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SA duo surprise at World Juniors Down Under

The 2016 World Junior Surfing Championship got underway at Bombo Beach, Kiama on the NSW South Coast of Australia on Wednesday with South Africans Adin Masencamp (Strand) and Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay) creating upsets by defeating top-seeded surfers in Round 1.

Competing in peaky one-metre waves with light onshore winds, the top two seeds in the WSL Africa squad both won their respective opening encounters to advance directly to Round 3 in the annual event that features a field of 36 of surfing’s biggest names aged 18-and-under from the seven WSL regions.

Up against highly touted Nolan Rapoza (USA) and Harley Ross-Webster (AUS), Masencamp caused a massive upset in the last heat of the round as he posted two average scores early to hold the lead and then put the nail in the coffin with a 6.83 late in the heat to claim the heat win.

‘I never really think much about names before a heat,’ Masencamp said. ‘Round 1 heats are always a worry regardless of who you’re up against so I just wanted to stay busy and get my scores early. It seemed to work so I’m stoked.’

Earlier in the day, Maree was the first member of the seven-strong WSL Africa squad to take to the surf and the Capetonian surprised event No3 seed, Hawaiian phenom Finn McGill, and Chauncey Robinson (USA) by posting a pair of high five point scores to win his match-up.

Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) and Bevan Willis (uMdloti), who was given a wild card into the world’s most prestigious junior event, placed third in their respective Round 1 clashes while Sebastian Williams (Durban) missed his heat due to visa problems.

All three will get a second opportunity to progress to Round 3 in cut-throat, man-on-man Round 2 duels where the winner advances and the loser is eliminated in equal 25th position overall.

Jake Marshall (USA) produced the highest single ride score of the opening day, 8.33 out of 10, and the highest heat tally of 14.0 out of 20. Other standouts included Weslley Dantas (BRA), Luiz Diaz (CNY), Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Australian Ethan Ewing, who is the top seed for the event after qualifying for the elite WSL Championship Tour (CT) at the end of 2016 season at the age of 18.

The opening round of the Girl’s event saw excellent performances from Brisa Hennessey (HAW), Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) and Australians Macy Callaghan and Kobie Enright. South Africa’s Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) and Kirsty McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) face Leilani McGonagle (CRI) and Ariane Ochoa (EUK) in Round 2 respectively after each placing third in their Round 1 heats.

The WSL World Junior Championships will run until 12 January.

Picture of Masencamp courtesy of WSL/Cestari


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