Sarah Baum (KZN Central) made the most of the contestable conditions at Durban’s New Pier on Saturday, October 8, claiming victory and her national titles in the under-17 Girls division at the Hurley SA Junior Champs presented by Durban.
Nine year-old Kai Woolf (Eastern Province), the youngest competitor in the 150-strong field, signalled her arrival by confidently surfing her way to victory in the U13 Girls division, with Tahra Uren (Eastern Province) taking home the U15 Girls title.
In the overall points competition, Western Province claimed a narrow but deserved victory, having seen their surfers dominate proceedings consistently over the weeklong Surfing South Africa premier event. This is the first win by any Western Province team in Durban.
Finalists of this year’s Hurley SA Junior Champs awoke this morning to near perfect conditions at New Pier (Durban), with 2-3ft glassy lefts and rights making it an action-packed affair.
Newly crowned SA U17 champion Sarah Baum made the most of her international experience dominating her division from start to finish.
As well as having earned her national U17 Girls title, Baum was awarded her green Protea blazers, signalling automatic inclusion in the SA Junior team that will compete in the ISA World Junior Championships in Panama next year.
In a closely fought U15 Girls final, Tahra Uren (Eastern Province) prevailed over Southern KZN duo Chanelle Botha and Courtney Ellish. No small consolation for Botha was the fact that earlier in the event, she achieved a heat score of 19.15 out of a possible 20 and as the highest heat total during the Hurley SA Junior Champs, Botha’s near-perfect score positioned her atop the ‘I’m Off To Oz, Bru’ ratings.
This score won the talented 14 year-old a trip to the Australian Open of Surfing presented by Hurley and Billabong at Manley Beach in Australia next year.
A stoked Botha had this to say after being awarded the Hurley prize: “I am extremely excited; I really didn’t expect to win such an awesome prize or to be the one with the highest heat score!
“I really want to thank my brother Wade and the rest of the Southern KZN team for their support. I have never been overseas so haven’t been to Australia before and I cannot wait, it’s going to be really exciting being there for the Australian Open!”
Western Province narrowly edged out hosts KZN Central in the overall points standings for the Freedom Cup. Having won eight consecutive team titles between 1996 (when Durban hosted the first SA Junior Championships) and 2003, the team from KZN Central came close to reclaiming the team title. However, current holders of the team title Western Province were fielding a strong team and were able to defend their title.
Robin de Kock, General Manager of Surfing South Africa, commenting on the event said, “The Hurley SA Junior Championships was a huge success. There was some outstanding surfing in all of the divisions and so much talent that South African surfing looks set for the future.
“In 15 years of holding this event, Surfing South Africa will use the success of the 2011 Hurley SA Junior Champs as a benchmark. We are privileged to be partners with Hurley and grateful to the city of Durban for supporting the event.”
According to Hurley SA Marketing Manager Liam Wood, ““Hurley is extremely proud with the outcome of this event. We are grateful for the support of all of the spectators, managers, and individuals from Surfing South Africa, coaches and parents, as their hard work has contributed to the success of the event.
“We would especially like to congratulate all of the groms for their outstanding performances, we have been impressed by the standard of surfing and we are certain that the level of surfing will grow from strength to strength each year. Having committed to a 5-year programme supporting junior surfing in South Africa, we are super excited about where this event is going, and we remain committed to inspiring SA’s future champions.”
For more information about the Hurley SA Junior Champs presented by Durban, visit www.hurley.co.za, ‘Like’ Hurley South Africa on Facebook or follow @HurleyZA on Twitter.
Daily results and photos have been posted on www.hurley.co.za and www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za.
Supporting sponsors are Skullcandy, Red Bull, Red Bull Mobile, Southern Sun North Beach, Container Conversions and Zigzag. The event also has the support of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, and Sport and Recreation South Africa. The event is organised by Nerve Events and the host province is the KZN Central Surfriders Association.
Hurley SA Junior Surfing Champs presented by the City of Durban, October 4-9, 2011:
U13 Girls final:1. Kai Woolf (EP) 2. Ruth Armstrong (WP) 3. Cana Foster (KZN Central) 4. Lauren Ridge (Border)
U15 Girls final:1. Tahra Uren (EP) 2. Chanelle Botha (SKZN) 3. Courtney Ellish (SKZN) 4. Anoush Zakarian (Boland)
U17 Girls final:1. Sarah Baum (KZN Central) 2. Emma Smith (EP) 3. Nicole Pallet (WP) 4. Amy Bosworth (WP)
Freedom Cup Team Results:1. Western Province 26.700 points 2. KZN Central 26.666 points 3. Eastern Province 26.270 4. Southern KZN 24.891 5. Boland 21.520 6. SA Development 17.516 7. Zululand 16.240 8. Border 15.790 9. Southern Cape 6.420