The South African junior surfing team’s chances of a team medal at the 2013 DAKINE ISA World Junior Surfing Championships presented by Billabong took a blow in Nicaragua yesterday after three of their surfers were eliminated from the event when they finished outside the top two in their respective repercharge heats.
As the other nine SA surfers continued to forge ahead in their quest for individual and team honours, Josh Smit (U18 Boys), Anoush Zakarian (U16 Girls) and vice captain Gina Smith (U18 Girls) were ousted at the halfway stage of the eight-day event.
Smit and Zakarian ended 31st overall in their divisions, while Smith finished her campaign in 25th spot. With each team having four boys and two girls in two age categories, boys’ points are multiplied by four and the girls’ by two resulting in Smit contributing 1 320 points towards the team total while Zakarian earned 660 and Smith 780.
In other action, Benji Brand provided a master-class in the excellent head-high waves and offshore winds that Nicaragua is famous for. Staying busy in the line-up by riding 10 waves in the 20 minute heat, Brand led his U18 qualifying Round 3 heat from start to finish and relegated surfers from the USA and Australia to the repercharge rounds.
Benji Brand blasts a vertical turn as he progressed to U18 Boys qualifying Round 4 – Photo by ISA / Rommel Gonzales
Brand was joined by Diran Zakarian in the last 12 in the U18 Boys qualifying stream after the Melkbosstrand local posted the highest single ride score of his heat – 6.97 out of 10 – to place second behind Cam Richards (USA) and dropping highly touted Parker Coffin (USA) into the repo rounds.
Diran Zakarian deep in the tube at Jiquiliste Beach – Photo by ISA / Rommel Gonzales
Team captain Dylan Lightfoot slipped to fourth place in his heat in the same round, but the talented Jeffreys Bay resident bounced back immediately with a strong performance in his Round 4 repercharge heat and remains on track, albeit a tougher one through the repercharge rounds, for a good result in the event.
Jordy Maree continued his charge through the U16 Boys division, posting another convincing heat win yesterday and moving into the last 16 in the qualifying stream. He faces a difficult assignment today when he goes up against Kai Hing (AUS), who produced a perfect 10 point ride yesterday, and two members of the strong Hawaiian team
Jordy Maree continued his charge through the U16 Boys division with manoeuvres like this – Photo by ISA / Rommel Gonzales
Steff Burrows, Matt McGillivray and Shane Sykes all comfortably advanced to the U16 Boys repecharge Round 4 with Burrows and McGillivray recording heat wins and Sykes a strong runner-up berth.
Nicole Pallet placed fourth in her low-scoring U18 Girls qualifying Round 3 heat yesterday and will take to the surf in the repercharge Round 4 today while Chanelle Botha squeaked through her U16 Girls repercharge Round 3 heat in second place and will also be in action again today.
Hawaii, the defending team champions, is the only country with all 12 team members still in the event at the halfway stage. Australia and the USA have had one boy eliminated each, while France and Japan have ‘lost’ two boys and are marginally ahead of Team SA who are in sixth place in the provisional standings after losing one boy and two girls.
There is then a substantial gap to Peru, Brazil and New Zealand who will be without further contributions from three boys and at least one girl each.
All the action at the DAKINE ISA World Junior Surfing Championship presented by Billabong can be watched live at www.isawjsc.com starting at 15:40 (SA Time) with The Morning Show hosted by Chris Ernst and Mateo Rojas.
The schedule for today sees competition confined to the Main Podium with all nine of Team SA’s remaining surfers in action in their respective qualifying and repercharge rounds. First up are Diran Zakarian and Benji Brand in the U18 Boys qualifying Round 4, followed by repercharge heats for the U16 Boys, U18 Girls, U18 Boys and U16 Girls.
Jordy Maree then gets the opportunity to move a step closer to the Grand Final in the U16 Boys qualifying stream. The day closes with Round 5 of the U16 Boys repercharge, which will hopefully include all three SA boys who would have competed in Round 4 earlier.
Day 4 Video Highlights
DAKINE ISA World Junior Surfing Championship
Program – Day 4 – Wednesday
Podium 1 (Webcast and live scores)
3 Heats Qualify 4 Boys U-18 – (SA’s Diran Zakarian-Heat 1, Benji Brand-H2)
8 Heats Repercharge 4 Boys U-16 – (Steff Burrows-H1, Matt McGillivray-H5, Shane Sykes-H8)
3 Heats Repercharge 4 Girls U-18 – (Nicole Pallet-H2)
3 Heats Repercharge 5 Boys U-18 – (Dylan Lightfoot-H2)
3 Heats Repercharge 4 Girls U-16 – (Chanelle Botha-H1)
4 Heats Qualify 4 Boys U-16 – (Jordy Maree-H2)
4 Heats Repercharge 5 Boys U-16 – (TBA)