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Bianca Buitendag wins Pro Junior women’s event and 2009 Billabong Junior Series title

September 25th, 2009
Bianca Buitendag (George) on her way to victory in the Pro Junior women's division of the Billabong Junior Series event - Photo: Moonrocket / Billabong

Bianca Buitendag (George) on her way to victory in the Pro Junior women's division of the Billabong Junior Series event - Photo: Moonrocket / Billabong

2009 Billabong Junior Series
Event No. 3 of 3 on South Africa’s premier national junior surfing series
Victoria Bay, Southern Cape
September 23-26, 2009

Bianca Buitendag, 15, confirmed her credentials as one of South Africa’s foremost female surfers by defeating Chantelle Rautenbach in the final of Pro Junior women’s event on Day 3 of the Billabong Junior Series. 

The Southern Cape local steadily built her total during the final, starting with a flurry of low scoring rides before posting her title winning total of 15.0 out of 20 by scoring 7.25 and 7.75 on her last two rides. The victory in the Grade 1, ASP rated event earned Buitendag US $1 000 (approx. R7 500) and clinched the coveted 2009 Billabong Junior Series Pro Junior women’s title after her victory in the first event of the year in Scottburgh.

Buitendag started the day’s action by finishing second behind arch-rival and fellow 15-year-old Sarah Baum (Athlone Park) in the four-person quarterfinals but then reversed that result in the one-on-one semis to advance to the final. Rautenbach (Melkbosstrand) followed a similar route, qualifying for the semis in second place behind Tarryn Chudleigh (Kommetjie) before overcoming the WQS campaigner from Kommetjie to set up the finale against Buitendag.

Baum, with her victory in the first ASP Pro Junior women’s event to held in SA in May and her third place here, wrapped up the 2009 ASP Africa Pro Junior women’s title and receives the prestigious invitation to the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships in Sydney, Australia, for the second successive year.

Small waves forced the organisers to move the event from Victoria Bay to the nearby beach-break of Herold’s Bay and it proved an inspired decision when hip to head high predominantly left-breaking waves, sunshine and light winds combined to provide an ideal setting for the country’s best 20-and-under surfers to display their talent as the event moved towards its conclusion.

The Round of 16 in the ASP Grade 2, R75 000 Pro Junior men’s event produced fireworks from the outset when unseeded Shawn Dennis (Durban) and Bertie Stuurman (Jeffreys Bay), both of whom started in Round 1, eliminated No. 4 seed Shaun Joubert (Mossel Bay) and Kyle Beach (Queensburgh).

Heat 2 saw top seed Casey Grant (Scottburgh) and Beyrick de Vries (Umhlanga) lead throughout to dispatch No. 5 seed Kyle Lane (Umhlanga) and Matt Bromley (Kommetjie). The next heat began dramatically when Chris Leppan (Umhlanga) was given an interference penalty on his first ride and then posting an excellent 9.0 points on his next ride. With only half of his second best ride counting, Leppan still held on to win the heat and advance to the man-on-man quarter-finals along with second placed Klee Strachan (Winkelspruit).

Dale Staples (St Francis Bay) and Chad du Toit (Durban) progressed from the fourth heat to set up an exciting final day of competition on Saturday with eight surfers still in contention for the event crown, while the permutations for the 2009 Billabong Junior Series and ASP Africa Pro Junior titles and the top four ranked men who will join Baum in Sydney are still wide open.

The U16 boy’s quarterfinals produced great surfing and a major upset when top seed Michael February (Kommetjie) was dumped out of the event by Dane Staples (St Francis Bay) and fellow Kommetjie ripper Jarred Veldhuis, who snatched second place with a last minute 6.75. Dylan Lightfoot cruised to victory in his encounter and fellow Jeffreys Bay competitor Steven Sawyer opened with a 7.5 and then sat for 18 minutes waiting for a second ride, eventually taking the heat win with a 3.5 with two minutes to go.

The results of the U14 boys went mostly to the top seeds with Benji Brand (Kommetjie), Slade Prestwich (Scottburgh), Josh Smit (Athlone Park) and Diran Zakarian (Melkbosstrand) taking the heat wins. The only upset came when George local Daniel Buitendag, winner of the Billabong Occy Grom Comp in Jeffreys Bay, the second leg of the 2009 series, was pipped by Brandon Benjamin (Retreat) for a spot in the tomorrows semis.

The youngest division, the U12 boys, saw rising star Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay) record the highest heat total of the day when he racked up successive rides of 7.25, 8.0, 8.5 and 9.0, leaving him ‘throwing away’ the lowest two scores which would have won nearly every other heat on the day. Maree will be joined by heat winners Ethan Fletcher (Kommetjie), Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) and Donovan Wichmann (Marina da Gama) and their respective runners-up when the semis take to the surf on Saturday.

With small surf expected tomorrow, organisers will make a decision at first light on where to hold the final day of competition. The program features the quarterfinals of the Pro Junior men followed by the semifinals and finals of all four divisions before the spectacular Von Zipper Air Show completes the action in the surf.

The awards ceremony, where the Billabong Junior Series champions in all divisions will be crowned for the 13th consecutive year, will be staged at the Ster Kinekor complex in George starting at 5pm. The South African premiere of the award winning surf movie ‘Still Filthy’ will take place immediately after the awards have been announced.

Video footage, images, results and news from the event are available daily at www.billabong.com. The TV documentary produced by Silver Bullet Productions will be broadcast on the DSTV channel Vuzu.

The U16, U14 and U12 events in the Billabong Junior Series form part of the Pro Surf Tour (PST) sanctioned by Surfing South Africa (SSA), the national controlling body for the sport. The internationally rated Pro Junior events are sanctioned by ASP Africa, the regional office for ASP International.

Other prizes will be awarded daily courtesy of Von Zipper, Kustom and Billabong.

Billabong Events & Contest Coordinator Laureen Payne can be contacted for queries at 042 200 2600 / 072 898 1001 / laureen.payne@billabong.co.za

The 2009 Billabong Junior Series started in Scottburgh (8-11 April) and continued with the inaugural Billabong Occy Grom Comp in Jeffreys Bay (9-15 July). The series concludes at Victoria Bay (23-26 September) where the series champions will be crowned for the 13th time.

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Issued on behalf of:

Billabong South Africa
Tel:    042 200 2600
Fax:    042 293 2478
Email:   laureen.payne@billabong.co.za

Compiled & Issued by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie, 7976 South Africa
Tel / Fax:     +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile:        +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email:          lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

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