Lower Point, Jeffreys Bay – The waves were on the small side for day 2 of the RVCA Junior Challenge, but they were clean, and they were running down the point and allowing the best junior surfers in the country plenty of scope for some big scores.
The first heat of the day was the first U20 Boys quarter, and it was a close affair from the get-go. Yesterday’s stand out surfer Slade Prestwich was first up, banging a smaller set wave for a solid score of 6 points. He followed up with a slightly bigger set wave for 7.25 and the heat was his. The excitement lay in the fight for second place. Ford Van Jaarsveldt from Kommetjie was having a solid heat and holding a strong second place, but in the dying minutes of the heat, third placed Mikey Venter from Durban paddled into a decent looking wave and rode it all the way through to the inside, executing multiple maneuvers for a 5.25. The score saw him jump to second place, with Ford dropping to third and thus falling out of the U20 division. No shame, at 15 years of age he has plenty of time ahead of him for competition success.
“I was so shaky on my last wave,” said Mikey Venter after the heat. “I nearly bogged on two turns, and I knew that I needed a decent score so I couldnt afford to fall off. I was so stoked to get through that heat.”
In quarter final number 4 there was a distinct lack of waves on the dropping tide, with the surfers scratching for scores. Local surfer Dylan Lightfoot picked up a good score with a 6 point ride, but was left without a back-up wave as the time counted down. He eventually managed to put a 3-pointer on the scoreboard to win his heat. Ethan Pentz (Kalk Bay) was in second with Jerry Van Wyk (JBay) and Diran Zakarian (Melkbos) eliminated.
“That was a stressful heat,” said Lightfoot after the heat. “There were so few waves in that heat and I was desperate for a second one. There’s also a light north wind coming up, which is not making it any easier. I’m through though, so all good.”
In the Girls U20’s quarters, the waves were scarce again, as a light onshore picked up, but Nicole Pallet from La Lucia was the surfer of the round, finding good flow and speed in the small conditions. She won her heat and advanced through to the semi finals, along with Emma Smith (JBay), Robyn Van Der Merwe (PE), Jade Mets (Mt Edgecombe), Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach), Pippa Jones (Marina Da Gama), Gina Smith (JBay) and Olivia Brand from Umdloti.
At 11 am, on cue, the Plascon Paint Wall opened up officially for business, and it was brightly-coloured madness for a little while with everyone climbing onboard to show their art skills and talents.
The afternoon saw the wind swing back to the west, and it was time for the youngsters to hit the water, with the U10 Boys, the U12 Boys, and the U14 Girls and Boys getting out amongst it. In the third U12 Boys quarter final young York Van Jaarsveldt from Kommetjie turned on the gas and won easily, beating James Ribbink from Durban into second, with both of them advancing into the semi finals. “I was really happy to get through that heat,” said York after the heat, “I’m also really stoked that my friend James got through as well.”
The waves began to pulse throughout the late afternoon, with the odd wide set providing some of the competitors good opportunities for high scores. With a slight lift in swell and another beautiful day predicted for the final day of competition tomorrow, expectations are high for a great finish of the RVCA Junior Challenge.
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