Seal Point, Cape St Francis - Bryce Du Preez and Zoë Steyn were victorious at the Billabong Junior Series this weekend. There was some epic surfing going down throughout the event, but the two surfers were just that much stronger than their opponents, claiming victory at this iconic Eastern Cape point break. The competition enjoyed three full days of classic waves, and the best junior surfers in the country were reveling in the perfect, non-stop surf.
Just before the Men's Final had begun, the wind had turned slightly southerly, cross-wind at the point, but there were still excellent waves to be found out there. Thomas Lindhorst was looking strong on his backhand and had been on form throughout the entire event. He was up against the powerful Du Preez, and the two surfers were all-in for a win. Towards the end of the final Du Preez, who already had a 7-point ride in the bank, picked up a double-up nugget and blasted it all the way down the point with a number of searing arcs and lip bashes for a 7.75, and he held onto the lead until the finish. This was his first Pro Junior win, and will see him climb the rankings accordingly.
In the Women's Final it was a battle of the goofy-footers, with Zoë Steyn and Ceara Knight battling it out for first place. Both Steyn and Knight are powerful and confident backhand surfers, and know what to do to get the big scores. Steyn picked up the bombs and was awarded the big scores as a result, and despite Knight fighting a solid chase-game she could not catch up, relinquishing the win to Steyn. The two surfers went toe-to-toe in the Final and it could have gone either way, but Knight could not find enough connecting sections to put together the high-risk moves to please the judges.
"I was really stoked to win," said Steyn after the final. "The waves were cooking for the whole event, and to get high scores in the final was really nice."
Knight found her way to the Women's Final by eliminating Aimee Du Preez in the first Semifinal with some tight surfing on her backhand. Despite this heat getting particularly hammered by some ferocious gusts of wind, Knight kept her gravity low and her turns tight for the win, with Du Preez eliminated from the event. It was still a good result for Du Preez, and it will also see her climb the ranks.
In the second Semifinal, Steyn was up against Tayla De Coning and in what was a very low scoring heat considering the conditions, managed the win to advance into the final. Growing up on the big right-hand walls of Nahoon Reef and Queensbury Bay, Steyn is no stranger to surfing on her backhand, and seems to relish the opportunity of surfing with her back to the wave, pulling off some well-timed backhand cracks with the necessary speed, power and flow the judges are looking for.
In the first Men's Semifinal Lindhorst came up against Max Elkington, and it was an evenly matched heat with both goofy-footers pushing as hard as they could. Eventually Lindhorst broke away with a great wave at the end of the heat to secure the win from Elkington and advance into the Final.
Du Preez surfed an incredible Semifinal against the perennial Eli Beukes and won the heat with plenty of room to spare. Banking an 8.75 along with an 8.5, Du Preez had Beukes playing catch-up, and despite flashes of brilliance, he could not find one of the longer, linking waves and was eliminated from the competition, eventually placing third.