Diran Zakarian and Emma Smith are the top men's and women's seeds for the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Pro Junior divisions at the first stop on the Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS which runs from Friday, April 25 through Sunday, April 27 in Mossel Bay.
The South Africa Pro Junior Series at Mossel Bay will be one of two events used to determine the three men and one woman who will represent Africa at the prestigious 2014 ASP World Junior Championships in October.
Zakarian was the top seed in the ASP Africa squad at last year's World Junior Championships in Florianopolis and the teenager from Melkbosstrand will be up against a high-quality field of the country's best 20-and-under surfers in the peeling waves at Mossel Bay point this weekend.
Top names in the draw include South Africa Junior Team Captain Max Armstrong (Scarborough), Slade Prestwich (Durban), who was the highest South African finisher at the World Juniors in 2014, and Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay), who reached the Round of 16 in the 3-Star rated ASP Qualifying Series (QS) event in Argentina.
Zakarian will open his campaign against Joshe Faulkner (J-Bay) who has been allocated a wildcard directly into the Round of 16 after finishing sixth in the Under 16 boys at the ISA World Champs in Ecuador last month. The pair take on two qualifiers from Round 1 with the top two in the heat advancing to the Round of 8.
Others likely to mount serious challenges for the bulk of the R20 000 prize-pool at stake include Mexican super-grom Sebastian Williams, ranked No. 5 in the Surfer Mag International Hot 100 and the only international competitor in the event, and the goofy-foot talents of Benji Brand and Jarred Veldhuis, both from Kommetjie.
Emma Smith (J-Bay) also got her first taste of international Pro Junior competition in Florianopolis last year and faces her sister Gina and the likes of South African junior team member Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach) and Anoush Zakarian (Melkbosstrand) in the R10 000 women's event.
The Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS also includes Surfing South Africa (SSA) Pro Surf Tour (PST) events for U14, U16 and U18 boys and girls plus U12 boys. Alongside the prize-money and series rankings points, there are also product prizes from BOS, Playstation, Samsung, Nixon, DaKine, KR Fins and VonZipper on offer.
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