It was the turn of the country’s top young female surfers to light up the waves at the Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay as an overhead Easterly swell and offshore winds combined to deliver excellent conditions for Day 2 of the Billabong SA Junior Champs on Thursday.
Girls in the U17, U15 and U13 divisions went ballistic on the long lines of swell peeling down the rocky point as they started their campaigns for individual national titles and the prized Freedom Cup team trophy at the country’s premier surf location.
The U17 Girls were first up and 2015 U15 champion Kirsty McGillivray (Nelson Mandela Bay) showed she will be a force to be reckoned with again this year.
The Jeffreys Bay local used her local knowledge to catch the best waves and executed flawless bottom turns and sweeping cutbacks to post a heat-winning performance and advance directly to Round 3.
“The waves were really fun this morning so I was just amped to go have a fun surf,” said McGillivray. “I didn’t really worry about the other competitors, just focused on my own surfing, and it paid off.”
Sophie Bell (eThekweni), who also moved up a division after finishing runner-up in the U15’s last year, was just as impressive in the second heat of the day.
Finding waves with plenty of wall to work on, Bell used her signature vertical top to bottom repertoire of manoeuvres to grab victory.
Taghiti Gericke and Nina Harmse, both representing the Eden district, then posted back-to back heat wins for their team before the U15 girls took over the line-up.
Summer Sutton and Maya Shefer Boswell from Cape Town Surfriders, the defending Freedom Cup holders, revelled in the conditions and earned victories, as did rapidly rising standout S’Nenhlanhla Makhubu (eThekweni).
Kai Woolf from hosts Nelson Mandela Bay delivered a dazzling display of backhand surfing, throwing plenty of spray as she carved multiple turns off the top of the waves to win her heat, with Amy Launder (Eden) emerging victorious in the last heat of the round.
Round 2 of the U15 Girls division was run at the end of the day’s action and saw Chalize Coetsee (Ugu), Kira Bester (Cape Winelands) and Hannah Moerdyk (Buffalo City) keep their hopes of higher honours alive by advancing to Round 3.
They were joined by Juliet Fiet and Beth Ingram (both Cape Winelands) and Claire Haskins (Ugu) from the second heat.
The U13 Girls made full use of the opportunity of having just three rivals in the line-up as the waves continued to pump and Ceara Knight (Cape Town Surfriders), Kayla Nogueira (eThekweni) and Zoe Steyn (Buffalo City) won their respective Round 1 heats.
Round 2 of the U17 Boys division saw those who finished outside the top two in their opening encounters yesterday get another chance and the likes of Jamie Irvine and Brody Rudling (both eThekweni), Cape Town Surfriders’ Joe Webster and Andrew Laverge from the SA Development Academy team made amends with heat-winning displays.
Thomas Lindhorst and Keegan Mitchell (both Buffalo City) and Sam Bennie and Julian Zens (both Cape Winelands) were the heat winners in the U15 Boys’ Round 2.