Lower Point, Jeffreys Bay – It was young JJ Van Seumeren from East London who caught the first wave of the RVCA Junior Challenge 2014, opening up the biggest junior surfing event in the country, amongst great Lower Point waves, burning sun and crowds of competitors, spectators and family
Early standouts were Keegan Wright from Durban and Alex Van Rijswicjk from Port Elizabeth in the U20 divisions, while Ford Van Jaarsveldt and Jake Elkington from Hout Bay were two standouts in the U16 Boys division.
Heat 4 of the Boys U16 round of 32 was the most exciting heat of the round, with Joshe Faulkner (JBay), Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach), Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay) and Josh Stow (JBay) battling it out in the perfect, reeling right-handers. Jordy came on strong from the beginning, and climbed into the lead with a long ride coring 6.75. He backed it up with the identical score, and with two 6.75 rides he held the lead with 13.5 points out of a possible 20. Talented Warner Beach surfer Koby Oberholzer finished off in second, and being eliminated from the U16 division were the two JBay locals in Joshe Faulkner and Josh Stow.
“The waves were really good out there actually,” said Jordy Maree. “I felt pretty good during my heat and picked up a few decent ones. I’ve actually been a bit out of rhythm this week after last week’s event, but I felt my rhythm come back yesterday and now I’m feeling strong again.”
International surfer Sebastian Williams, a South African who was brought up and who learned his surfing approach from the waves of Mexico, also showed form in the Boys U16 round of 32. Williams won his heat with relative ease and seemed to be having a whole lot of fun in the water.
In the U20 Girls round of 24 it was Teal Hogg from Umhlanga who was killing it in the first heat, and other stand outs in this early round was Jade Mets, Pippa Jones and, all having fun in the long, winding right-handers of Lower Point. Only having two divisions in U14 and U20, many of the girls are surfing out of their divisions, and this competitive environment is impetus for them to step up and impress.
The U20 Boys round of 32 was an action-packed affair, with surfers starting to think about that wildcard slot in the JBU Supertrial presented by RVCA. Slade Prestwich from Durban was the first surfer to really find form, racking up a 7 point ride and a 6.25 to give him a 13.25 points out of a possible 20 and the heat win.
“It was pretty good out there, and I started off with that seven point ride, so I felt strong,” said Prestwich. “After that I tried to go and site wide where the good ones were. I paddled the guys up the point a bit and tried to get back to the wide spot, because there was some good scoring potential on the wide ones. My second scoring wave was a good backup 6.25, so it’s all going well so far.”
In the late afternoon heats it was local surfer Matt McGillivray who was in blistering form in his backyard. He won his U20 heat with ease and is looking like a possible contender for the JBU Supertrial wildcard slot. Other surfers in U20 round of 32 who were on form were aerial kid Diran Zakarian, and Dylan Lightfoot who won the final heat of the day with some fast surfing.
The ping-pong table was alive all afternoon, good sounds were emanating from the RVCA control centre, and the spectators and surfers alike were enjoying the balmy Autumn weather in JBay.
By Craig Jarvis