The vice-president of Surfing South Africa, Johnny Bakker, announced that top Eastern Cape surfers, Dylan Lightfoot and Gina Smith, will be captaining the 2013 South African Junior Surfing team as they head to Nicaragua next month. Here they will compete in the 2013 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, a prestigious surfing event that is regarded as the “Olympics” of junior surfing. Dylan Lightfoot and Gina Smith, selected as captain and vice-captain respectively, were honoured with these titles during a formal ceremony held in Durban, where the official hand over of the Protea blazers to the members of SA Junior Surfing team took place.
Johnny Bakker from Port Elizabeth is the manager for the 2013 SA Junior Surfing team which consists of the following members:
- U18 Boys: Benji Brand, Dylan Lightfoot (Captain), Diran Zakarian and Josh Smit
- U18 girls: Gina Smith (Vice Captain) and Nicole Pallet
- U16 Boys: Matt Mc Gillivray, Jordan Maree, Steffan Burrows and Shame Sykes
- U16 Girls: Chanelle Botha and Anoush Zakarian.
Chris Knutsen, the ISA World masters champ of 2013 and four times World Champ, personally handed over the Protea blazers and gave an inspirational speech to the team members. Ettienne Venter, manager of the 2013 SA Senior Surfing team who brought home a gold team medal from the ISA World Surfing Games in Panama earlier this month, also said a few motivational words. His main advice was that the team members must form a strong bond supporting one another to push them through to gold. Dylan and Gina were all ears, as they lapped up the leadership advice, knowing that this would fall under their responsibility.
“I am so honoured to be selected as the Vice-Captain of the 2013 SA Junior Surfing Team and am stoked to help Dylan lead the team to achieve great results over in Nicaragua,” said Billabong Team Rider, Gina Smith. “Dylan and I have been friends for a long time. We work well together and I think this will work to our advantage. We’re hoping to follow the footsteps of the 2013 SA Senior Surfing team and bring home the gold for South Africa.”
Dylan and Gina are also hosting a fundraiser in Port Elizabeth this Friday evening at Chingadas. Here they hope to raise some money to contribute towards the costs involved in going to Nicaragua to represent South Africa and the Eastern Cape even more so. The event is sponsored by big brands such as Billabong, Fox, VonZipper, Nixon, Kustom and Dakine, who have put up some awesome items for an auction that will be held on the night. Gina and Dylan are positive that locals from Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay will come out in full force and support their event, like only Eastern Cape locals can.
The ISA World Junior Surfing Championship (WJSC) is an International Surfing Association (ISA) World Championship that showcases the world’s best young surfers in five divisions—Team, Under-18 Boys, Under-16 Boys, Under-18 Girls, and Under-16 Girls. The 2013 ISA WJSC is scheduled for June 8-16 at Jiquiliste Beach in Tola, Nicaragua.
The SA Junior Surfing team, who leaves for the World Junior Surfing Championship on the 1st of June, has been in Durban on a training camp for the past week. The training camp started with the Volcom competition in Durban with the coaches Graham Hynes and Ant Brodowicz keeping a close eye on each team member. Shane Sykes won the U16 division with Matt Mc Gillivray in 2nd, Dylan Lightfoot and Nicole Pallet both securing a second place in the U20 boys and girls division respectfully.
From Tuesday to Thursday the team trained daily with coaches and Wade Botha who assisted the surfers in warming up techniques and fitness. After a grueling three days of training the boys entered the Quicksilver King of the groms for their final training session. Team members Diran Zakarian won the U20 Jnr division, with Dylan Lightfoot placing a 3RD and Jordy Mare in 2nd place in the U16 division. Unfortunately girls cannot enter this competition.