Durban surfer rules waves at Billabong Junior

DURBAN surfer Slade Prestwich was a multiple winner at the Billabong Junior Series in East London, racking up the lion’s share of the points and prize-money on offer as he edged Jeffreys Bay’s Steven Sawyer in the top final.

In a tough under-20 contest, Prestwich was trailing a dominant Sawyer before he stroked into a wide-set wave and went to town on what was the highest-scoring wave of the heat.

The wave opened up for Prestwich and, after a big foam climb, he strung together a series of powerful turns to impress the judges and jump into the lead. “I was lucky to get that wave,” he said. “Steven was out of position and I took off in the white water and managed a few good turns.”

The u-20 win saw Prestwich pocket R10000. On top of that, he won the VonZipper Flair Up Award of R10000 for the Best Aerial, for a big air reverse he pulled off in an earlier heat. He also won the Nixon Winner Takes All Award for the highest heat score of 16.25 points out of a possible 20.

Sarah Baum was the winner of the u-20 girls’ division. The Durban-based goofy-footer had been travelling and had not competed at home for some time. “I haven’t surfed in a contest in South Africa for so long. It was good to be competing at home again,” Baum said. “The waves were fun, and it has been a great event.”

Max Armstrong was the winner of the DaKine Youthful Movement Award for the Most Progressive Wave surfed during the event, for a massive air 360.

The tournament had a somewhat difficult start when the municipality was forced to close the contest venue of Nahoon Beach due to sewage runoff from a burst pipe caused by the heavy rains at the Easter weekend.

Gonubie was chosen as the alternative venue by contest director Cyril Nel, and proved to be a good choice.

Shane Sykes, from Salt Rock, won the u-16 boys’ division.

In the u-18 girls, Durban winner Chanelle Botha took the win again.

Kai Woolf, from Jeffreys Bay, won the u-14 girls division.

Josh Smit took the u-18 boys division, Adin Masencamp (Cape Town) the u-14 boys and Max Elkington (Cape Town) the u-12 boys.

The next event in the Billabong Junior Series will be held in Kommetjie, Cape Town, in August.

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