Seal Point – The howling wind and sheet rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the surfers competing in day 2 of the Billabong Pro Junior Cape St Francis. From first light the surfers were in the line-up, battling the elements, and getting a feel for the shifting conditions.
Slade Prestwich from Scottburgh, who currently leads the men’s rankings, made no bones about his intentions from the outset, winning the first heat of the day in the icy, offshore conditions.
“It’s been a great event so far,” said Slade in between dodging rain squalls. “I haven’t had the best scores but it’s all been going to plan so far. In this sort of wind the surf is conducive to backhand surfing, and I’ve been impressed with Davey Brand and Steven Sawyer surfing on their backhands. They’re both really surfing tight in the pocket. I surfed a slightly longer and thicker board in my last heat, thinking it would help in this wind, but I think I’m going to go back to my short board and just try to surf it tight in the pocket as well.”
Slade has been watching the event closely. “Bianca has been surfing really well, fast and smooth,” said Slade. “Koby Oberholzer has also been surfing great.”
The biggest upset of the contest was the elimination of Mikey February in one of the earlier heats. Whilst disappointing for February, he can gain solace in the fact that he has already qualified for the ASP World Junior Championships in Bali in October. The invitations to the ASP World Junior Championships go to the top two ASP Africa members on the ASP World Rankings plus the top three in the ASP Africa year-end standings. The Billabong Pro Junior women’s event is a one-off qualifier with the top two finishers awarded invitations to the ASP World Junior Champs.
Young Max Elkington from Hout Bay was also on fire today, carving it up on the windy faces. “I found it quite difficult out there today but I managed to find a few scoring waves,” said Max, surfing the windy conditions on his backhand. “I’m through to the next round so I’m chuffed.”
The Billabong Pro Junior offers US $5 000 (approx. R42 000) in prize-money with $2 000 plus 250 ranking points going to the winner of the men’s event and the women’s winner receiving $1 000 of the total $2 000 prize-purse. The event finals will be held tomorrow afternoon, with a prizegiving on the beach afterwards.