The conditions lived up to the forecast at the Billabong Junior Series Seal Point, with cold, onshore winds prevailing on the final day of competition, along with a slight lift in swell at the. But what the forecast failed to show was the highly contestable conditions as Seal Point in Cape St Francis was throwing lip lines and air sections at the competitors in the finals that enabled them to go big turns the huge scores needed to win finals and titles.
It was a tough battle In the JQS 1,000 Women's Final, with the two goofy-footers - Zoë Steyn and Kai Woolf, going toe-to-toe throughout the 25 minute clash. Both are popular surfers on the South African junior surfing scene, and Kai has had an incredible run this year, already winning the Zigzag Durban Surf Pro pres by G-Force, the VW Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro, the Mitchum Buffalo City Surf Pro pres by Reef Wetsuits and the Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro.
Meanwhile Zoë won the Billabong Junior Series Ballito and had been showing great form throughout the weekend at Seal Point for the Billabong Junior Series.
The final started off a little slow, as the two goofy-footers failed to find any good sections among the onshore affected waves. Eventually Steyn paddled into a wave that had some wall on it and performed a series of radical moves, capitalising on her powerful goofy-footed approach instilled from surfing the bowls of Nahoon Reef in East London. Her score of a 6.17 turned out to be the highest scoring wave of the heat as the wave engine tapped off, and the good sets slowed down.
Woolf fought back hard with a 4.83 for her second ride, but that was the best she could do and both competitors were counting on scraps for their second rides, with Zoe's first wave score keeping her in the lead till the end.
"I'm really stoked with the win, it was such a fun event," said Steyn. "A big shout-out to the locals for letting us surf here this weekend. There was a bit of pressure for me to qualify for WSL World's so I'm really happy for the win, and it was one of my goals to win the Billabong Series, and I also got to achieve that."
The JQS 1,000 Men's Final between Luke Slijpen and Max Elkington was a somewhat tighter affair, with both surfers picking up two or more good scoring rides in the Final. Natural-footed Slijpen kicked off with a 6.17 for a clean wave that opened up for him to do a number of critical hacks and foam-rebounds, and he was clearly pumped to do more after that wave.
Elkington, however, is a wily competitor and soon turned the screws on his opponent with some fast and critical surfing over the inside section, performing multiple high-risk moves on his backhand over the foam and barely missing the exposed rocks. The tide had been draining all morning, and the low tide revealed some gnarly rock protrusions, but luckily no one bounced off them and no boards were damaged throughout the day.
Elkington's best score was a 7.33 and he quickly backed that ride up with a 6.93 and the event win was in the bag.
"I'm just so happy seen as I haven't had a win this year and most of last year," said Elkington. "I won it here two years ago as well, so I'm really happy about the win."
Slijpen, who was leading both the Billabong Junior Series and WSL Africa Junior rankings coming into Seal Point, was just as hungry for the win and didn't slow down till the siren. But he was unable to find the score he needed and ended up runner-up to Elkington who took his first event win in the final event of the 2018 season.
Billabong Junior Series Seal Point pres. by BOS U18 Men's Result
- Max Elkington 14.26
- Luke Slijpen 12.04
Billabong Junior Series Seal Point pres. by BOS Junior Women's Result
- Zoe Steyn 9.67
- Kai Woolf 7.06
2018 Billabong Junior Series Pro pres. by BOS Junior Champions.
Men: Luke Slijpen
Women: Zoe Steyn
2018 WSL Africa Junior Men's Rankings (After Billabong Junior Series - Event No. 8 of 8)
- Luke Slijpen 4060 points 2018 Champion
- Max Elkington 3090
- Eli Beukes 2634
- Luke Thompson 2440
- Bryce Du Preez 2435
2018 WSL Africa Junior Women's Rankings (After Billabong Junior Series - Event No. 7 of 7)
- Kai Woolf 4750 points 2018 Champion
- Zoe Steyn 3870
- Sophie Bell 2815
- Kirsty McGillivray 2685
- Kayla Nogueira 2380
2018 WSL Africa Juniors to attend the WSL World Junior Championships in Taiwan in December
Women - Kai Woolf, Zoe Steyn.