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Chantelle Rautenbach won the Billabong Pro Junior Women’s title at Victoria Bay on Friday, defeating Sarah Baum in the final held in rippable head-high waves peeling down the point at the iconic Southern Cape surf break.
Rautenbach, 20, from Melkbosstrand controlled the final from outset, selecting two waves that allowed her to utilise her full repertoire of backhand manoeuvres and post scores of 6.5 and 5.0. While she didn’t improve on these for the remainder of the heat, they ultimately proved sufficient to clinch victory, a cheque of R2 000 and a haul of 1 000 points on the Pro Surf Tour (PST) rankings.
Baum was the favourite going into the final after a convincing semifinal victory over top seed Bianca Buitendag (George), but the 16 year-old from Athlone Park struggled to find waves with good scoring potential during the final and, with a highest ride of 4.35, was left needing 7.15 points when the curtain came down on the 25 minute match up.
Rautenbach, who captured the SA Open Women’s crown in East London last weekend, defeated Heidi Palmboom (Bluff) in a wave-starved, low-scoring semi-final. Palmboom and Buitendag finished equal third overall in the event.
Day 3 action opened with the Pro Junior men going to work in solid 1 to 1.5 metre waves that offered plenty of opportunity for high performance surfing. The country’s best surfers aged 20-and-under did not disappoint, tearing into the long lines on the point and producing several shock eliminations.
First to be ousted was fourth seed Dale Staples (St Francis Bay), winner of the first Billabong Pro Junior event in April, and he was soon followed by the seemingly unstoppable Benji Brand (Kommetjie), then second seed Beyrick de Vries (Umhlanga) and Scottburgh standout Slade Prestwich.
The Pro Junior men’s quarterfinal heats, using the man-on-man format, were held at the end of the day and saw top seed Chad du Toit (Berea) lead throughout to defeat Shawn Dennis (Durban) and set up a crucial semifinal encounter with Matt Bromley who eliminated fellow Billabong team rider Kommetjie resident Davey Brand in their quarter.
The match-up between 2009 ASP Africa champion du Toit and Bromley will be one that the Kommetjie surfer will be desperate to win. With Staples and du Toit having secured their participation in the inaugural ASP World Junior Tour by reaching the last 16 here, Bromley needs to reach the final of the Billabong Pro Junior Vic Bay to clinch the coveted third and final invitation.
In the bottom half of the draw, J-Bay standout Steven Sawyer grabbed victory over Haydn MacNicol and will go up against Nick Godfrey (Cape St Francis) in the second semifinal on Saturday. Godfrey, a previous Vic Bay winner, had racked up an 8.0 and a 6.0 to eliminate David van Zyl (Glenashley).
In between the clashes of the Pro Junior titans, the semifinals U12 boys produced a spectacular display of rising talent as Adin Masencamp (Somerset West) simply blitzed to book his berth in the final alongside runner-up Jordan Maree (Kalk Bay). The pair will be up against perennial achiever Donovan Wichmann (Marina da Gama) and diminutive Ford van Jaarsveld who caused an upset by ousting fellow Kommetjie surfer Ethan Fletcher.
In the U14’s, long time friends and rivals Max Armstrong (Scarborough) and Benji Brand had their opponents fighting for second place in their respective semifinals as they continuously delivered excellent scores. The pair will duke out tomorrow’s final against respective runners-up Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) and Steffen Burrows (Strand).
The highly competitive U16 boys quarterfinals produced another phenomenal display by Benji Brand as the Billabong rider racked up scores of 8.1 and 7.0 to move into the semis along with Matt McGillivray (Port Elizabeth) while Dylan Lightfoot (J-Bay) and a fast improving Brandon Benjamin advanced from Heat 2.
Slade Prestwich detonated with an excellent 8.25 to win Heat 3 ahead of newcomer Wade Simkiss with Max Armstrong and Steven Sawyer dominating the last quarterfinal.
Prestwich then went on to book his spot in tomorrow’s final of the R2 000 VonZipper Air Show by punting a massive boost in the U16 trials.
With the wave period shortening and the swell dropping the organisers will make a call at 7.30am on when and where the final day of action will be staged.
photos Janos Schmidt