MATT McGillivray was victorious in a nail-biting finish in the RVCA Junior Challenge J-Bay, winning the premier under-20 division as well as gaining a coveted entry into the JBU Supertrial to be held at Supertubes in the town in June.
Helped by his local knowledge, the hometown surfer threw caution to the wind in the final, going for some big aerial moves and pulling them off successfully.
His first such move, a big forehand air reverse, saw him score 6.75 and go firmly into the lead.
Max Armstrong fought back, but ended in the runner-up spot, with Dylan Lightfoot in third place and Slade Prestwich fourth.
“In the beginning everyone was sitting very far up the point, so I tried to come a bit lower down the point to get one or two to start off,” McGillivray said. “Local knowledge definitely helps.”
The Jeffreys Bay Smith family were well represented in the U20 girls’ final, with Emma and Gina duelling it out with Olivia Brand and Jade Mets. The Smiths made it one-two, with Emma winning convincingly and Gina in second place. Mets came third and Brand fourth.
In the U20 girls’ semifinals, a fierce paddle battle between Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach) and Gina Smith was coupled with a sudden flurry of waves that saw Smith turn the heat around and go from fourth place to first place, before finally dropping into second.
Before the finals, it was time for the Nixon Weird Board event.
Eight surfers were commissioned to shape an unconventional board shape and design.
Shapers who delivered boards were Thys Strydom, Dutchie, Eric Stedman, Simon Fish, Glen Row, David Stubbs, Anton Butler and Glen D’Arcy.
Some serious fun ensued in the tiny but reeling Lower Point waves, with Richard Kidd and York van Jaarsveldt both being declared heat winners.
In the U10 boys’ final, it was Christian Venter who came out firing, and picked up an early lead. But James Ribbink was hot on his heels, and soon overtook Venter, and went on to win.
Ribbink stayed in the water for the U12 boys’ final and won this as well over York van Jaarsveldt, Tide-Lee Ireland and Sebastian Baurield.
Sophie Bell was the outstanding surfer of the U14 girls’ final. She scored 8.5 out of 10 for her highest scoring ride, and backed it up with a 5.75, leaving all the others in the final needing a combination of waves to catch her. Finn Musson was second, Kirsty McGillivray third, and Zoe Smith fourth.
The only international surfer in the event, Sebastian Williams, surged into an early lead in the U14 boys’ final, despite a strong push from Koby Oberholzer. Williams, a South African who grew up in Mexico, remained in the lead with some fast and light-footed surfing.
New kid on the block Bevan Willis surfed a powerful and explosive U16 final against some fierce competitors to take the win with relative ease.