Words & Photo: Chad D'Arcy
A solid rise in swell and subsequent good conditions prevailed throughout the final day of the Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS event #1 at Outer Pool. A slight northerly wind gave way to light onshore conditions, and the fresh, consistent four-to-five foot swell meant that all the remaining contestants had ample oportunity to pick up good waves in their respective heats.
Early morning stand-out was Bevan Willis from Umdloti who surfed to the judges liking, performing a series of critical and powerful turns on the biggest set waves of his heat to win comfortably. Willis has a strong style of surfing and kept the spectators and commentator excited at his gung-ho yet succesful approach to big moves.
As the Mossel Bay sun beat down and the crowds continued to grow, so the business end of the competition ensued. The Judges Vs Coaches tag-team tussle was a fun heat that saw local surfer and coach Llewellyn Whittaker utilise his local knowledge and score highest points, allowing the Coaches to sneak the win.
In the VonZipper Brainblast-Off Airshow it was air specialist Diran Zakarian who took to the skies and performed a couple of wild aerial turns, eventually nailing a big backhand air reverse to secure the win.
The U12 Boys took to the water for their final, and the biggest waves of the day decided to arrive. Giant sets poured through, catching the young surfers a few times, but they soldiered on. The jetski safety crew were on standby, but none of the young surfers called for assistance and the heat ran without a problem. It was young Tide-Lee Ireland who caught the biggest waves and impressed all for the win. York Van Jaarsveld (CT) was in second, and Christian Venter came third.
For the U14 Girls Final, the waves slowed down a touch, but there were still some solid sets pouring through as the onshore breeze started showing up. Young Sophie Bell (DBN) was on top form and took the win comfortably from Gabriella Lailvaux (DBN) and local Mossel Bay surfer Nina Harmse in third.
The U16 Boys final was a close affair, with all the surfers throwing caution to the wind in the chunky conditions. In the end it was Max Elkington (CT) who emerged victorious, with Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach) in second ahead of Julian Zens (CT) in third.
It was Michelle Verreyne (George) who stood out in the U16 Girls Final, showing her experience at Outer Pool, defeating Danica Stockigt (EL), with Ruth Armstrong in third.
Many people had touted Jeffreys Bay surfer Matt McGillivray to win the U18 Boys division from the event start two days ago, and he did not disappoint. Matt put on a polished display and finished off with a massive forehand air maneuver that was awarded a 7.6 point score out of a possible 10 for a single move. That score helped him into first place, ahead of Benji Brand (CT) and Richard Kidd from Durban. "I was just so stoked to land that thing," said Matt of the high scoring air move. "It has been great having a contest here in Mossel Bay, and I felt good with my fitness and with my equipment.The local people have also been very nice and friendly and I have had a good time here."
It was Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach) who dominated the U18 Girls throughout the final day, eventually sealing the deal with an emphatic win in the final heat. She beat Jade Story (DBN) into second and Britney Linder (PE) into third.
When the U20 ASP Pro Junior Women took to the water the waves were still pouring through. Highly rated Jeffreys Bay surfer Emma Smith got busy out there from the get-go with some high-scoring waves, and held onto her lead throughout the final. She beat Chanelle Botha into second, and Crystal Hulett from St Francis Bay into third.
By the time the premier U20 ASP Pro Junior Men took to the water, the conditions had become challenging, with the onshore wind ruffling the wave surfaces and making them difficult to ride. It was a man-on-man final beween Diran Zakarian and Dylan Lightfoot, with both surfers choosing different approaches to the conditions and the heat. Dylan chose to wait for the good looking waves, only catching three waves in the final, while Diran took off on many waves and went for big moves on every one, making a few and wiping out on a few as well. In the end it was Dylan's approach that saw him walk away victorious with the coveted first win in the series.
"The waves were a lot harder than what they looked. There was a lot of chop on them, and the big ones were no good," said Dylan. "I was looking for the middle waves, the ones that had more potential across the inside. I'm just so stoked with my first win of the year, and am looking forward to the upcoming contest season. This has been an amazing event, and the waves have been so much fun throughout."
The Dennis Ellis Underground Ripper awards of a custom-made surfboard went to both Greg Cuthbert from Knysna, and Danica Stockigt from East London. Greg and Danica had been charging all weekend, and were recognised for their perseverance and high performance surfing in and around the contest arena.
The BOS Surfer Of The Contest went to a very stoked Matt McGillivray, who pulled off two of the biggest and most critical air moves of the entire event.
Dylan Lightfoot got the highest heat score of the event, and won the Nixon WTA Award of a Nixon Supertide watch for his efforts. His score was 16.5 out of a possible 20 points, and Dylan achieved it in the U20 ASP Pro Junior semi-final.
Day one highlights here www.youtube.com/watch
Day two highlights here www.youtube.com/watch
Event hashtag #billabongjnr
U12 Boys Final
1.Tide-Lee Ireland (DBN)
2. York Van Jaarsveld (CT)
3. Christian Venter (CT)
4. Kye MacGregor (Port Alfred)
U14 Girls Final
1. Sophie Bell (DBN)
2. Gabrielle Lailvaux (DBN)
3. Nina Harmse (Mossel Bay)
4. Olivia Izzard (DBN)
U14 Boys Final
1. Max Elkington (CT)
2. Koby Oberholzer (warner beach)
3. Julian Zens (CT)
4. Karl Steen (DBN)
U16 Girls Final
1. Michelle Verreynne (George)
2. Danica Stockigt (EL)
3. Ruth Armstrong (CT)
4. Pippa Jones (Muizenberg)
U16 Boys Final
1. Jordan Maree (Kalk Bay)
2. Alex Van Rijswijck (PE)
3. Jake Elkington (CT)
4. Bevan Willis (DBN)
U18 Girls Final
1. Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach)
2. Jade Story (DBN)
3. Britney Linder (PE)
4. Anoush Zakarian (CT)
U18 Boys Final
1. Matt McGillivray (JBay)
2. Benji Brand (CT)
3. Richard Kidd (DBN)
4. Jerry Van Wyk (JBay)
ASP Pro Junior Womens Final
1. Emma Smith (JBay)
2. Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach)
3. Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay)
4. Jade Mets (DBN)
ASP Pro Junior Mens Final
1. Dylan Lightfoot (JBay)
2. Diran Zakarian (CT)