The penultimate day of the 2017 Billabong SA Champs saw the semi-finalists decided in another action packed day of excellent, rippable surf at the Point in Jeffreys Bay yesterday.
The beach was alive with cheers from the various district teams as they got behind their teammates, knowing that a spot on finals day will be valuable to their team standings.
The U18 boy’s quarterfinals were a blur of high quality surfing that saw seasoned competitors Ford Van Jaarsveldt (Cape Town Surfriders) and Adin Masencamp (Cape Winelands) shred their way to the semis along with Koby Oberholzer (eThekweni), Joshe Faulkner (Nelson Mandela Bay), Ethan Fletcher (Cape Town Surfriders) and Nathan Wallace (eThekweni).
Zoe Steyn (Buffalo City) once again dominated on her backhand in the U14 girls’ quarterfinals whilst dark-horse Jesse Powell (Ugu) managed to eliminate former SA champ Kayla Nogueira (eThekweni) in a major upset.
Lhea Johnston (Buffalo City) and Ceara Knight (Cape Winelands) will be joining Cape Town Surfriders teammates Caroline Brown and Katie Winter on the final day of competition.
The fact that five near perfect high nine-point rides have been posted in the U16 girls division demonstrates the high level of surfing.
JBay local Kai Woolf and Julia Ploughman (Cape Town Surfriders) were the first semi finalists to be decided before S’nenhlanhla Makhubu (eThekweni) began her heat with a near-perfect 9.83 and left the rest of the heat in combination.
Joining them in the semi finals will be Tayla De Coning (Buffalo City), Summer Sutton (Cape Town Surfriders), Juliet Fliet (Cape Winelands) and eThekweni team members Gabi Lailvaux and Olivia Izzard.
A slight onshore wind and increase in swell gave the U18 girls had plenty to work with. Nelson Mandela Bay’s Kirsty McGillivray, Kelly Medley and Zoe Smith were right at home in their backyard and soared their way to the semi’s.
Eden ladies Taghiti Gerick and Nina Harmse will be in action in the semi’s too alongside Cape Wineland surfers Sarah Ingram and Natasha Van Greunen.
The U12 girls put on another gutsy performance in their Round 2 match-ups. Gabi Herbst (eThekweni) and Maya Figl (Cape Winelands) surfed their way to the semi finals.
A change in schedule saw the girls hit the water again at the end of the day. Scarlette Van Jaarsveldt (Cape Town Surfriders) advanced to the final with Herbst.
Zia Hendricks (Nelson Mandela Bay) and Figl both dropped excellent scores in the second semi and will be in the mix for the title.
The U14 boys displayed some excellent and precise surfing and it was the on form eThekweni members Nate Spalding and Luke Thompson who progressed with Kye Macgregor (Nelson Mandela Bay), Brad Scott (Cape Town Surfriders) and Buffalo City surfers Daniel Emslie and Mitch Du Preez.
The semi finals for the U16 boys could each be a final.
Semi 1 will be Angelo Faulkner (Nelson Mandela Bay), Saxton Randall (eThekweni) and Cape Town Surfriders Max Elkington and Luke Slijpen while Semi 2 will be just as exciting with Tide Lee Ireland (eThekweni), Aya Gericke (Eden), Bryce Du Preez (Buffalo City) and Eli Beukes (Cape Town Surfriders).
To end off the day the U12 boys’ finalists were decided. Kyra Bennie (Cape Winelands), Nate Colby (eThekweni), who posted the first perfect 10 point ride of the event, River Gericke (Eden) and Ethan Currin (Buffalo City) will be battling out for the SA title on today.
Organisers are expecting a slight bump in swell size and offshore winds for tomorrow’s final day as the country’s top juniors compete for individual titles in U12, U14, U16 and U18 boys and girls divisions, while earning points towards the coveted Freedom Cup that goes to the district whose team accumulate the highest total.