Davey Brand and Bianca Buitendag won the men’s and women’s titles at the ASP One-Star rated Billabong Pro Junior at Cape St Francis on the weekend to qualify for the seven strong South African squad who will compete in the prestigious ASP World Junior Surfing Championships in Bali at the beginning of October.
Competing on his backhand in the excellent waves that peeled down point throughout the three days of the event, Brand, the 10th seed, eliminated higher rated opponents such as second seed and fellow Kommetjie resident Mikey February, seventh seed Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) and younger brother Benji on his path to the final.
There Brand came up against in-form J-Bay local Dylan Lightfoot, 17, who had defeated top seed Slade Prestwich in their semi-final match-up. Brand posted two scores in the excellent range in the final and despite Lightfoot fighting back and needing just a small score for victory the title went to the Capetonian.
“This has been my best event of the year,” an elated Brand said. “I’m just so stoked that my parents were here to see it.”
Brand earned US $2 000 (approx. R17 000) and 250 invaluable points which moved him up into second place behind Prestwich (Scottburgh) in the yearend ASP Africa rankings. February ended the year ranked third and Lightfoot tied for fourth with Beyrick de Vries (Umhlanga) who was competing in a 6-Star rated event in Spain where he finished in an outstanding ninth place.
The top three men in the ASP Africa rankings plus the top two South African juniors on the ASP World rankings receive invitations to compete in the US $100 000 Oakley ASP World Junior Championships. De Vries, No. 112, and February, No. 179 had clinched the ASP World ranking slots and will be joined by Prestwich, Brand and Lightfoot in taking on the world’s best surfers aged 20-and-younger in Bali.
As the only ASP rated women’s Pro Junior in South Africa this year, the Billabong Women’s Pro Junior became a one-off qualifier for the two available slots into the Oakley ASP World Junior Championships.
Proceedings were dominated by the country’s top two female surfers, Bianca Buitendag (George), who has based herself in France since matriculating at the end of last year, and good friend and fellow 18 year-old, Sarah Baum (Athlone Park), who are currently Nos. 5 and 10 respectively in the ASP Women’s Star Rankings.
The pair swept into the final at Cape St Francis to secure their invitations to Bali with Buitendag posting the highest heat tally of the entire event, 17.9 out of a possible 20, along the way before going on to clinch the title.
All the action from the Billabong Pro Junior can be found at http://billabongprojunior.co.za/ and www.facebook.com/Billabong.South.Africa
Billabong Pro Junior Men Final
Davey Brand def. Dylan Lightfoot
Billabong Pro Junior Men Semi-Finals
SF1: Dylan Lightfoot def. Slade Prestwich
SF2: Davey Brand def. Benji Brand
Billabong Pro Junior Women Final
Bianca Buitendag def. Sarah Baum
Billabong Pro Junior Women Semi-Finals
SF1: Bianca Buitendag def. Tanika Hoffman
SF2: Sarah Baum def. Emma Smith
ASP Africa Men’s Pro Junior Yearend Rankings
1. Slade Prestwich 399 pts
2. Davey Brand 355 pts
3. Mikey February 220 pts
4. Beyrick de Vries 188 pts
4. Dylan Lightfoot 188 pts
6. Dane Staples 184 pts
7. Jarred Veldhuis 174 pts
7. Rigard Smit 174 pts
7. Steven Sawyer 174 pts
10. Josh Smit 164pts
ASP Africa Men’s Pro Junior Yearend Rankings
1. Bianca Buitendag 250 pts
2. Sarah Baum 188 pts
3. Tanika Hoffman 141 pts
3. Emma Smith 141 pts
Pictured: Davey Brand (Kommetjie) throws a rooster-tail of spray on his way to victory in the Billabong Pro Junior at Cape St Francis on Sunday
Photo: Roy Harley
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About ASP: The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the recognized world governing body of professional surfing and has been crowning surfing’s undisputed World Champions since 1976. The ASP sanctions and crowns World Champions for the following tours: the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women’s World Tour, ASP World Junior Tour, ASP World Longboard and Masters Championships. The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts and other media platforms. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Japan, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.