NewsBillabong Junior Series BallitoDaniel Orpen

Juniors set the tone for an epic 10-days of surfing in Ballito

The 21st edition of the Billabong Junior Series Ballito presented by BOS kicked off the 10 day Ballito Pro Surf Festival when South Africa's best U18 surfers and a contingent internationals opened their accounts in Round One of the JQS 1,000 men's event today

The competitors were greeted with sunshine, warm water, small two-to-three foot waves and light winds at Ballito's Willard Beach, 45 mins drive north of Durban. The conditions were ideal for the sport's future stars to put on a show and they took full advantage by producing some hard-fought duels as the battled to advance to the next round of the prestigious event.

Tide-Lee Ireland advances to the Mens Pro Junor Round of 16 in the 2018 Billabong Ballito Junior Series after winning Heat 1 of Round of 24 at Ballito, South Africa. Tide-Lee Ireland dished up a dynamic peformance filled with high risk manoeuvres to win his Round One heat in the JQS 1,000 event at the Billabong Junior Series WSL / Kelly Cestari

Round One consisted of four heats and South Africans Tide-Lee Ireland and Aya Gericke won their respective heats, as did Indonesia's Rio Waida (IND) and late entry Mateus Herdy from Brazil. They, along with their respective runner's up, Luke Thompson, Saxton Randall, Daniel Emslie and Daniel Orpen (all South Africans) will take on the seeded surfers in Round Two when competition resumes tomorrow.

There were some upsets on the day when Mexican-born local, Sebastian Williams was eliminated along with the likes of York Van Jaarsveldt, Mitch Du Preez and Brazilian Ryan Kainalo.

Aya Gericke advances to the Mens Pro Junor Round of 16 in the 2018 Billabong Ballito Junior Series after winning Heat 4 of Round of 24 at Ballito, South Africa. Aya Gericke held his nerve and rode the heat-winning wave just two minutes before the siren sounded to end the encounter WSL / Kelly Cestari

Saturday sees the main protagonists take to the water as round two will get underway. Cape Town's Luke Slijpen will be looking to carry on where he left of at the JQS event in Port Elizabeth earlier this week. Others to look out for are the Jeffreys Bay duo of Angelo Faulkner and Dillon Hendricks, Capetonians Eli BeukesEli Beukes and Max Elkington, as well as Koby Oberholzer from Warner Beach.

In the women's draw, international surfers like Tiana-Breeze De Mooijfrom New Zealand and Advah Bar Sade from Israel will join top local junior surfers Sophie Bell, Zoë Steyn, Kayla Nogueira and Ceara Knight in a bid for glory in this competitive division.

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