The talented Ugu Surfriders team made their presence felt at the 2019 Sea Harvest South African Junior Surfing Championships, which was completed in three-foot offshore surf at Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay on Sunday.
Despite being one of the smaller sides, shy of four surfers (two each in the Under-16 and Under-18 girls divisions), Ugu finished in a commendable sixth place and won the Loud and Proud Spirit trophy.
Under-18 aces Caden Coetsee and Maya Attfield captained the team, which included Louise Lepront (U12 girls), Tyne van Achtenberg, Llewellyn Engelbrecht (both U12 boys), Kira Attfield, Zoey Thompson (both U14 girls), Luc Lepront, Evan Peyios, Axel Anthony, Evan Spittal (all U14 boys), Jesse Powell (U16 girls), Lwando Dlezi, Ayanda Mpisane, Jordy Boshoff, Kalan Springer (all U16 boys), Ziggy Borstlap, Sanele Mbewane and Sibusiso Mkhize (U18 boys).
Coaches Derek Horlock (head coach) and Cody Coetsee had prepared the team well while Claudia Attfield continued her role as team manager.
There were some strong individual performances by the South Coast surfers. Lepront made the final in the Under-12 girls division and bagged a bronze medal, while Engelbrecht reached the semi-final in the Under-12 boys division with some really gutsy surfing, coming fifth overall.
The side’s other semi-finalists were Boshoff and Powell; both showed major improvement over last year and surfed really well against some stiff competition, the former finishing fifth in the Under-16 boys division and the latter seventh in the Under-16 girls division. Kira Attfield reached the quarterfinals in the Under-14 girls division, placing seventh, while Peyios and Spittal finished joint ninth in the Under-14 boys division.
The Buffalo City Surfriders team made history as they recorded their first-ever team title. The closest the East London junior team has ever come to winning the Freedom Cup in the 23 history of the National Junior Championships was in 2003 when they came second at their home break of Nahoon Reef. Last year they were third behind Cape Town Surfriders and eThekweni Surfriders.
The coveted Freedom Cup is awarded to the team accumulating the highest points across all divisions at the five day tournament. Buffalo City’s accumulated 45221 points to runners up Cape Town Surfriders 43264 points. eThekweni were third with 37050 points, hosts Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders were fourth with 36445 points and Cape Winelands Surfriders posted 31597 points for fifth place.
2019 Loud and Proud Team Spirit Award winners, Ugu, were sixth with 28127 points; the Eden Surfriders from the Garden Route scored 26310 points and came seventh while ILembe Surf riders from Northern KZN’s 25575 points gave them eighth place. The small but determined SA Development Academy Team were eighth with 10680 points.
The 23rd edition of this important surfing championship will be remembered for its difficult onshore conditions and small surf on the first four days but the conditions for the finals were good and the vibes throughout the competition were excellent.
The annual Sea Harvest also determines four female and four male South African Champions in the U12, U14, U16 and U18 Divisions. This year Bryce du Perez (Buffalo City) is the U18 Boys champion after beating Karl Steen of eThekwini into second place. JBay local, Angelo Faulkner (Nelson Mandela Bay) was third and Eli Beukes (Cape Town) came fourth.
Female Surfer of the Contest, Tayla de Coning gave the Buffalo City team the double in the premier U18 Division when she beat Gabi Lailvaux (eThekweni) into second place to secure the U18 Girls Championship title. Cape Town Surfriders representatives Caroline Brown and Summer Sutton were third and fourth respectively.
Daniel Emslie took gold in the U16 Boys, final edging Buffalo City Surfriders team mate, Mitch du Preez into second place. Brad Scott (Cape Town) was third and Christian Venter (Cape Winelands) came fourth.
Zoe Steyn (Buffalo City) successfully defended her U16 Girls title beating Kayla Nogueira (eThekweni) into second place. Ceara Knight and Katie Winter (both Cape Town Surfriders) came third and fourth respectively.
2018 U12 Boys Champion Nate Colby (eThekweni) added the U14 Boys title to his growing list of wins when he beat River Gericke (Eden) into the runner-up spot in this division. Joel Dace (Nelson Mandela Bay), who won the TCS – WiFi award and a Samsung Galaxy tablet for his efforts, was third and Connor Slijpen (Cape Town Surfriders) filled the fourth spot.
2018 U12 Champion Sarah Scott ( Cape Town) won gold in the U14 Girls Final this year with South Coaster Mayah Potgieter (ILembe) second, Gemma Hannafey (Buffalo City) third and Scarlette van Jaarsveldt (Cape Town) fourth.
Cooper Smith (ILembe) won the U12 Boys title, Male Surfer of the Contest Levi Kolnik (Cape Town) came second, SA Development Academy Team representative Gordon Falangile was third and Ryan Schoon (Cape Town) came fourth.
The U12 Girls gold went the way of talented Anastasia Venter (Cape Winelands) with plucky Gabbi Herbst (eThekweni) second, tiny Lepront (Ugu) third and gutsy Meka Loots (Buffalo City) taking fourth spot.
The 2019 SA Junior Surfing Championships was sponsored by Sea Harvest, supported by Sport and Recreation SA and powered by TCS – WiFi, the Computer Shop. The Kouga Municipality hosted the event which was presented by Surfing South Africa.