The Billabong Junior Series pres. by All Aboard Travel, the third of four surfing events that will crown junior men's and women's champions for the 20th successive year, heralds the start of the 13-day Ballito Pro Surf Festival on Tuesday.
The world's longest running junior surfing series has nurtured the competitive careers of countless local surfers including current world No. 3 Jordy SmithJordy Smith and former WSL Championship Tour (CT) campaigners Bianca Buitendag, Travis Logie and Rosy Hodge along with current QS standouts Beyrick De Vries, Michael February and Matthew McGillivray.
Scheduled for Tuesday to Thursday, 27 to 29 June, at Willard Beach in Ballito, the junior event features the cream of country's surfers aged 18-and-under along with a contingent of international competitors who have posted impressive results both in South African waters and in their home countries.
Points earned in the Under 18 JQS1,000 events for men and women count towards the annual WSL Africa titles and the selection of four men and two women to represent the region at the WSL World Junior Championships in Australia in January.
The events offer a total of R30,000 in prize money with the points earned over the four events determining the prestigious Billabong Junior Series champions.
Jake Elkington heads the seeding for the JQS1,000 men's event after a stellar 2017 season in which he has reached the final in five of six events, winning three. But 2016 series champion and defending Ballito winner Adin Masencamp will be determined to improve on his second place in the rankings at this event.
And both face tough challengers in the form of brothers Joshe Faulkner and Angelo Faulkner from Jeffreys Bay and Cody Young who is ranked No. 6 on the Hawaiian junior leaderboard after finals appearances at Pipeline and Sunset Beach.
The JQS1,000 women's event will provide an intriguing battle between defending Ballito champion Zoe McDougall, No. 3 ranked Australian junior Sophia Fulton and local stars Sophie Bell from nearby Salt Rock, two-time JQS winner Kayla Nogueira and Kirsty McGillivray.
Presenting sponsor All Aboard Travel have added a huge incentive by providing tickets to Bali for the overall series winners of the U18 Men's and Women's events. BOS Ice Tea reinforced their long standing support for junior surfing by taking the title sponsorship for the second event in the series, the BOS Cape Crown presented by Billabong in Cape Town in May.
The Billabong Junior Series is supported by All Aboard Travel, BOS, VonZipper and Zigzag.
The Ballito Pro Surf Festival runs from 27 June to 9 July and includes the Billabong Junior Series pres. by All Aboard Travel, the SSA Ballito Trials pres. by Billabong, the women's QS1,000 Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong and the men's QS10,000 Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong.
Alongside the surfing, visitors will be spoiled for choice with non-stop activities providing even more entertainment throughout the Ballito festival site. South Africa's hottest musical acts appealing to all tastes - rock, pop, hip hop, kwaito, electro and dance - will be performing live on Salt Rock Beach over the last weekend. Beach and extreme sports, culinary contests as well as quality retail and food stalls will captivate visitors to this coastal holiday highlight.
The Ballito Pro Surf Festival is proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, Billabong, 5FM, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA). Casio is the official time keeper for the event.