Champions in the 20th annual Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard Travel will be crowned this weekend as the country's best 18-and-under surfers take to the famous waves of Seal Point, Cape St Francis to compete for prestige, rankings points and prize money.
The world's longest running junior surfing series has nurtured the competitive careers of countless South African surfers including current World No1 Jordy Smith, former WSL women's No4 Bianca Buitendag and Championship Tour campaigners Travis Logie, Royden Bryson, Ricky Basnett, Rosy Hodge and Nikita Robb as well as current QS standouts Beyrick de Vries, Michael February and many more.
Scheduled to run from Friday to Sunday, the fourth and final event in the 2017 series features World Surf League (WSL) Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) 1,000 rated events for U18 men and women, alongside 3A rated Surfing South Africa (SSA) SA Surf Tour (SAST) events for U16 and U14 boys and girls and U12 boys.
'We're excited to be crowning the 20th annual Billabong Junior Series champions at Seal Point this weekend,' said Billabong Marketing Manager Chad D'Arcy. 'It's great to be a junior surfer in South Africa at the moment, and Billabong is proud of our junior surfing legacy.'
Many of the country's top surfers are still out of the country, competing at the World Junior Championships in Japan.
Among them is Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) who holds a substantial rankings lead in the U18 boys division after victories in the Port Elizabeth and Cape Town legs of the 2017 series. His younger brother Max currently fills the runner-up berth after finishing second in both events. Fellow Kommetjie surfer Ethan Fletcher is in third spot, just ahead of defending series champion Adin Masencamp (Strand) and Joshe Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay) who is fifth.
Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) looks set to defend her U18 girls' series title successfully with Kayla Nogueira (uMhlanga) her closest challenger and Kirsty McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) is another 500 points further adrift in third place on the rankings.
The U16 boys title will go down to the wire with Dellin Hendricks (Jeffreys Bay) just five points ahead of Eli Beukes (Kommetjie) and Luke Slijpen (Llandudno) is 100 points adrift of the top pair. Nogueira holds an unassailable lead in the U16 girls after winning all three events to date.
Kyra Bennie (Vredehoek) has also completed a clean sweep of victories in the three U12 boys' events while in the U14's Daniel Emslie (East London) and Ceara Knight are the odds on favourites to collect their first series awards.
The Billabong Junior Series pres. by All Aboard Travel runs from Friday to Sunday when all the event and series champions will crowned at the awards ceremony on the beach.
The U18 boys' and girls' series champions win a coveted trip to the tropical paradise of Bali thanks to All Aboard Travel, while the exciting VonZipper Airshow will also reward the surfer landing the best aerial manoeuvre with a winner-takes-all R2,000 prize purse.
Results from the JQS1,000 (U18) events will also determine the 2017 WSL Africa Junior champions and the selection of the top four men and two women who will represent the region at the WSL World Junior Championships in Australia in January.
Competitor registration takes place at the Seal Point event site from 2pm on Thursday and continues on Friday morning.
The Billabong Junior Series pres. by All Aboard Travel is supported by BOS, VonZipper, Zigzag, Surfing South Africa and the World Surf League.