Pictured: Luke Thompson (RSA) will make his fourth appearance at the World Junior Championships. Credit: © WSL / Morris

OCEANSIDE PIER, San Diego, Calif., USA (Monday, January 8, 2024) – The World Surf League (WSL) 2023 SAMBAZON World Junior Championships Hosted by Best Western waiting period opens tomorrow on Tuesday, January 9 and holds a competition window through January 14, 2024. The field will feature the world’s best up-and-coming surfers aged 20-and-under, from each of the WSL’s seven regions. Only one woman and one man will emerge victorious, claiming the 2023 World Junior Champion Titles. 

San Diego, California. (Photo by Kenny Morris/World Surf League)

The men’s and the women’s fields will each feature 24 surfers, comprised of two regional qualifiers from each of the WSL’s seven regions and 10 wildcards selected by the WSL Tours and Competition team. The 2023 World Junior Champions, who will be decided by this competition, will also secure spots on the 2024 Challenger Series, giving them the opportunity to further showcase their talent on a global stage. The event can be watched LIVE onWorldSurfLeague.com, WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app.

Emerging Talents and World-Class Wildcards Prepare for World Junior Title Campaigns

“The WSL Africa region has a formidable contingent competing at the 2024 Sambazon World Junior Championships,” said Luqmaan Bruce, WSL Africa Regional Tour Manager. 

“The region’s qualifiers seamlessly blend the wealth of experience from seasoned competitors Luke Thompson and Mitch Du Preez with the budding promise of young talents Anastasia Venter, and Louise and Luc Lepront.”

Mitch du Preez (RSA), the 20-year-old goofy footer from East London, sealed his qualification after a clutch performance at the Seal Point Pro Junior presented by RYD and Arakawa Surfboards.

Brother and Sister

WSL Africa will be represented by brother and sister, Luc and Louise Lepront, who refined their surfing skills growing up in Scottburgh on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

Louise Lepront at Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. (Photo by Pierre Tostee/World Surf League).

Luc Lepront is the current under-18 South African Surfing Champion and will make his World Junior Championships debut at Oceanside this week.

Louise Lepront won the 2023 WSL Africa Junior title after taking out the win at the Seal Point Pro Junior presented by RYD and Arakawa Surfboards. The 15-year-old goofy footer is also the under-16 and Open South African Surfing Champion. She will return to compete against the world’s best Pro juniors, after finishing 17th last year.

This will be the first World Junior Championships for rising star Anastasia Venter (RSA). The 16-year-old made the move from the Western Cape to Jeffreys Bay and has been coming up the ranks on the WSL Africa junior tour.

Luke Thompson (RSA) brings a wealth of experience to this year’s competition, making his fourth appearance at the World Junior Championships. He achieved his best result at the competition last year, finishing in equal 9th place.

The 19-year-old natural footer from Durban, who recently moved to Cape Town, was the 2023 WSL Africa Regional Qualifying Series Champion. He received a wildcard into the event based on his performance on the 2023 Challenger Series

Thompson’s career highlights include multiple QS and junior QS event wins on the WSL Africa regional tour, qualifying for the Challenger Series in 2023 and earning a wildcard in the 2022 Corona Open J-Bay Championship Tour event.

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