Revamped Bloubergstrand to host third Billabong Junior Series event next week
|Thursday 10 May 2007|
2007 Billabong Junior Series
Five-event national surfing series
St Mikes, Durban, Cape Town, Victoria Bay & Jeffreys Bay
February – September 2007
REVAMPED BLOUBERGSTRAND TO HOST THIRD BILLABONG JUNIOR SERIES EVENT NEXT WEEK
Big Bay at Bloubergstrand will be the venue for South Africa’s most prestigious junior surfing series when the third stop on the five-event, R220 000 Billabong Junior Series is staged there next week.
While the spectacular backdrop of Table Mountain and the fun beach break waves remain constant, from Thursday to Sunday, 17-20 May, the vastly revamped beach infrastructure will host hundreds of the country’s top surfers aged 20 and under.
After two events in KZN, Capetonians head the ratings in the premier Pro Junior (U20) boys and girl’s divisions. Brandon Roberts (Sun Valley) and Tarryn Chudleigh (Kommetjie) will be determined to extend or at least maintain their respective leads at the top of the standings and move closer to claiming the coveted invitations to the Billabong ASP World Junior Champs in Australia in January.
Roberts, winner of the second event in Durban in April, faces a supremely talented field headed by namesake Brandon Jackson (Durban North), dark horse Casey Grant (Scottburgh) and Rudy Palmboom (Bluff), all of whom have been finalists in the first two events of 2007.
And there are another dozen contenders who can take out the title, the R3 500 pay cheque and the 1 000 ratings points that go to the winner.
Despite the country’s burgeoning female surfing scene, Chudleigh has reigned supreme this year winning both the opening series events.
With chief rival Nikita Robb electing to stay in Europe after the ISA World Junior Champs currently underway in Portugal, Chudleigh’s main opposition will come from Melkbos local Chantelle Rautenbach and the 13 year-old standouts Sarah Baum (Athlone Park, KZN) and Bianca Buitendag (George).
The highly competitive U16 boy’s category is headed by reigning series champ Sean Joubert (Mossel Bay) and fellow national junior teammates Dale Staples (St Francis Bay) and Nick Godfrey (Cape St Francis). Joubert heads the ratings with two runner-up finishes while Staples and Godfrey have each won one event.
And the next five on the ratings, including Matthew Bromley (Kommetjie), currently equal fifth in the Pro Junior rankings, are all capable of staging an upset at Blouberg.
Like Chudleigh in the girls, Kommetjie’s Michael February has dominated the U14 division, securing back to back victories and looking a shoe-in to defend his 2006 series title.
However, surfing is a great leveler and the likes of Dane Staples, Jarred Veldhuis (Kommetjie), surprise package Heidi Palmboom, who has excelled competing against the boys this year, will be determined to pounce on any mistake by February to advance their own claims for the title.
The youngest division in the series, the under 12’s, has again showcased a host of emerging talent, demonstrated by newcomers Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) and Slade Prestwich (Scottburgh) topping the ratings ahead of established campaigners Josh Smit (Athlone Park) and reigning series champ Max Armstrong (Kommetjie).
And that quartet will be nervously eyeing Diran Zakarian from nearby Melkbos, who burst onto the scene to claim third place in his debut event in Durban, and fellow Capetonians Nicholas Notten and Oli Morris, both from St James.
Each series event also features a spectacular Von Zipper Air Show where the country’s best exponents of new-school aerial surfing really cut loose with the winner taking home R1 800 for successfully completing the single best manoeuvre in the air.
There are also Kustom awards for the top local boy and girl and the highly prized Zigzag ‘Blowing Up’ award of R1 000 along with its unique replica hand grenade trophy at each event.
The Billabong Junior Series is sanctioned by Surfing South Africa (SSA) and proudly supported by First National Bank, Palmers, Kustom, Von Zipper, Red Bull and Silver Bullet Productions
The 2007 series started at St Mikes in February followed by Durban (March 29-April 1) and after Cape Town (May 17-20) visits Victoria Bay in the Southern Cape (August 9-12) before wrapping up in the legendary surf Mecca of Jeffreys Bay (September 21-24) where the 11th annual series champions will be crowned.
Entry forms and further information on the Billabong Junior Series, including profiles of the top performers, can be found at www.billabong.com/africa
First National Bank is a division of FirstRand Bank Limited
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Billabong South Africa
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Fax: 042 293 2478
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|Date: 11 May 07||