Max Elkington continued his phenomenal winning streak by claiming his 15th national age group event title when he clinched the U16 Boys crown in the Billabong Junior Series presented All Aboard Travel at Loch Ness in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
The first of four surfing events that will crown champions in five age divisions for boys and girls for the 20th successive year in October was held in good waves at the Pipe in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, before small waves and onshore winds saw organisers move to the open ocean ‘wildside’, where the finals were completed in tricky head-high surf.
Elkington, 15, caught the best wave that came through in the final and belted a series of radical manoeuvres to register his sixth consecutive Billabong Junior Series event win, pocketing R1,200 and taking the early lead in the series rankings.
Fellow Kommetjie resident Eli Beukes hung on to second place ahead of Bryce Du Preez (East London) and Dillon Hendriks (Jeffreys Bay), who were third and fourth respectively.
In the U16 Girls’, Kayla Nogueira turned the tables on fellow Durbanite S’Nenhlanhla Makhubu (who won the series title last year) in a tightly fought duel where the winning points were scored on the last ride of the final. Tayla de Coning (East London) and Zoe Steyn (Kalk Bay) took the minor places.
The U14 Boys was another tight affair with Daniel Emslie, up from the U12 division last year, who found the best backup wave after all four finalists registered one good ride each. Nate Spalding (Durban), Mitch du Preez (East London) and Travis Pearce finished in that order.
Nogueira secured her second title at the event when she dominated the U14 Girls division, winning each heat she contested, including the final where the Durbanite finished ahead of Lisa van Heerden (Strand) and Aimee du Preez (EL). Caroline Brown (CT) incurred a priority interference penalty that saw her lose one of her two counting rides, and she dropped from second to fourth place.
The U12 Boys title went to Kyra Bennie (Durban), who convincingly beat local pair Nathan Plomaritis and C-Jay Posthumus with Ethan Currin in fourth. The U12 Girls result was also affected by an interference call that saw Lisa van Heerden relegated to second spot behind winner Zia Hendriks, with Emma Bedser and Luanne Hurst collecting third and fourth places.
The newly introduced U10 division was completed in tricky waves at the Pipe, before the event was moved and was dominated by Sergio Nogueira (Durban). Davey Emslie, Michael Russel and Josh Malherbe finished second to fourth in the youngest division in the series events, which is supported by Sea Harvest.
Luke Slijpen (Llandudno) boosted the best aerial manoeuvre during the VonZipper Airshow and took home R2,000 from the winner-takes all 30 minute heat, while Davey Emslie was awarded the Billabong Best Claim of the Contest and a hamper of Billabong products.
Picture of Elkington courtesy of Billabong/McGregor