Nearly 100 of South Africa’s best young surfers aged 20-and-under are heading for the surfing Mecca of Jeffreys Bay this week to compete in the inaugural RVCA Junior Series which will be run in the world renowned waves of the Lower Point from Friday to Sunday (22-24 March).
The more than R100 000 in prize-money, prizes and special awards at stake in seven age divisions ranging from Under 10 to U20 for boys and girls, along with points in the 2013 Pro Surf Tour (PST) rankings, has attracted competitors from every corner of the SA coastline and even Mexican supergrom Sebastian Williams, 12.
The 32-man U20 boys’ field is packed with talent including ASP World Tour campaigners David Van Zyl (Glenashley) and the Kommetjie trio of Mikey February and brothers Davey and Benji Brand, alongside national junior team members such as Jeffreys Bay standouts Dylan Lightfoot and Steven Sawyer, Slade Prestwich (Durban North), Mikey Venter (Warner Beach), Max Armstrong (Scarborough) and Diran Zakarian (Melkbosstrand).
Local girls head the U20 girls contingent and current SA U17 champion Gina Smith, her sister Emma and fellow Jeffreys Bay local Tahra Uren will be hoping to see off the challenge from the likes of Nicole Pallet (La Lucia), Inge McLaren (East London) and Nina Woermann (Kenilworth, CT) and scoop the bulk of the prize-money and points on offer.
The highly competitive U16 boys’ division features SA U15 champion and J-Bay local Matt McGillivray, fellow national team members Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay), Steff Burrows (Stellenbosch) and Simo Mhkise (Umzumbe) as well as rising stars Bevan Willis (Umdloti), Nthando Msibi (Durban) and a host of U14 upstarts.
SA U15 champ Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) and national team member Anoush Zakarian (Melkbos) will be tested in the U16 girls at J-Bay by the likes of Olivia Brand (Umdloti), SA U13 champ Sophie Bell (Umhlali) and diminutive 11 year-old local emerging star Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay), amongst others.
All four SA U13 finalists – Adin Masencamp (Strand), Ethan Fletcher (Kommetjie), Jose Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay) and Max Elkington (Hout Bay) – will be in action in the U14 boys division at the RVCA event. They will be up against a talented field that includes Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach), Ford van Jaarsveldt (Kommetjie) and Sebastian Williams (Mexico).
Williams, who will also contest the U16 boys’ category, is visiting the country for the first time with his father, former Durbanite Tim Williams. Arguably the best 12 year-old to compete in SA, Williams was ranked No. 12 in the prestigious 2012 Surfer Mag ‘Hot 100 Groms’ (U16) list, up from 19th in 2011, and has a signature range of Firewire surfboards, a signature Sticky Bumps deckpad, endorses Futures Fins and has his own YouTube channel (YouTube.com/SebastianSurfer) which has received more than 70 000 views since 2009.
The Firewire stand at the event will provide expert advice and have a large selection of these exciting new-age surfboards for any of the competitors to test ride in the surf.
The U12 and U10 boys’ divisions showcase SA’s rising wave of future surf stars including York van Jaarsveldt and Manoa Robb (Kommetjie), Angela Faulkner (J-Bay) and Durbanites Saxton Randall, Tide Lee Ireland and James Ribbink and 20 more.
The RVCA Junior Series combines the subcultures of art, music, fashion and modern lifestyle to encourage young surfers to display creativity, originality and community awareness as well as performing in the waves.
The event incorporates an Instagram competition with an ANP artist onsite creating interactive artwork and motivating the surfers and spectators to get involved on the graffiti wall using the Plascon sponsored paints and stencils.
Special awards for the top performers in the waves include the ‘On-Fire’ awards for the most radical and expressive approach during the event with two competitors each receiving a state of the art Firewire surfboard while the ‘Fly-Away’ award goes to the surfer punting the biggest aerial manoeuvre who wins a trip for two to Jeffreys Bay courtesy of J-Bay Travel and African Perfection.
The surfer posting the highest heat score of the event ‘scores’ an Apple iPad and custom-built Nixon accessories; the surfer carving the biggest turn wins a Sector 9 skateboard; the winner of each division receives a set of Futures Fins and every competitor takes home a goodie bag of merchandise including Nixon headphones, RVCA contest tee, Lundun eyewear, Plascon spray paint, Sticky Bumps wax and loads more.
All activities will be filmed and the photos and videos will be available for free download.
The RVCA Junior Series is sanctioned by Surfing South Africa (SSA), recognised as the national controlling body for surfing and a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA). The events form part of the Pro Surf Tour (PST) with competitors in all the divisions earning points towards their 2013 PST rankings.
All divisions are already full and entries for the event are closed.
The RVCA Junior Series can be followed on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RVCA.South.Africa