Dylan Lightfoot and Emma Smith clinched their respective men and women's Pro Junior titles at the first stop on the Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS which was completed in consistent one to 1.5 metre waves in Mossel Bay on Sunday, April 27.
The victories see the pair take an early lead in the rankings to select the three men and one woman who will represent ASP Africa at the 2014 ASP World Junior Surfing Championships scheduled for the end of October.
Lightfoot, 19, from Jeffreys Bay, took the momentum from his top 16 finish in an ASP QS event in Argentina last weekend into this event by convincingly winning his opening heat. The third seed then placed second to Cape Town's Jordy Maree in Round 2 before getting revenge by defeating Maree in their Man-on-man semifinal encounter.
In the final Lightfoot used a patient strategy, picking off the best lined up waves across the Outer Pool point, defeating top seed Diran Zakarian (Melkbosstrand) whose tactics of catching plenty of waves and going for big maneuvers saw him finish second.
"The waves were a lot harder than what they looked There was a lot of chop on them, and the big ones were no good," Lightfoot said. "I was looking for the middle waves, the ones that had more potential across the inside. I'm just so stoked with my first win of the year and am looking forward to the upcoming contest season. This has been an amazing event, and the waves have been so much fun throughout."
Lightfoot pocketed R8 000 and 750 rankings points for the victory along with the Nixon WTA (Winner Takes All) Award of a Nixon Supertide watch for the highest heat score of the event, 16.5 out of a possible 20 points in his semifinal win.
Zakarian, who won every heat he contested up to the final, collected R4 000 and 563 points for placing second and also picked up the VonZipper Brainblast-Off award for completing a big backhand air reverse in the VZ Airshow.
Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) justified her top seeding in the women's 20-and-under division, winning her opening encounter, placing second to Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach) in the semifinals and then clinching the title in a low-scoring final. Smith took home R4 000 and earned 750 points which puts her in pole position for a second consecutive appearance at the ASP World Junior Championships.
Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS Results: Stop No 1
ASP Pro Junior Women's Final Results:
- Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay)
- Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach)
- Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay)
- Jade Mets (Durban)
ASP Pro Junior Men's Final
- Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay)
- Diran Zakarian (Melkbosstrand)
=3. Shane Sykes (Salt Rock)
=3. Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay)
The second event in the Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS is scheduled for Cape Town on August 8 - 10.