South Africa’s best young surfers revelled in classic overhead waves that peeled down the fabled rock-lined Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay on Day 3 of the 2014 Hurley SA Junior Champs on Friday.
The powerful new swell that arrived overnight produced 1 to 2 metre waves groomed by light winds that provided the ideal template for the competitors aged 17-and-under to showcase their talent.
There were spectacular performances and several upsets in the battle for prestigious individual national titles and team points.
Shane Sykes, the KwaZulu-Natal Central top seed, was the stand out of the day.
Continuing the momentum from his victory at Seal Point last weekend, Sykes was surfing faster and more radically than his U17 Boys opponents.
He posted the highest single ride score of the day (9.0 out of a possible 10) in his Round 4 encounter by tearing up a long JBay wall and ended with a huge aerial that makes him a frontrunner for the Red Bull Best Air award.
Others who produced impressive performances in the U17 Boys included defending champion Matt McGillivray (EP), Ntando Msibi (Dev Academy), Matthew Sills (SKZN) and Richard Kidd from KZNC, all of whom won their heats.
The biggest upset of the day came in the U15 Boys where Adin Masencamp (Boland) won his Round 3 heat and 2013 champion Ethan Fletcher (WP) was eliminated from the event when Calvin Goor (KZNC) caught one of biggest set waves of the day, punctuated his ride with huge manoeuvres and earned an 8.5 that relegated Fletcher to third place.
Jake Elkington, Ford van Jaarsveldt and Joe Webster (all WP), Sebastian Williams and Jose Faulkner (both EP), Luke Malherbe (Border) and Koby Oberholzer (KZNC) were the others who progressed to the last 16 in the U15 Boys with heat wins.
The potent early morning waves had the administrators and parents of U13 Boys and Girls watching anxiously, and the jetski rescue craft close at hand, while the competitors in the youngest division took to the surf.
But their fears were allayed as the youngsters were fearless in the face of the intimidating conditions.
Solid but slightly smaller waves and light winds are predicted for today with clean offshore winds expected for the final day.