South Africa Aims for Medal in Aloha Cup at VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship
South Africa’s hopes of a medal at the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Japan will depend on their performance in the Aloha Cup on Saturday after the last two remaining team members were eliminated from the individual event today (Friday).
With an unexpected rise in swell size accompanied by clean offshore conditions, South Africa’s Adin Masencamp (Strand) charged through three cutthroat U18 boys Repercharge rounds before coming up just short of qualifying for Sunday’s final day of competition at the world’s biggest junior surfing event.
The 18-year-old from the Cape Winelands posted his personal best result of eighth place in his fourth and final ISA World Junior Surfing Championships, after finishing 43rd, 25th and 13th in Ecuador, California and the Azores respectively over the past three years.
Eli Beukes (Kommetjie) was no match for his opponents in the U16 boys Repercharge Round 5, the first heat of the day on Podium 2. In an uncharacteristically lackluster display, Beukes only rode two waves and earned a heat tally of 4.83 while his opponents each caught at least half-a-dozen waves, dropped scores in the excellent range and accumulated double digit totals
With all the team members eliminated from the event South Africa ended the day in 12th place in the provisional national team rankings. The team could still finish in 10th place if surfers from Peru and Argentina do not reach the final four in their respective divisions on Sunday.
The gold medal winning nation will go down to the wire with the USA and Hawaii in the box seats, each with six surfers still in contention for medals. Hosts Japan (who finished fourth overall in the Azores last year) could still spring an upset and grab the team gold medal in their home waters.
South Africa has fortuitously qualified for the Aloha Cup competition which usually features the Top 8 nations at the previous ISA World Junior Surfing Championship. Although SA finished 9th overall in the Azores last year, Tahiti, the eighth ranked nation, has not sent a team to Japan thereby gifting SA the opportunity to earn a medal at this event.
The Aloha Cup is a form of relay surfing where each participating nation selects five members (four boys and one girl) from their team. Each surfer needs to ride two waves before returning to the team area to tag their next teammate. All 10 rides must be completed in the time allotted – usually between 45 and 60 minutes.
South Africa is in the first semi-final along with France, Japan and USA. The second semi-final features Australia, Hawaii, Brazil and Costa Rica. The two teams in each semi-final who accumulate the highest combined total from all 10 rides progress to the final where they are awarded gold, silver, bronze and copper medals.
The Aloha Cup semi-finals and final will be held on Saturday with the last three heats in each of the U18 and U16 boys and girls individual divisions being run on Sunday
Schedule for Day 7 (Saturday)
ISA Aloha Cup
- 10:00am – Semifinal #1 (France, Japan, USA, South Africa) (Approximately 3am SA Time)
- 11:00am – Semifinal #2 (Australia, Hawaii, Brazil, Costa Rica)
- 12:00pm – Final
*All times in Japan Standard Time, UTC +9:00.
The 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship runs until Sunday 1 October when the top four in each individual division, plus the top four national teams will be awarded Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper medals.
The South African Junior team is supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa. Sea Harvest has also provided support to South African junior surfing. Flights were arranged by All Aboard Travel.