The 21st edition of the Billabong Junior Series Ballito will kick off the 10 day Ballito Pro Surf Festival when South Africa's best U18 surfers and a contingent internationals chase JQS titles in the world's longest running series of junior surfing events
With the points earned counting towards the coveted Billabong Junior Series titles as well as the annual WSL Africa crowns and selection of the squad of four men and two women who represent the region at the WSL World Junior Championships in Australia in January, there is plenty on the line for the local surfers.
Cape Town's Luke Slijpen has put some daylight between himself and the rest of the chasing pack after winning the the JQS event in Port Elizabeth earier this week. The ripper and top seed from Hout Boy will be determined to confirm his invitation to the most prestigious event on the junior men's calendar in January with a good result at Ballito.
Slijpen will face a crew of highly competitive South African juniors, all hungry to make a name in this prestigious event. Surfers like fellow Capetonians Eli Beukes and Max Elkington, and Koby Oberholzer from Warner Beach to name a few, will all be dead set on a victory at the penultimate junior event on the WSL Africa schedule..
Buekes, the powerful and stylish Cape Town surfer, recently won the Vans Surf Pro Classic JQS event at Lamberts Bay in South Africa and comes into this event as second in the rankings and dangerman. He has a great competitive persona, and surfs with experience and polish and could easily walk away with the laurels at this event.
There are also a number of international surfers in the mens division, including Joh Azuchi from Japan, Ryan Kainalo from Brazil, Geva Bar Sade from Israel, Rio Waida from Indonesia and Arnau Riera from Spain.
The Jeffreys Bay duo of Angelo Faulkner and Dillon Hendricks are another two surfers who could shine at this event while Mexican born South African standout Sebastian Williams makes a welcome return to the local contest lineup.
In the women's draw, international surfers like Tiana-Breeze De Mooij from 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.