Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard Travel- Top Seeds Dominate Opening Round
Contenders Fight Back with Upsets in Round 2
The top seeds dominated the opening round of the Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard Travel at Willard Beach in Ballito on Tuesday, racking up great scores in the punchy, early morning beach break conditions.
But the contenders fought back as the onshore wind and an incoming tide brought an element of luck to wave selection resulting in several of favourites for the titles being eliminated from the World Surf League (WSL) JQS1,000 men’s and women’s events.
WSL Africa junior men’s rankings leader Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) maintained his challenge for a fourth title this year by winning both his encounters, combining excellent manoeuvres with savvy wave choices to advance to the last eight and another keeper result in the chase for the coveted Billabong Junior Series U18 men’s title.
Defending event champion Adin Masencamp (Strand) is also through to the semifinals after back-to-back heat wins. The current rankings No. 2 will come up against Brazilian whizz-kid Samuel Pupo who was the day’s standout performer.
Hailing from Maresias, a beach town between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro that is not unlike Ballito, Pupo displayed all his aerial skills in his opening clash, flying high above the lip to record scores of 8.33 and 9.33 for the highest heat total of the day, 17,66 out of 20.
Others to safely negotiate their way through two rounds included brothers Joshe and Angelo Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay), Ethan Fletcher (Kommetjie) and East London’s Bryce du Preez and Luke Malherbe
Defending junior women’s champ Zoe McDougall (HAW) was on fire in her first heat, seamlessly linking powerful turns together as she charged to the highest scores of the JQS1,000 women’s event. McDougall then had to dig deep to hang on to second place in Round 2, finishing behind local standout Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) who made full use of her knowledge to grab the heat win in the tricky afternoon conditions.
Emerging Durban talent S’Nenhlanhla Makhubu grabbed the runner-up spot behind McDougall in Round 1 and then delivered a heat winning performance in Round 2 to book a spot in the last eight.
In the bottom half of the draw Pacha Luque-Light (AUS) continued her march towards another great result in South Africa before Zoe Steyn (East London) and Sarah Ingram (Cape Town) upset current No. 2 Kayla Nogueira (uMhlanga).
The U16 boy’s event completed the four heats of Round 1 with Dominic Southwood (Salt Rock), Aya Gericke (Wilderness) and Durbanites Tide-Lee Ireland and Karl Steen emerging victorious. They will take on the top eight seeded surfers in the SA Surf Tour rated event when the competition resumes on Wednesday.
The 20th edition of the Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard travel is the opening event in the Ballito Pro Surf Festival that runs until 9 July and includes the SSA Ballito Trials presented by Billabong, the QS1,000 Ballito Women’s Pro presented by Billabong and the QS10,000 Ballito Pro presented by Billabong.
More Info on Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard – Top Seeds Dominate Opening Round here: http://www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za