Recent advancements in wetsuit technology, enabling surfers to spend more time in Cape Town’s icy seawater, has led to an explosion in young surfing talent coming out of the Mother City.
The two best and arguably most exciting to watch junior surfers in Africa both call Cape Town home and will be flying the local flag from June 15-17 at Big Bay in the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rated Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro, presented by O’Neill.
Eli Beukes from Kommetjie’s big win at last weekend’s Vans Surf Pro in Lambert’s Bay saw him leapfrog six positions up the WSL Africa junior rankings to number two. While Luke Slijpen, representing the Llandudno crew, is sitting pretty at the top of the pile. Both riders will be competing in both the premier and junior divisions but will focus trying to win the junior event.
These two U16 wave wizards are like peas in a pod; not only are they good friends, but they also push each other to be better each time they paddle out together. They both competed at the World Junior Games in Japan last year, both their dads are keen surfers and both of them grew up on the water, are super focused and want to become pros.
South African U16 champion, Eli Beukes on his way to a big JQS1000 win at the Vans Surf Pro Classic last weekend in Lambert’s Bay. Photo: Ian Thurtell
Beukes, a confident, self-assured Fishoek High School pupil and the current South African junior surfing champion, eats healthy, surfs as much as possible and does his fitness training with Neil Zietsman. His aim is to end the year in the top four in Africa and qualify for the World Junior Championships early next year in Australia. He has a strong head-game to which he attributes his win at Lambert’s Bay.
“My head was in a good space. I actually snapped the board I was going to compete on in the early stages of the event and had to use an alternative board but I did not let that distract me. The win has boosted my confidence and I am excited to see what the waves are like next weekend at Big Bay and get out there and compete.”
Beukes said he has a lot of fun when he competes, which keeps his head fresh and strong. With Big Bay being a beach break, conditions can be unpredictable but Beukes is hoping for a midrange, punchy wave with longer sections that allow for combo rides and some air time.
Llandudno local, Luke Slijpen in action at the Vans Surf Pro Classic last weekend in Lambert’s Bay. Photo: Ian Thurtell.
Hout Bay Academy boy, Slijpen won at the fourth stop of the City Surf Series in Durban and is keen to add the fifth to his collection. The waves at his homebreak in Llandudno are heavy and powerful and that is what Slijpen is hoping to get at Melkbos, should it be the roaming venue of choice on the first contest day. For the rest of the event at Big Bay, he will be looking out for the punchy and powerful insides that suit his own high speed, powerful style of surfing.
As a junior lifeguard who he does much of his training with the club and competes in local inter-club competitions, Slijpen’s training regime as quite different from Beukes’ but they both work equally hard to realise their dream of someday joining the Championship Tour alongside legends like John John Florence, Jordy Smith and Gabriel Medina.
These two are the future of South African surfing and present an exciting spectator value to next weekend’s Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro, presented by O’Neill.
Follow all the action on social media:
Live scoring: www.worldsurfleague/events/2018
2018 City Surf Series Event Schedule:
· Volkswagen Nelson Mandela Bay Pro Surf presented by Billabong (31 Mar – 2 April)
· Royal St Andrews Hotel Port Alfred Classic presented by Quiksilver (inaugural event, 6-8 April)
· Mitchum Buffalo City Surf Pro presented by Reef Wetsuits (13-15 April)
· Zigzag Durban Surf Pro presented by G-Force (18-20 May)
· Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro presented by O’Neill (14-17 June)
· Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing presented by Hurley (19-24 June)
The World Surf League (WSL) is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.
The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, annually running in excess of 180 global events across the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed world champions in Men’s, Women’s across all divisions within the tour.
Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Tyler Wright, John John Florence, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Mick Fanning, Stephanie Gilmore, Kelly Slater, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.
About Surfing South Africa
Surfing South Africa is recognised governing body for Surfing in South Africa by the Department of Sport and Recreation. SSA is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA).
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