Winner winner chicken dinner – Rory Dace © Mike Ruthnum.

The news is a week old, but it’s too good not to share.

Sea Harvest SA Junior Surfing Championships 2022

Lower Point, JBay.


All the winners © Mike Ruthnum

Buffalo City Wins the Freedom Cup, eThekweni wins the Loud and Proud Award, while the Male and Female Surfer Of The Contest awards go to Nate Colby and Louise Lepront. 

For the fifth straight morning in a row, Lower Point in JBay revealed perfect waves for the competitors in the 25th Sea Harvest SA Junior Champs presented by SMTH Shapes. 

After a quick semi-finals round, it was straight into the finals, kicking off with the U12 Girls division. Leah Lepront, who has been dominant the whole year, finished her season with another win and the U12 Girls Title for 2022. Camilla Heuer finished in 2nd spot, with Jasmine Venter in 3rd and Mikayla Jeffries in 4th. 

Leah Lepront © Mike Ruthnum

The U12 Boys is always a fierce tussle, and today’s final was no different. Ben Esterhyse’s first scoring ride was a solid 7.77, but Carl Wiersma also pushed hard and banked a 7.5. In reply, Ben hooked an absolute bomb and went vertical on his backhand for an excellent score of 9.33 and the win. Callum Loftus was 3rd, and Damien Roeloffze came 4th. 

 Ben Esterhyse © Mike Ruthnum

“The waves were so good, and I saw this set wave coming. Carl went on the first one, and I got the second one,” said Esterhyse. “I did a couple of turns, found this nice rhythm along the inside section, and did enough to get that 9.33. I was pleased with the result.”

In the U14 Girls, all eyes were on Loise Lepront, who wowed the crowd yesterday with her 10-point ride. She didn’t disappoint and put a 9.5 on the scoreboard, followed by a 6.77 for the U14 Girls title. Remi Fourie, who surfed excellently all week, was in 2nd, with Emily Jenkinson in 3rd and Sophia Jackson in 4th.

 Louise Lepront © Mike Ruthnum

No one knew which way the U14 Boys final would go, with four talented and determined young surfers all determined to get their SA Champs title. But there can be only one, and Rory Dace made it absolutely clear from the outset that he was in it to win it. A heat total of 14.17 saw the Cape St Francis surfer win his title, with Loghan Tilsley, Josh Malherbe and Asbjorn Gwenin in the minor spots. 

Rory Dace © Mike Ruthnum

Gemma Hanafey from Buffalo City was in the lead for most of the U16 Girls final, but as the time ticked away, the last set came through. With Gemma sitting out of priority, Maya Potgieter caught the first good one. After that, she jumped straight into first place, with Anastasia Venter doing the same and leapfrogging into 2nd spot, leaving Hanafey in 3rd. Gia Gilmer was a disappointed 4th, not finding any of the set waves during the final.

 The U16 Girls finals © Mike Ruthnum

It was a perfect opportunity for the three goofy footers to work against the one natural footer in the boys’ U16 Final. But Nate Colby was quick out of the gates and showed everyone why he is one of the country’s top U16 surfers. Then the three goofy footers got waves, and high scores fell everywhere. Surprise Maphumulo and Joel Fowles were battling it while David Emslie was looking for the bombs. Colby just kept finding the perfect inside runners.

Surprise and Joel picked up set waves as the heat drew to a close. Surprise smashed it to the bricks, while Joel did the same with power and precision. The exchange went to Fowles, and he ended up the Boys U16 SA Champion 2022, with Surprise Maphumulo in 2nd. Nate came 3rd and David 4th. 

 Joel Fowles © Mike Ruthnum

“It is by far the highlight of my career,” said Fowles on the beach afterwards. “I have always wanted to be SA Champion, and now I have a title, so I am stoked.”

After a week of excellent surfing, Adriel Wolmarans finished her week with the U18 Girls Division win. She took the title from Aimee Du Preez, who was in 2nd. Demi Row, who had also been impressing all week, finished 3rd, and Maya Figl was 4th.

Adriel Wolmarans © Mike Ruthnum

As the event drew to a close and the U18 Boys final paddled out, there was a minimal indication of who would be the new U18 Boys SA Champion. All four surfers had impressed the whole event, with Joshua Myburgh showing form in the earlier rounds. However, nothing much gets past Dan Emslie at the moment. He found his bombs at the end of the heat. He scored an 8.33 and an excellent 9.5 for a heat total of 17.83, the win and the title U18 Boys SA Champion 2022. Myburgh was second, James Ribbink in 3rd, and Connor Slijpen was 4th.

Dan Emslie © Mike Ruthnum