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SA team slip out of top 10 at World Juniors

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It wasn’t the best day at the ‘office’ for South Africa’s surfers as the team dropped out of the top 10 nations in the provisional rankings at the VISSLA ISA World Junior Championship in Japan on Thursday.

Nine of the 11 team members in contention at the beginning of the day were eliminated from the event.

Adin Masencamp (Strand) in the U18 boys division and Eli Beukes (Kommetjie) in the U16 boys are the only South Africans still in the event after a frantic day of competition filled with dozens of 15-minute repechage heats playing out in marginal knee to hip-high short period swells, chopped up by strong cross-shore winds.

Masencamp slipped to fourth place in his main event round 4 heat and will resume his challenge in repechage round 6 on Friday, while Beukes won his repechage round 3 heat and grabbed second spot in his round 4 encounter to keep his debut campaign at the ISA Junior World Champs alive.

In the Girls U18 division, Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) was eliminated in repechage round 2, but Kirsty McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) won her heat and went on to finish runner-up in her round 3 duel before being ousted in a hard-fought, low-scoring round 4 clash.

Similarly in the U16 Girls, Kayla Nogueira (uMhlanga) slipped out of the event when she placed third in her repechage round 3 heat, while fellow debutant S’nenhlanhla Makhubu (Durban) secured the runner-up berth there and progressed to round 4 where she slipped to fourth spot and out of the event.

The U16 boys, Dellin Hendricks (Jeffreys Bay), Max Elkington (Kommetjie) and Luke Slijpen (Llandudno) all progressed to repechage round 4 before coming unstuck.

With three days remaining in the event, the USA heads the provisional rankings after having just one of their 12 team members eliminated. France and Australia have lost two members each and are neck and neck with hosts Japan, who can no longer count on additional team points from three members.

South Africa are currently in 11th position, just behind Portugal and New Zealand and narrowly ahead of Canada, who still have three surfers in contention, and Israel who, like South Africa, have two.

The team’s hopes of a top-10 finish in the standings now depend on Masencamp and Beukes, and they will be supporting them loudly as they surf their way through the gruelling repechage rounds.

Picture of Eli Beukes in day-five action courtesy of ISA/Reed


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