SA surfer aims for world junior title

25 October 2013

South Africa surfer Bianca Buitendag, the ASP Women’s Rookie of the Year, will headline the 2013 World Junior Championships which get under way at Joaquina Beach in Florianopolis, Brazil on 27 October.

Buitendag produced an incredible rookie year on the 2013 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT), finishing in eighth place overall as the only rookie this season. A two-time ASP World Junior runner-up, the South African star is looking to cap off her banner year with a victory at the HD World Junior Championships.

‘I’m going to make the most of it’

“Winning the World Juniors would mean I had the perfect season,” Buitendag said in a statement on Thursday. “I have been to two World Junior Champs and have come second twice. If I have an opportunity, I am going to make the most of it.”

Buitendag has gained priceless experience throughout the course of her budding professional career and admits that a season among the ASP Top 17 has given her incredible preparation for a run at the ASP World Junior Title.

“A lot has changed since I won the event in Narrabeen [the 2011 Billabong ASP Women’s World Junior Championships],” Buitendag said. “At that point in my life I was in the process of deciding what I wanted to do after school. So after that event, a lot of doors have opened for me and the question was answered of what I wanted to do. Now I am here again just over two years later and I would never have imagined making it this far.”

European champion

While Buitendag enters the HD World Junior Championships as the most experienced competitor, young French surfer Johanne Defay, 19, has capped off a dominant season of her own and will offer stiff competition after securing the ASP European Pro Junior Title and qualification for the 2014 ASP Women’s WCT. Defay hopes to carry her success to South America in an attempt to cap off her superb 2013 campaign with a win at the HD World Junior Championships.

“I had my best year on the European tour this year,” Defay said. “It was actually my goal to win the Tour and then go to the World Juniors and win the World Junior title too. Winning would mean that I managed to accomplish my goals and it’s really important to me. I worked for it and I really want it.”

Defay will carry added confidence into the event following her qualification for the ASP WCT, but admits that her focus throughout the 2013 season has been a successful run on the ASP Pro Junior circuit.

“I take my qualification for the WCT as a bonus,” Defay said. “I wasn’t expecting that this year. Like I said, my goal was on the junior, but it certainly gives me more confidence. Still there are so many girls on the junior, so I will approach that comp in the same way as any other.”

Men

The Men’s World Junior Championships will feature the likes of ASP WCT surfers Gabriel Medina and Filipe Toledo of Brazil among other top talent.

The Women’s World Junior Championships holds a waiting period from 27 October through 3 November, while the men’s waiting period runs from 29 October through 5 November.

The World Junior Championships can be viewed live at www.he-wjc.com

SAinfo reporter