New Zealand edged out South Africa by a mere 6 points to claim the SANZ Challenge title in the annual pre ISA World Junior Championship warm up held between the New Zealand and South African junior surfing teams.
The SANZ Challenge, which is into its eleventh year, was contested in fun 4 foot waves at Playa Popoyo on the Nicaraguan Pacific Coast. The event is used by both countries as a final competitive warm up before the teams contest the 2013 DaKine ISA World Junior Surfing Championship presented by Billabong which starts on Sunday.
The format for the contest was four person heats, two from each country, and surfers were awarded ten points for a win, eight points for second, six points for third and four points for fourth. Each surfer competed twice.
In the Under 18 Boys Division South African team captain Dylan Lightfoot, team mate Diran Zakarian and Dune Kennings of New Zealand were the top surfers, posting a 1st and a 2nd in their respective heats. Sean Kettle of New Zealand was the fourth ranked surfer in this group with two 2nd places in his heats.
Kehu Butler of New Zealand won both his heats in the Under 16 group and was the top surfer in this division. South Africa’s Jordy Maree came second with a 1st and a 2nd place in his two heats and New Zealand’s Korbin Hutchings was third, having posted two 2nd places. Shane Sykes of South Africa placed fourth after placing 1st and 4th in his two heats.
Jasmine Smith and Ella Williams of New Zealand topped the U18 Girls Division with 1st and 3rd places respectively with Gina Smith and Nicole Pallet of South Africa getting a 2nd and 4th place in their respective heats.
In the U16 Girls Division New Zealand’s Dayna Storey’s 1st and 2nd place gave her top spot ahead of team mate Jasmine Smith who posted a 1st and 3rd. The South African girls, Anoush Zakarian and Chanelle Botha, finished third and fourth respectively.
At the informal award ceremony on completion of the event New Zealand’s Kehu Butler, who was the only surfer to win both his heats, was awarded a South African team shirt as a sign of respect by the South African team.
“It was really fun surfing today in the SANZ. I really enjoyed the contest and meeting the South African team. It was really good to see the level of the South Africans like Dylan Lightfoot” said the 13 year old and youngest surfer in the New Zealand Team.
Despite the disappointment of letting the Kiwis snatch the SANZ Trophy from their grasp, Team South Africa remain focussed on the main goal which is to shine in the ISA World Junior Championships itself. The friendly between New Zealand and South Africa allows coaches from both teams to work on final aspects of their respective team preparation.
The positive aspect of the loss in the SANZ Challenge is that there will be no complacency among the talented South African group that on Sunday will step onto Jiquiliste Beach in Nicaragua with surfers from 30 other countries as the World Championships gets under way.
Under 18 Boys
Dylan Lightfoot (RSA)-18 points
Diran Zakarian (RSA)-18 points
Dune Kennings (NZ) – 18 points
Sean Kettle (NZ) – 16 points
Josh Smit (RSA)- 14 points
Benji Brand (RSA) – 12 points
Christie MacKenzie (NZ) – 12 points
Elliot Paerata-Reid (NZ) – 12 points
Under 16 Boys
Kehu Butler (NZ) – 20 points
Jordy Maree (RSA) – 18 points
Korbin Hutchings (NZ)- 16 points
Shane Sykes (RSA) – 14 points
Matt McGillivray (RSA) – 12 points
Steff Burrows (RSA) – 12 points
Harrison Whiteside (NZ) – 8 points
Daniel Farr (NZ) – 8 points
Under 18 Girls
Jasmine Smith (NZ) – 16 points
Ella Williams (NZ) – 16 points
Gina Smith (RSA) – 12 points
Nicole Pallet (RSA) – 12 points
Under 16 Girls
Dayna Storey (NZ) – 18 points
Jasmine Smith (NZ) -16 points
Anoush Zakarian (RSA) – 14 points
Chanelle Botha (RSA) – 12 points
1. New Zealand
2. South Africa