Quintin van Jaarsveld
A handful of Ugu surfers put themselves on the map with promising performances during the junior international between South Africa and France at Dairy Beach, Durban at the weekend.
Each year, Surfing South Africa (SSA) applies a strict system based on the results of SA Surf Tour, WSL and SA Junior Championships results to select a South African junior squad of Under-18 boys and girls and Under-16 boys and girls.
The 2019 SA junior squad, coached by Chris Bond and Etienne Venter, is made up of nine Under-16 boys and girls, nine Under-18 boys and six Under-18 girls.
These surfers will compete in a selection trial in Port Elizabeth on March 30-31, which will be used to determine the surfers who will represent South Africa at the 2019 ISA World Junior Championships.
This year, SSA decided to give the surfers the opportunity to compete in a friendly contest against a group of French surfers who are holding a training camp in Durban. As there are no Under-18 boys in the French group, the SA Under-18 boys did not compete in Durban.
A group of KwaZulu-Natal surfers drawn from Ugu Surfriders and eThekweni, who are not members of the SA Junior Squad, also got the chance to compete in the event.
Flying the Ugu flag were Under-18 girls competitor Maya Attfield, Under-16 girls ace Jesse Powell and Under-16 boys trio Ayanda Mpisane, Lwando Dlezi and Landon Windvogel.
Another Under-16 wave rider, Jordan Boshoff, was also set to test his skills against the French but broke his arm while skateboarding of the eve of the event. The talented teen underwent surgery on Saturday and will be out for approximately eight weeks.
The competition was strong as expected and the conditions weren’t always easy. The standout South Coaster was Jessie Powell, who took second in the plate final. Attfield and the Under-16 boys also did themselves proud.
South Africa’s Brad Scott, James Ribbink Luke Thompson, Ceara Knight and Tayla de Coning took honours in the tag team event, the French youngsters took gold in the main finals of all three divisions.
Bahia Frediani won the U18 girls main final, Hina Conradi won the U16 girls main final and Noa Ledee won the U16 boys main final.
The top performer in the South African squad was Brad Scott from Kommetjie who produced a fine performance in the difficult conditions to finish second behind Ledee in the U16 boys final.
James Ribbink of Durban North was fourth in this final while Tayla de Coning of East London and Ceara Knight claimed fourth place in the U18 girls and U16 girls main finals respectively.
Kayla Nogueira of Umhlanga won the U16 girls plate final, beating Powell into second and Katie Winter of Kommetjie into third spot.
Luke Thompson of Durban took gold in the U16 boys plate final while Gabi Lailvaux of Westbrook and Leila Steytler of Kommetjie came third and fourth respectively in the U18 girls final.
The main finals in each division featured the surfers who finished first and second in the semi-finals and the third and fourth placed semi-finalists competed in the plate finals.