South Africa: Star Trio Carry SA’s Hopes At Azores Showdown

Adin Masencamp (Strand), Sebastian Williams (Durban) and Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay) carried the hopes of the South African junior surfing team into the penultimate day of the VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in the Azores after another dramatic day of competition.

Smaller but still unruly 1-1.5 metre waves and variable winds greeted the remaining competitors at Praia Monte Verde as South Africa had three of their six surfers eliminated from the event, dropped two places in the provisional team standings and missed out on a medal in the ISA Aloha Cup at the end of the day.

Max Elkington (Kommetjie) was the first South African relegated to supporting his teammates from the beach when he could only muster a pair of three-point rides and placed third behind surfers from Hawaii and Portugal in his U16 Boys Round 4 heat.

Three heats later Williams staged a stirring comeback in the dying seconds of his U16 Boys match up. Exiting a tube and carving a layback cutback to earn 6.33, Williams jumped from fourth to second and advanced to the last 18 in the division.

Despite recording the highest heat total in the last U16 Boys Round 4 heat, Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach) joined Elkington on the sidelines when he was penalised for an interference and his second scoring ride was deducted, relegating him to fourth place.

Elkington finished equal 19th overall in the U16 Boys division, adding 390 points to the team tally, while Oberholzer ended equal 28th with 345 points.

Woolf moved into the quarter-finals of the U16 Girls division when she finished runner-up in her Round 3 heat. But fellow Jeffreys Bay resident Kirsty McGillivray was ousted in third place in her clash, bringing her campaign to an end in equal 17th place with 400 points towards the team standings.

Masencamp had already qualified for the Boys U18 quarter-finals on Thursday, but he got the five person South Africa squad off to the best possible start in the ISA Aloha Cup semi-finals, the last action on Friday.

One of the ISA’s signature events, the Aloha Cup is a tag-team style competition featuring four boys and one girl from each team. Each athlete rides a total of two waves during the hour long heat before returning to the beach to tag the next team member. The scores from all five team members are tallied to get the team total.

Competing against Hawaii, France and host nation Portugal, Masencamp opened South Africa’s account with an excellent 8.67, the highest ride of the hour long match-up, then quickly added a 4.60 for an outstanding contribution of 13.27, before tagging Joshe Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay) within 10 minutes.

Contributions of 4.93 from Faulkner and 4.04 from McGillivray saw the team slip to third place and although Jordy Maree (Kommetjie) added 8.10 to get them back into contention, South Africa’s final surfer, Bevan Willis (Sat Rock), only had seven minutes remaining in which to find his two rides and earn sufficient points to earn a top two spot and a place in the finals for the team.

As time ran out, Willis added 2.17 points and then could not get back to the team box in time, which saw South Africa penalised four points and finishing in third place.

The final will feature Costa Rica and Japan from the first semi and Hawaii and France from the second.

Australia holds a significant lead in the provisional team rankings heading into the weekend, with 10 of its 12 surfers still in the event. South Africa dropped from seventh to ninth and their remaining three team members will be going all-out for both individual and team honours.

Source: South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.