The country’s best junior surfers (16 years old and under) will be gathering at New Pier, Durban for this year’s Quiksilver King of the Groms surfing event. It will be held in conjunction with the ASP 2 Star Quiksilver Pro Junior event over the Easter weekend (22-24 April). The King of the Groms is a global Quiksilver series whereby each surfing nation stages qualifiers to determine their top U16 surfers to send to the International King of the Groms Finals in France in October.
This year the finals will be held in October and will be run in conjunction with the Quiksilver Pro France which is the 8th stop on the prestigious ASP World Tour. All qualifiers from around the globe get to watch the world’s best and hang out at this event which showcases the likes of 10 X World Champion Kelly Slater, South African sensation Jordy Smith, Mick Fanning and other world class surfers. The International King of the Groms Finals will be webcast live to millions of homes around the world and the winner will receive a wildcard into the trials of the 2012 Quiksilver Pro World Tour event on the Gold Coast of Australia in March.
Slade Prestwich (Scottburgh) triumphed as the 2010 King of the Groms winner last year at North Beach after a tightly contested final with Cape Town’s Jarred Veldhuis. Prestwich aims to repeat last year’s form in the 2011 edition of the event and better his equal 3rd place finish in France, “Winning last years King of the Groms felt really good because I trained hard for the event and I really wanted to win it. This year I think my toughest opponents are probably going to be Diran Zakarian and Dylan Lightfoot, they look like they are hungry to win the event. The event is really big for us juniors and there are good surfers to watch, also the prizes are cool – the U16 winner gets to compete in France! But besides that it’s just a cool vibe at the contest site. The banks are good at New Pier at the moment, I’ve been training hard and I have some really good boards so I am excited for the event,” said Prestwich.
Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffrey’s Bay) has recently won the 2010 SA Junior Surfing Championships in his age group and will be seeking to take the title from Prestwich at Durban’s New Pier, “It’s awesome that we can have an event like the King of the Groms as there aren’t many contests in SA this year. This event challenges the juniors to perform at their best and gives them something to look forward to. Last years’ setup was amazing. It is one of the best contests on the SA calendar. I am going for gold this year and I would really like to go to France for the finals,” said an upbeat Lightfoot. Other top contenders include Benji Brand, Max Armstrong and Diran Zakarian all from Cape Town as well as Josh Smit and Jason Harris from Kwa-Zulu Natal. The winner will receive R5 000 plus an all expenses paid trip to France to compete in the International Finals.
Other divisions in the King of the Groms competition include the U14 and U12 divisions which are all sanctioned by Surfing South Africa. The Future Stars division will get proceedings underway on the 22nd of April, this sees 8 up and coming surfers from Surfing South Africa’s transformation program competing for a wildcard into the Quiksilver Pro Junior. An “Expression Session” will be staged on the final day to give competitors the opportunity to show off their skills in a more relaxed and expressive environment. Surfers will be rewarded for their outrageous and explosive surfing that is not always seen in the standard competition format.
There will be some great Quiksilver and Skullcandy prizes on offer in the Expression Session before the finals on Sunday (24 April). The finals for all 4 divisions will be held on Sunday afternoon with the event prize giving and crowning immediately after at the event site.
The King of the Groms and Quiksilver Pro Junior is presented by Durban and other sponsors include Skullcandy, Independent On Saturday, SuperSport, Bokomo and Nestle Pure Life Water.