CAPE Town Surfriders triumphed at the 2017 Billabong SA Junior Champs at Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay this Sunday.
Scoring just 63 points more than their arch rivals from eThekweni, they managed to clinch the coveted Freedom Cup for the team accumulating the highest points across all divisions.
The Capetonians also claimed two of the eight individual national titles at stake and provided five of the 32 finalists, earning a total of 42,840 points.
eThekweni (42,777) finished runners-up, with hosts and defending team champions Nelson Mandela Bay (41,792) in third place and Buffalo City (40,277) in fourth. They were followed in the team standings by Cape Winelands, Ugu, Eden, debutants Ilembe and the SA Development Academy.
Ford Van Jaarsveldt (Cape Town Surfriders) was consistent throughout the u.18 boysâ€™ division, winning every single heat he contested. He was elated to improve on his runner up position in the u.17 boysâ€™ division at SA champs last year by claiming the premier boysâ€™ title this year.
Nelson Mandela Bay surfer Joshe Faulkner was relegated to second place by a mere 0.21 of a point leaving Koby Oberholzer (eThekweni) and Adin Masencamp (Cape Winelands) in third and fourth places respectively.
Kirsty McGillivray (Nelson Mandela Bay) added another SA title to her name with her powerful and precise surfing, capturing the crown in the dying seconds of the u.18 girlsâ€™ final. Nina Harmse (Eden) maintained her runner-up berth from last year while goofy foot Natasha Van Greunen (Cape Winelands) finished third above her teammate Sarah Ingram in a heat with few waves.
After a heat total of 19.47 in his semi final earlier in the day, Eli Beukes had unshakeable confidence in the u.16 boys final, sealing his title with a big air-reverse on his last wave.
Aya Gericke (Eden) read the waves beautifully for a second place finish above Saxton Randall (eThekweni). After a rocky start Angelo Faulkner (Nelson Mandela Bay) went for broke with a huge aerial manoeuvre but was unable to stick the landing and had to settle for fourth place.
The talented u.16 girls had a slow final but Nelson Mandela Bay surfer and JBay local Kai Woolf knew just the right waves to pick to claim another SA title with her ferocious backhand attack. Runner-up Sâ€™nenhlanhla Makhubu (eThekweni) was a good match for Woolf on her backhand and she held the highest single score in the final, an 8.5, but struggled to find a heat winning back up ride. Tayla De Coning (Buffalo City) was narrowly bumped to third place with Summer Sutton (Cape Town Surfriders) finishing fourth.
The u.14 boys were blowing up throughout the contest, but in the end it was Buffalo Cityâ€™s Mitch Du Preez who claimed his first SA title with a total of 16.44, despite only surfing three waves in the 20 minute final. Teammate Daniel Emslie finished close behind in second place ahead of Luke Thompson (eThekweni) and Kye Macgregor (Nelson Mandela Bay).
ZoÃ« Steyn (Buffalo City) had a fantastic final in the u14 girls, dominating proceedings and winning with a 16.33 heat total. Katie Winter (Cape Town Surfriders) finished in second place leaving Lhea Johnston (Buffalo City) and Ceara Knight (Cape Winelands) in third and fourth place respectively.
The u.12 groms were a pleasure to watch as they fearlessly charged the overhead waves. In the girls final Gabbi Herbst (eThekweni) held the lead with a series of great scores while Scarlette Van Jaarsveldt (Cape Town Surfriders) earned a well warranted second place in her first SA champs. In third was Nelson Mandela Bay rider Zia Hendricks and in fourth was Maya Figl (Cape Winelands).
The charismatic Kyra Bennie (Cape Winelands) was chaired from the waterâ€™s edge to the podium by his teammates after taking out the u.12 boysâ€™ title. Nate Colby (eThekweni), who on Saturday scored the only perfect ten-point ride of the contest, finished runner-up while Ethan Currin (Buffalo City) edged into third place ahead of River Gericke (Eden).
There were a number of specialty awards at stake with newly crowned SA u.16 boysâ€™ champ Eli Beukes (Cape Town Surfriders) claiming both the BOS Highest Heat Score and the VonZipper Airshow prizes. The Wazoogles Surfer of the Event for Boys went to Nate Colby (eThekweni) and for Girls to Caroline Brown (Cape Town Surfriders). The Skull Candy Loud Proud trophy for the team displaying the best spirit throughout the five-day event went to the enthusiastic team from Ugu on the KZN South Coast.