Organisers took advantage of day two's solid 1-1.5-metre waves and pristine conditions on offer at the Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard Travel at Seal Point to complete the semi-finals in each of the seven divisions, leaving just the finals still to be run on Sunday.
The country's best junior surfers revelled in the long, glassy waves at the Cape St Francis venue, posting numerous scores in the excellent range (eight or more out of 10) as they chased prestige, prize-money, points and series titles in the fourth and final event in the world's longest running junior surfing series.
The World Surf League (WSL) Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) 1,000 rated event for U18 boys saw current runaway rankings leader Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) eliminated in Round 2 by Luke Malherbe (East London ) and Calvin Goor (Salt Rock), who advanced to the man-on-man semi-finals.
Goor's near-perfect 9.0 plus a 5.0 gave him victory over Malherbe and the Dolphin Coast surfer advanced to his second final of 2017.
In the bottom half of the draw Ford van Jaarsveldt (Kommetjie) was outstanding in Round 2, delivering scores of 9.0 and 8.17 for a heat tally of 17.17, the highest in the division to date.
He was joined in the semi by 14 year-old Mitch du Preez (East London) who had to be happy with a third-place finish as Van Jaarsveldt delivered another master-class and will take on Goor for the title in Sunday's Seal Point final.
The JQS women's event followed suit with former Jeffreys Bay star Kai Woolf, now surfing under the New Zealand flag, showing superior manoeuvres and heat strategy to earn scores of 9.0 and 7.67 to ease into the final at the expense of Tayla de Coning (East London).
Woolf will be up against Taghiti Gericke (Wilderness) who outpointed rising star Summer Sutton (Kommetjie) in their semi-final encounter on her way to a career first one-on-one JQS final.
In the 3A rated SA Surf Tour (SAST) events, Woolf, de Coning and Sutton, along with Olivia Izzard (La Lucia), will also contest the four-person U16 girls' final, while Angelo Faulkner and fellow Jeffreys Bay resident Ryan Lightfoot, Tide Lee Ireland (Durban) and French surfer George Pittar will battle for honours in the U16 boys' final.
The final four in the highly competitive U14 boys' division include Durbanites Luke Thompson and Nate Spalding who will take on Daniel Emslie and Mitch du Preez, two of the promising crop of young talents currently emerging from East London.
The U16 girls' final will feature Caroline Brown, Zoe Steyn, Lhea Johnston and Jesse Powell while the U12 boys will be a hard fought affair as previously unbeaten Kyra Bennie (Vredehoek) seeks revenge over young Brazilian Ryan Kainalo, who defeated him in their semi-final. The pair can expect stiff opposition from Kai Hall (Durban) and Nathan Plomaritis (Port Elizabeth).
With the swell predicted to drop during the day and onshore winds forecast to increase, organisers will be keen to complete the finals as early as possible. There's also an exciting VonZipper Airshow that rewards the surfer landing the best aerial manoeuvre with a winner-takes-all R2,000 prize purse.
And the U18 boys' and girls' Billabong Junior Series champions have the added incentive of winning a coveted trip to the tropical surfing paradise of Bali thanks to All Aboard Travel,