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Unprecedented four medal haul for Team SA at Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in Peru

May 29th, 2011

The South African junior surfing team claimed an unprecedented four medals at the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships which was completed in wild two to three metre waves at Punta Hermosa in Peru yesterday (Saturday).

Team SA finished runner-up to hosts Peru to claim the team silver medal for the first time and also provided a finalist in each of the three individual divisions with Dylan Lightfoot and Bianca Buitendag earning silver medals in the U16 Boys and U18 Girls respectively while team captain Davey Brand took the bronze in the U18 Boys.

In an inspiring comeback after seven SA surfers were eliminated in Day 5 action on Thursday, the five remaining team members produced stellar performances on the last two days to put the country back into contention for the team gold medal. However, it was not to be and the local knowledge of the host nation, Peru, paid off on the final day as the size of the waves grew to challenging proportions.

Dylan Lightfoot came within 30 seconds of claiming SA’s first individual junior gold medal in the event since Jordy Smith in 2003. Starting the final day in Round 8 of the U16 Boys Repecharge, the 16 year-old from Eastern Province blasted his way through three consecutive heats in the rising surf,  including a confidence boosting heat win in the repecharge final, to reach the Grand Final,.

Lightfoot led for the majority of the 25 minute final encounter after posting the heat’s highest scoring ride of a 6.50 plus a 4.72, both out of 10. This gave him the lead going into the final minutes even though he and Peru’s Joaquín del Castillo were tied on identical two-wave tallies of 11.22 out of 20.

But while the leading pair battled for position in the heaving whitewater covered lineup, Brazil’s Felipe Toledo, needing 6.03 points for victory, slipped inside and racked up a series of manoeuvres on a smaller wave, finishing with a small aerial to be awarded 6.08 points and the gold medal by 0.06 of a point.

Bianca Buitendag started her final day campaign in the same situation as Lightfoot, three heats away from the Grand Final in the U18 Girls repecharge rounds. Undaunted the talented teenager from South Cape finished second behind Canelle Bulard in two heats before scoring a satisfying win over the French girl in the repecharge final.

However, the Grand Final belonged to Bulard who recorded rides of 7.30 and 6.56 to leave her three opponents in a combination situation before Buitendag fought back with a 4.62 and 5.54 to claim second place ahead of the two Australian girls.

With Davey Brand, Mikey February and David van Zyl all still in contention for U18 Boys’ medals on the final day, and the demise of the teams from surfing powerhouses such as Australia, the USA, Hawaii and Brazil, Team SA was in with a shout for the team gold medal.

Even after February and van Zyl were ousted from the event in equal 9th place following third place finishes in Repecharge Round 8, Davey Brand emerged victorious from the Qualifying stream final to complete an unbeaten run straight to the U18 Boys Grand Final to keep the dream alive.

Despite Brand leading the final with a couple of early low-scoring rides, the grand finale was dominated by local hero Cristobal de Col whose previous experience in the washy, double-overhead conditions saw him snag the better inside waves with higher scoring potential and ride them flawlessly to clinch the gold medal.

Brand delivered a gutsy performance and produced a 6.26 point ride with four minutes remaining to get back into contention but the 18 year-old from Western Province ultimately placed third behind de Col and Portuguese standout Vasco Ribeiro to earn a second bronze medal to go with the one he took home as an U16 surfer in Ecuador in 2009.

The four medal haul is the best return by a South African junior team in the nine year history of the event while the silver medal in the team standings is the first time South Africa has finished better than fourth in the annual gathering of the world’s best surfers aged 18-and-under.

All the results from the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships can be found at www.isawjsc.com along with video footage, an extensive photo gallery and the news.

2011 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships
Punta Hermosa, Peru

Final Team Standings:
Gold: Peru
Silver: South Africa
Bronze: Australia
Copper: Hawaii

Girls Under 18 Final Results:
Gold: Canelle Bulard (FRA)
Silver: Bianca Buitendag (RSA)
Bronze: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Copper: Codie Klein (AUS)

South Africans
25th Sarah Baum
31st Emma Smith
37th Nikita Kekana

Under 16 Boys Final Results:
Gold: Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Silver: Dylan Lightfoot (RSA)
Bronze: Joaquín del Castillo (PER)
Copper: Juninho Urcia (PER)

South Africans
25th Diran Zakarian
25th  Slade Prestwich
37th Benji Brand

Under 18 Boys Final Results:
Gold: Cristobal de Col (PER)
Silver: Vasco Ribeiro (POR)
Bronze: Davey Brand (RSA)
Copper: Miguel Tudela (PER)

South Africans
9th Mikey February
9th David van Zyl
41st Steven Sawyer

Final Team Points
1. Peru (5123)
2. South Africa (4860)
3. Australia (4651)
4. Hawaii (4546)
5. USA (4164)
6. France (4113)
7. Brazil (4060)
8. Portugal (3505)
9. Tahiti (3393)
10. New Zealand (2810)
11. UK (2640)
12. Costa Rica (2505)
13. Japan (2357)
14. Argentina (2198)
15. Barbados (2128)
16. Ecuador (2034)
17. Mexico (1910)
18. Venezuela (1736)
19. Chile (1652)
20. Germany (1649)
21. Ireland (1488)
22. Puerto Rico (1390)
23. Uruguay (1156)
24. Jamaica (1064)
25. Italy (960)
26. Guatemala (652)
27. Morocco (340)

/ENDS
Issued on behalf of:

Surfing South Africa
Contact: Robin de Kock – General Manager
Cell:  082 454 1149
Email:  surfingsouthafrica@gmail.com
Web:   www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za

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