Nick Godfrey takes Billabong Junior Series Number 4 in ideal conditions at Victoria Bay
Nick Godfrey captured the premier Pro Junior title at the fourth of five events on the Billabong Junior Series, defeating top seed Klee Strachan in a final that went down to the wire in ideal glassy conditions with solid but inconsistent 4-5 foot waves at Victoria Bay.
Godfrey, 16, from Cape St Francis, went one place better than last year when he finished runner-up in both the U16 and Pro Junior divisions, opening his account in the first 15 seconds with an excellent 8.0 point ride for three huge maneuvers on an overhead wave.
Strachan answered back with a 4.0 and the champion and runner-up then recorded half a dozen short rides, none scoring more than 1.5 points. With less than a minute remaining, Strachan took the lead with a 5.75, but Godfrey was on the next wave and scored 3.35 to clinch the victory by 11.35 vs. 9.75.
The finalists looked destined to meet in the decider from the start of the final day with Godfrey ousting Brendon Gibbens in the quarters and Kyle Lane in the semis while Strachan stopped the charge of event standout Justin Grey (Port Elizabeth) and then fellow Billabong team rider Matthew Bromley.
Beyrick de Vries took his third U16 title of the 2008 series by using a patient strategy, posting the heat’s highest score of 7.0 in the opening minutes and then waiting for 18 of the 20 minutes before recording a 6.0 for a total of 13.0.
In between, Michael February racked up two rides totaling 9.75 but it was not to be the reigning series champion’s day and he placed second ahead of David van Zyland and Dane Staples .
In the tightest of the day’s finals, rising star Slade Prestwich surfed his way to a narrow 12.5 vs. 12.25 point victory over Dylan Lightfoot with Diran Zakarian holding on third place from Vic Bay local Daniel Buitendag. Needing a solid score of 5.85 with just minutes remaining, Prestwich held his nerve and rode his final wave all the way in to earn 6.50.
Contest director Cyril Nel gave the four finalists in the U12 division the option of the paddling out into what for them were double overhead waves or to postpone the final and complete it at the fifth and final event in Jeffreys Bay in September. The four decided unanimously to complete the final at Jeffreys Bay.
The dozen aerial experts in the Von Zipper Air Show took to the surf after the Pro Junior final and went ballistic, boosting themselves into the air and suffering several spectacular wipe-outs. With the substantial crowd clapping and cheering every maneuver, it was Mark Shepperson who took home the R2 000 winner-takes-all prize-purse for smoothly completing a ‘frontside 180 air’.
See www.billabong.com/za for all the results, news and images of the action from today and the previous three days. The recently launched webpage also features athlete profiles, a photo gallery from previous events, local and international video footage, competitions and much more.
Billabong Junior Series Event # 4 of 5, Victoria Bay, Southern Cape
Pro Junior (U/20) Boys
1. Nicholas Godfrey R7 000
2. Klee Strachan R4 000
=3rd Matthew Bromley R2 500
=3rd Kyle Lane R2 500
=5th Chad du Toit R1 000
=5th Brendon Gibbens R1 000
=5th Justin Grey R1 000
=5th Casey Grant (Scottburgh) R1 000
1. Beyrick de Vries R2 000
2. Michael February R1 000
3. David van Zyl (Glenashley, Durban) R 750
4. Dane Staples R 550
1. Slade Prestwich (Park Rynie) R1500
2. Dylan Lightfoot R 850
3. Diran Zakarian R 550
4. Daniel Buitendag (George) R 350
0. Max Armstrong
0. Matthew McGillivray Final not run
0. Jordan Maree Will be run at Jeffreys Bay in September
0. Dylan Wichman
Von Zipper Air Show
Mark Shepperson R2 000
The 2008 Billabong Junior Series started at St Mikes (21-23 February) before moving to Durban (25-27 April), Cape Town (9-11 May) and Victoria Bay in the Southern Cape (7-10 August). It concludes in Jeffreys Bay (18-21 September) where the series champions will be crowned for the 12th successive year.
The Jeffreys Bay event will feature an ASP Africa sanctioned Grade One International Pro Junior event with a US $5 000 (approx R37 500) purse and ratings points counting towards the annual ASP Africa Pro Junior titles. The top four finishers on the ASP Africa Pro Junior ratings receive coveted invitations to the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships in Australia in January 2009.
The Billabong Junior Series is sanctioned by Surfing South Africa (SSA), the national controlling body for the sport. Ratings points earned in each series event also count towards the annual SSA Pro Surf Tour (PST) rankings. The series is proudly supported by First National Bank, Palmers, Kustom and Von Zipper.