Slijpen through to last eight in California - TeamSA
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Slijpen through to last eight in California

Slijpen

Luke Slijpen continued his charge at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in California, advancing to the last eight in the U18 boys main event, while six of his teammates were eliminated.

Slijpen is now just two heats away from the grand final and an individual gold, silver, bronze or copper medal in his division. He will get a second chance in the Repechage rounds if he finishes outside the top two in either of those main event heats.

Zoe Steyn was narrowly outpointed in her bid for a top-two spot in her U18 girls main event round four encounter, finishing third behind former ISA gold medallist Summer Macedo from Hawaii and Germany’s Rachel Presti. The 14-year-old from East London will resume her campaign in Repechage round six and will need to complete five more successful heats to qualify for a medal.

Both Tayla de Coning and Gabi Lailvaux struggled to find waves with scoring potential in the tricky conditions, and finished fourth in their respective heats in the U18 Girls Repechage round three. That result earned the pair equal 43rd place in the division, contributing 270 points each to Team SA’s total.

In the U16 girls, Steyn – who is competing in both the U16 and U18 girls divisions – and her compatriots Kayla Nogueira and Ceara Knight were all eliminated in Repechage round four. Steyn and Nogueira ended equal 25th with 360 points each while Knight placed 31st with 330 points for the team.

Luke Thompson was on fire in the U16 boys Repechage rounds, posting consecutive heat wins and moving into round five, where he will be joined by teammate Mitch du Preez.

Tide-Lee Ireland racked up a respectable 12.90 out of 20 total to win his U16 boys Repechage round three heat, but was outpointed by a pair of Japanese rivals in round four. Ireland ended his participation in the world’s biggest junior surfing event in equal 41st place in the division, delivering 280 points for the team.

After six days of competition, Team SA still has four surfers in contention and has slipped to No 12 out of 44 nations on the provisional team rankings. Japan and host country USA have all 12 team members in the event and are tied in pole position in the provisional standings.

Hawaii and Australia each had three surfers eliminated, and France is sitting just outside a team medal position in fifth place, having lost a surfer in all four divisions. Brazil and Spain have six surfers remaining and those just ahead of South Africa, with five surfers in contention, include Portugal, Germany, Peru and New Zealand.

Day seven comprises Repechage rounds and the semi-finals of the unique ISA Aloha Cup, a form of relay surfing contested by five-person squads from the top eight-ranked nations in the 2017 World Junior Championship.

The South African junior team placed 11th overall in Japan last year so Slijpen will spend time cheering on his teammates including Steyn in the U18 girls on the main podium, Du Preez and Thompson in the U16 boys on the second podium.

Photo: Zoe Steyn throws a sheet of spray on her way to a berth in Round 6 of the U18 girls Repechage. Supplied by ISA / Reed


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