Kirsty McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) and S'nenhlanhla Makhubu (Durban) were the shining lights for the South African team on day two of the VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship which was run in head-high waves and onshore winds at Okuragahama Beach in Japan on Monday.
The U16 and U18 girls opened their campaigns at the event with McGillivray posting a pair of six-point rides in a tussle with New Zealand's Raiha Ensor for the lead in their heat before having to settle for second place and a berth in Round 2 of the U18 girls Main Event.
Makhubu was fortunate to grab the runner-up's advancing spot in her U16 girls' Round 1 encounter with a heat total of 7.90, well behind the 11.96 of heat winner Saffi Vette of New Zealand but marginally ahead of third and fourth-placed opponents from Guam and the Channel Islands.
Of the other six South Africans in action on Monday, only Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach) could muster a double figure total - 12.57 out of 20 - and all six were relegated to the grueling Repercharge rounds where they face elimination from the event if they finish outside the top two in any future match-up.
In the U18 boys Main Round 2, experienced international campaigner Joshe Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay) recorded a pair of three-point rides and finished fourth behind Japan's Hirowa Miwa who counted an 8.03 and a 7.43, and did not need the 7.33 with which he opened his account.
Similarly, Ethan Fletcher's (Kommetjie) 7.47 heat total (3.40 + 4.07) left him in fourth spot, 6.50 points short of an advancing position in his Round 2 bout, while Oberholzer's total was only good enough for third place in his clash.
In the U16 boys Main Round 2 on the second podium, Dellin Hendricks (Jeffreys Bay) inexplicably suffered the same fate as his compatriots, earning a 2.90 and a 3.83 for a 6.73 point total and third place in a heat where first and second places both scored over 13 points.
Neither Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) in the U18 girls nor Kayla Nogueira (uMhlanga) in the U16 girls could exceed the 10 point mark in their heats, but they both came within fractions of a point of advancing. If they can replicate the form that has seen them dominate junior women's surfing at home in 2017, they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Repercharge rounds.
Going into day three of the event, four members of the 12-strong South African team remain in the Main event stream, with Adin Masencamp (Strand) in the U18 boys and Luke Slijpen (Llandudno) in the U16 boys joined by McGillivray and Makhubu.