Bianca Buitendag, who finished her maiden season on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour ranked No 8 and claimed the 2013 Rookie of the Year title, heads the ASP Africa challenge at the HD World Junior Championships presented by Devassa at Joaquina Beach in Florianopolis, Brazil this week.
The event crowns the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Junior Champions for Men and Women aged 20-and-under and has witnessed the emergence of some of surfing’s greatest champions including reigning ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS), 32, the late Andy Irons (HAW), Adriano de Souza (BRA), 26, South Africa’s Jordy Smith, 25, and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS) and Pauline Ado (FRA).
Buitendag produced an incredible rookie year at the highest level of the sport, reaching one semi-final and three quarter-finals along with two 9th place finishes and only two first round exits in the eight events. She also won the Women’s Pro Junior title at the US Open of Surfing and goes into the HD World Junior Champs as the women’s No 1 seed.
“Winning the World Juniors would mean I had the perfect season,” Buitendag said. “I have been to two World Junior Champs and have come second twice. If I have an opportunity, I am going to make the most of it.”
Buitendag has gained priceless experience during her season among the ASP Top 17 and is well prepared for a run at the ASP World Junior Title.
“A lot has changed since I won the event in Narrabeen (2011),” Buitendag said. “At that point in my life I was in the process of deciding what I wanted to do after school. So after that event, a lot of doors have opened for me and the question was answered of what I wanted to do. Now I am here again two years later and I would never have imagined making it this far.”
The 19 year-old from George in the Southern Cape will be joined in the 18-women field by Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) who gets her opportunity after original selection Sarah Baum withdrew from the event. With no other 20-and-under girls in the ASP rankings, ASP Africa offered the second spot to Surfing South Africa who nominated Smith as their representative.
The ASP Africa men’s squad is headed by Diran Zakarian (Melkbosstrand), winner of the ASP rated Quiksilver Pro Junior in Durban in May. He will be joined by Slade Prestwich (Durban), winner of the Volcom VQS World Finals in Fiji in June, and Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) who has posted a string of impressive results while competing in ASP Prime and Star rated events this year.
Also included are David van Zyl (Glenashley), Michael February (Kommetjie) and Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) who earned their invitations to the ASP World Junior Championships as the top local juniors on the ASP World Rankings who had not already qualified.
The 48-man field is headed by Ramzi Boukhiam (Morocco) with Joao Abreu and fellow Brazilian and ASP WCT standout Gabriel Medina the second and third seeds. At No 11 Lightfoot is the highest seeded Saffa followed by Van Zyl (13), February (14), Sawyer (28), Prestwich (33) and Zakarian (45).
Other highly rated men’s contenders include Carlos Munoz (CRI), Mike Banting (AUS), Jesse Mendes and Caio Ibelli (both Brazil), Keanu Asing (HAW), Vasco Ribeiro (PRT), Oney Anwar (IND) and Jack Halstead (USA).
The Women’s HD World Junior Championships presented by Devassa holds a waiting period from October 27 through November 3, while the men’s waiting period runs from October 29 through November 5. The start of the event has been plagued by stormy weather and action is expected to get underway tomorrow (Tuesday).
Watch the HD World Junior Championships presented by Devassa LIVE via http://www.hd-wjc.com/ starting at around 12 noon SA time daily.
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
HD WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS WOMEN’S ROUND 1 MATCH UPS:
Heat 1: Frankie Harrer (USA), Reika Noro (JPN), Melanie Giunta (PER)
Heat 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) Chelsea Tuach (USA) Minato Takahashi (JPN)
Heat 3: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) Miluska Tello (PER) Lucia Cosoleto (ARG)
Heat 4: Mahina Maeda (HAW) Carol Fernandes (BRA) Marina Rezende (BRA)
Heat 5: Joanne Defay (FRA) Ella Williams (NZL) Emma Smith (ZAF)
Heat 6: Stephanie Single (AUS) Leticia Canales Bilbao (EUK) Dax McGill (HAW)
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Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
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About ASP: The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the recognized world governing body of professional surfing and has been crowning surfing’s undisputed World Champions since 1976. The ASP sanctions and crowns World Champions for the following tours: the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women’s World Tour, ASP World Junior Tour, ASP World Longboard and Masters Championships. The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts and other media platforms. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Japan, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.