The Lower Point at Jeffreys Bay provided clean contestable conditions for the opening day of the 2014 Hurley South African Junior Surfing Championships on Wednesday.
The small waves favoured the light-footed competitors and with hordes of surfers and their supporters lining the rocky point and overlooking dunes, J-Bay local and Eastern Province top seed Matt McGillivray gave his teammates plenty of reason to cheer as he started the defence of his Under-17 boys title by winning the first heat of the event.
McGillivray and heat runner-up Bevan Willis (KwaZulu-Natal Central) advanced directly to Round Three of the division while third and fourth placed Rigter Markgraaff (Boland) and Brandon Lange (Southern KZN) will compete again in cutthroat 15-minute Round Two heats on Thursday.
Eking every ounce of energy out of the waves, the provincial top seeds held sway in most heats with Donovan Wichmann from defending Freedom Cup holders Western Province, Shane Sykes (KZNC), Michael Monk (Border) and Matthew Sills (SKZN) all winning their respective match-ups.
The Under-15 boys heats followed a similar pattern with Sebastian Williams from hosts Eastern Province, Jake Elkington (WP), Adin Masencamp (Boland), Koby Oberholzer (KZNC) and Luke Malherbe (Border) all finishing on top in their clashes.
Defending Under-15 boys champion Ethan Fletcher (WP) posted some of the highest scores of the day while Paul Sampson from the SA Development Academy caused the biggest upset by racking up a comprehensive heat win and booking a berth in Round Three.
The enthusiasm on the beach was electric as the various teams loudly supported their teammates in the surf.
KwaZulu-Natal Central have included Zulu warrior Bonginkosi Ntuli in their team and his energetic performances in full regalia on the beach every time a KwaZulu-Natal Central surfer was competing will certainly contribute towards the team’s chances of capturing the coveted Skullcandy Team Spirit Award, won by Southern KwaZulu-Natal last year.