Multiple champion and three time SA Junior team member Nikita Robb of Border added the Under-18 South African title to her list of achievements, when she beat Michelle Imeson of Southern KZN into second place in perfect 3-4 foot surf at New Pier in Durban on Sunday, 1 October.
Robb, who won the US Open last year, and was vice-captain of the SA Junior Team at the ISA World championships in Brazil earlier this year, was on top of her game at the weekend, and had the title wrapped up within the first five minutes of the heat.
She will be taking some time off surfing over the next six weeks or so as she finishes school, but will be in action at the SA team trials at the end of November.
Imeson pushed Danielle Le Roux of KZN into third place and Leslee Salzman, Zululand’s only finalist, was fourth.
The Under-16 final was a competitive affair between two time SA Junior team member Tarryn Chudleigh of WP and national team-mate Alice McGregor of Border, but eventually Chudleigh just edged out McGregor, who was competing with a debilitating back strain.
2005 SA junior team member an O’Neill team rider Lisa Mace of WP was third with another national junior team surfer, Chantelle Rautenbach of Boland ending fourth.
Tiny Bianca Buitendag (she weighs under 40kg) put Southern Cape’s name onto the leader-board when she won the Under 14 final from local surfer Heidi Palmboom of KZN.
Holly Armstrong of WP was third and Cara Mac Donald of Border was fourth.
Sarah Baum of KZN underlined her amazing talent when she convincingly won the Under 12 Girl’s title.
Baum, who regularly makes finals in the Under 20 division, scored the highest points of all the finalists, both male and female, when she put together a total of 18.25 out of a possible 20.
The score was made up of a perfect 10 point ride and an 8.25.
First time finalist Caryn MacNicol of Southern KZN was second, rookie Natasha Bernstein of WP came third and another newcomer, Emma Smith of Border, was fourth.
In the event as a whole, KwaZulu-Natal won team honours and the Freedom Cup at the 2006 O’Neill SA Junior Championships which ended in perfect 3-4 foot offshore surf at Durban’s New Pier on Sunday, October 1.
Despite having to overcome a massive 8000 point penalty which was imposed on them for not adhering to team selection criteria, the talented surfers from KZN managed to beat defending champions Western Province by a mere 100 points in a spread of 38000 points.
In winning back the title they lost to WP back in 2003, KZN have maintained their unbeaten 40 year record at home, and overcame a penalty that seemed insurmountable at the start of the tournament.
The two top provinces were neck and neck throughout the championships and on the final day produced three champions each, while WP had ten finalists to KZN’s nine.
Western Province needed to have a finalist place just one position better than they did to retain the Freedom Cup, but it was not to be, and the tournament belonged to the hosts.
Special awards in all categories presented at the 2006 O’Neill SA Junior championships went to Kyle Lane (Surfer of the Contest), Jordy Smith (Sportsmanship), Michael February (Zig Zag Blowing Up award), and Zululand (Best Team).
In the event’s fun awards, the annual Superfreak Show in which surfers dress up in weird and wonderful costumes in the hope of winning a share of R1000, took place just before the finals.
First prize of R300 was won by "Naked Scream Boy", second prize and R200 went to "Mom and Dad" and third prize of R200 was awarded to the "Goggles Kid".
This was the 11th SA junior Surfing Championships, and the fourth sponsored by O’Neill South Africa.
The event featured 205 team members from eight provinces competing in the an Under 18, Under 16, Under 14 and Under 12 division for boys and girls.
The 2007 O’Neill SA Junior Championships will take place in the Eastern Province.