South African junior surfers claim the Reunion Island Challenge

October 13, 2009 | Surfing

Reunion Island

The recently selected 2010 South African Junior Team were impressive over the weekend with two wins out of a possible three in the individual finals and a strong points victory in the team contest in the Reunion Island Challenge at Kalk Bay Reef in Cape Town Sunday (October 10).

Hosts Western Province came second and the visitors from Reunion Island were third. The Emerging South African team took fourth place ahead of Boland.

South African team member David Brand, fresh from a third place finish in the Quiksilver International King of the Groms in France, made good use of the 3 foot Kalk Bay barrels to take honours in the U18 Boys Final beating current SA Champion Matt Bromley of Western Province into second spot. Hugo Dubosc of Reunion Island was third and Mikey February of the South African team came fourth.

Brand, a bronze medal winner at the ISA World Junior Championships in Ecuador in April, is the top seed in the U18 SA Team which will compete in the ISA World Junior championships in New Zealand in January 2010.

Sarah Baum of the SA Team underlined her class and experience in the Under 18 Girls Final when she took the title ahead of Camilla Davila of Reunion Island. Heidi Palmboom of the SA Junior Team came third and current Under 18 South African Champion Alice McGregor of the Emerging SA team had to settle for fourth place.

In the competitive Under 16 boys division, Western Province surfer Daniel Wilson upset the form books to take gold ahead of South African team members Steven Sawyer and Jarred Veldhuis who were second and third respectively. Wilson’s WP team mate, Benji Brand, came fourth.

This was a significant maiden victory for Wilson in a major contest. The Tokai based surfer, who began his career some five years ago when he won the SSA Academy Cup, has improved in leaps and bounds this year and is a huge asset to WP Surfing.

Max Armstrong of Western Province was victorious in the Under 14 Boys final but at one stage it looked like Benjamin de Castro of the Emerging SA Team would win this division.

De Castro posted the highest wave score and led the heat for some time but the young Muizenberg surfer could not find a decent back up score and let the beautiful glass trophy which went to all four champions, slip into Armstrong’s hands.

Lucas Jannier of Reunion Island was third and Brandon Benjamin of the Emerging SA Team, came fourth.

The first day of competition in the Reunion Challenge was held in 2 foot windswept Long Beach surf and with no waves on the Atlantic side Kalk Bay Reef was chosen as the venue for Day 2. Although choppy, small and slightly inconsistent, the waves were contestable and provide many of the contestants with a chance to surf in an event at the famous Kalk Bay Reef. Kalk Bay Reef last hosted an event on the final day of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic in June.

The 11 strong Group of eight Reunion surfers and management left for Durban today where they will train under the watchful eyes of some of South Africa’s top coaches.

On Friday and Saturday the Reunion visitors take on a new Emerging SA Team plus a team from Central KZN and Southern KZN. This event will take place at Dairy Beach on the Durban beachfront and will follow a similar format to that used in the Cape Town contest. They return home on Sunday and have indicated that they will be hosting a reciprocal exchange in Reunion next year.

Surfing South Africa is the recognized governing body for the sport in South Africa. SSA is a member of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).The Reunion Island Challenge series is not only part and parcel of the SA Junior Team’s preparations for the 2010 ISA World Junior Championships in New Zealand in January but is also a talent identification initiative that is part of SSA’s strategic plans.

The projects are supported by funding from the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDTF).

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