Junior Champs kick off at Lower Point JBay today

The Billabong SA Junior Champs presented by BOS, the country’s most prestigious annual surfing event for competitors aged 18-and-under, gets underway in the fabled high performance waves of the Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay on Wednesday and runs until Sunday 8 October.

The 21st edition of the five-day event will showcase the top young surfers from every corner of the coastline who have qualified for the SA Junior Champs via gruelling trials conducted by their respective district associations.

At stake are individual national titles for Under 12, Under 14, U16 and Under 18 boys and girls along with the coveted Freedom Cup, which was introduced in 2003 and goes to the district whose team members accumulate the highest points tally across all age divisions.

“We’re really proud to be the sponsors of the Billabong SA Junior Champs presented by BOS,” said Billabong South Africa Marketing Manager Chad D’Arcy. “This is the premier junior event on the Surfing South Africa calendar and to host it in our home town of Jeffreys Bay makes it even more special. Good luck to the country’s best young surfers in their quest for national titles.”

The host Nelson Mandela Bay team will be determined to retain the Freedom Cup while Cape Town Surfriders, the 2016 runners-up, will be hoping to return to the winning ways that saw them clinch the 2015 team title. The eThekweni team from Durban will present a strong challenge again and Cape Winelands, Buffalo City, Ugu, Eden and the team from the SA Development Academy will be going all out to improve on their final placing in the team standings. Newcomers Ilembe will be participating in the event for the first time,

“The Billabong Sa Junior Championships is the most significant annual tournament for South Africa’s U18, U16, U14 and U12 surfers,” says Surfing South Africa GM, Robin de Kock. “Surfing South Africa is stoked that it is taking place at Lower Point in J-Bay for the fifth year in a row and to be partnering with Billabong once again is just the cherry on top. I hope the waves are epic. Good luck to all”

The change in format from the U13, U15 and U17 age categories used over the past few years means that new champions will be crowned in all eight divisions. However many of the 2016 champions will be back to try and win back-to-back titles, including Adin Masencamp (Cape Winelands), Kirsty McGillivray and Kai Woolf (Nelson Mandela Bay), Max Elkington (Cape Town Surfriders) and eThekweni’s James Ribbink and Kayla Nogueira.

The 12 members of the South African Junior Surfing Team who participated in the recent ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in Japan arrived back in the country yesterday and all will be competing for their respective District teams at Jeffreys Bay.

Alongside the Freedom Cup and individual titles at stake, there are a number of specialty awards up for grabs including the BOS Highest Heat Score, VonZipper Airshow and the Wazoogles Surfer of the Event for Boys and Girls.

The official Opening Function will be presided over by SSA General Manager Robin de Kock and takes place at the Billabong offices in Da Gama Rd at 7 pm, shortly after the Manager’s meeting which takes place at 6 pm at the same venue.

As part of Surfing South Africa’s commitment to transformation, the South African Development Academy team is participating thanks to support from Sea Harvest and a grant from Sport and Recreation South Africa.

Kirsty McGillivray (Nelson Mandela Bay) will be going for gold in the U18 girls’ division at the Billabong SA Junior Champs presented by BOS at Jeffreys Bay this week
Photo: Ian Thurtell

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