
The Smith family was well represented in the U20 Girls final, with Emma and Gina duking it out with Olivia Brand and Jade Mets. The Smith's made it one-two, with Emma winning convincingly and with Gina in second. Jade Mets came in third and Olivia Brand in fourth.
Matt McGillivray threw caution to the wind in the U20 Final, laying it all on the line by going for some big aerial moves and pulling them off successfully. His first such move, a big forehand air reverse saw Matt score 6.75 and go firmly into the lead. Max Armstrong fought back hard but ended up in the runner-up spot, with Dylan Lightfoot in third and Slade Prestwich in fourth.
"In the beginning everyone was sitting very far up the point, so I tried to come a bit lower down the point to get one or two to start off," said Matt of his strategy in the final. "Local knowledge definitely helps in these conditions."
The Most Progressive Move Award of a Firewire Surfboard valued at R7,000 went to Adin Masencamp.
The Girl Surfer Of The Event Award of a Firewire Surfboard valued at R7,000 went to Sophie Bell.
The Male Surfer Of The Event Award of 2 airplane tickets from anywhere in South Africa to Jeffreys Bay, and 3 Nights stay in African Perfection Guesthouse, went to James Ribbink.
Video highlights from Day One of competition can be viewed here www.youtube.com/watch
Video highlights from Day Two of competition can be viewed here www.youtube.com/watch
U10 Boys Final
1. James Ribbink (DBN)
2. Viviers Strydom (PE)
3. Christian Venter (Melkbos)
4. Alex Townsend (Kom)
U12 Boys Final
1. James Ribbink (DBN)
2. York Van Jaarsveldt (Kom)
3. Tide-Lee Ireland (DBN)
4. Sebastian Baurield (Hout Bay)
U14 Girls Final
1. Sophie Bell (DBN)
2. Finn Musson (Kom)
3. Kirsty McGillivray (JBay)
4. Zoe Smith (JBay)
U14 Boys Final
1. Sebastian Williams (Mexico)
2. Koby Oberholzer (DBN)
3. Angelo Faulkner (JBay)
4. Saxton Randall (DBN)
U16 Boys Final
1. Bevan Willis (DBN)
2. Jordan Maree (Kalk Bay)
3. Jake Elkington (Hout Bay)
4. Adin Masencamp (Strand)
U20 Girls Final
1. Emma Smith (JBay)
2. Gina Smith (JBay)
3. Jade Mets (DBN)
4. Olivia Brand (DBN)
U20 Boys Final
1. Matt McGillivray (JBay)
2. Max Armstrong (Kom)
3. Dylan Lightfoot (JBay)
4. Slade Prestwich (DBN)
The RVCA Junior Surfing Contest is sanctioned by Surfing South Africa. Surfing South Africa is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), and recognised by the Dept. of Sport and Recreation as the national controlling body for surfing.