The South African team got off to a good start at the 2013 DAKINE ISA World Junior Surfing Championships presented by Billabong in Nicaragua yesterday when seven of the eight team members in action safely progressed to the next round of the qualifying stream.
The event with nearly 300 surfers aged 18-and-under from 30 countries was officially declared open by ISA President Fernando Aguerre and Nicaragua’s Minister of Tourism, Mayra Salinas, during the traditionally colourful opening ceremonies on Saturday before the opening rounds of the competition got under way in overhead waves fanned by an offshore breeze on Sunday.
Competing at adjacent venues on Jiquiliste Beach, the U18 and U16 Boys divisions tore into the waves with South Africans Benji Brand and team captain Dylan Lightfoot posting heat victories in the U18’s along with Jordy Maree in the U16’s. Shane Sykes tied for first in his U16 heat, but was relegated to second place on a count-back to each surfer’s best wave.
Josh Smit and Diran Zakarian booked their berth in U18 Boys qualifying Round 2 by finishing second in their opening encounters, as did Steff Burrows in the U16’s. SA U15 champion Matt McGillivray was the only team member to drop into the cutthroat repercharge rounds after finishing third in a low-scoring and tightly contested heat where there was just two points between first and fourth.
Diran Zakarian punches through the lip on a sizeable wave on Day 1 – Photo by ISA / Rommel Gonzales
In the double-elimination format used in ISA events, the top two in each qualifying round heat progress to the next round and need to maintain that for five rounds to reach the Grand Final and earn a medal. Competitors finishing third or fourth in the qualifying stream drop into the grueling repercharge rounds where they need to compete 10 times to earn a medal and any heat result other than first or second sees them eliminated from the event.
Brand was Team SA’s star performer, absolutely shredding a well shaped right-hander with three vertical backhand re-entries that saw the judges award the stocky 17 year-old from Kommetjie 8.33 points out 10, the second highest single ride score of the U18 Boys division, and a heat total of 14.26 out of 20, the fourth highest.
Lightfoot’s 12.60 point heat tally also featured amongst the top 10 in the U18’s while Maree’s 7.25 point best ride and 12.50 heat total both made the top 10 in the U16 Boys statistics.
Benji Brand throws a sheet of spray as he jams a cutback on his way to the fourth highest heat total in the U18 Boys division on the opening day – Photo by ISA / Rommel Gonzales
The event runs until Sunday 16 June when the finals in all divisions will be completed. Gold, silver, bronze and copper medals are awarded to the national teams accumulating the highest combined totals and to the top four individuals in each category.
All the action on podium 1 at the DAKINE ISA World Junior Surfing Championship presented by Billabong can be watched live at www.isawjsc.com. The daily webcast begins at 15:40 (SA Time) with The Morning Show hosted by Chris Ernst and Mateo Rojas.
The schedule for Day 2 of the event sees Round 2 of the U18 and U16 Boys qualifying stream in action on podium 1 while the U18 and U16 Girls start their challenge for honours at the event on Podium 2
DAKINE ISA World Junior Surfing Championship
Program – Day 2
Podium 1 (Webcast and live scores)
16 heats of U16 Boy’s Qualifying Round 2 (SA’s Burrows – Heat 1, Maree-H7, Sykes-H15)
12 heats of U18 Boy’s Qualifying Round 2 (Lightfoot-H4, Smit-H5, Zakarian-H7, Brand-H10)
12 heats of U16 Girl’s Qualifying Round 1 (Chanelle Botha-H3, Anoush Zakarian-H6)
12 heats of U18 Girl’s Qualifying Round 1 (Gina Smith-H3, Nicole Pallet-H6)