Diran Zakarian & Emma Smith top seeds prepare
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 April, 2014 - Diran Zakarian and Emma Smith are the top men’s and women’s seeds for the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Pro Junior divisions at the first stop on the Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS which runs from Friday to Sunday, 25 to 27 April in Mossel Bay.
The results of the ASP 1-Star rated Pro Junior divisions at the first two events in the series will be used 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.
Zakarian was the top seed in the ASP Africa squad at last year’s World Junior Champs in Rio de Janeiro and the teenager from Melkbosstrand will be up against a high-quality field of the country’s best 20-and-under surfers in the peeling waves at Mossel Bay point this weekend.
SA junior team captain Max Armstrong (Scarborough), Slade Prestwich (Durban), the highest placed SA surfer in 5th position in Brazil last year, and Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay), who reached the last 16 in the 3-Star rated ASP Qualifying Series (QS) event in Argentina last weekend, are the second, third and fourth seeds respectively and all are standouts in point break waves.
Zakarian will open his campaign against Joshe Faulkner (J-Bay) who has been allocated a wildcard directly into the Round of 16 after finishing 6th in the U16 boys at the ISA World Champs in Ecuador last month. The pair take on two qualifiers from Round 1 with the top two in the heat advancing to the Round of 8.
Others likely to mount serious challenges for the bulk of the R20 000 prize-pool at stake include Mexican super-grom Sebastian Williams, ranked No. 5 in the Surfer Mag International Hot 100 and the only international competitor in the event, and the goofy-foot talents of Benji Brand and Jarred Veldhuis, both from Kommetjie.
Emma Smith (J-Bay) also got her first taste of international Pro Junior competition in Rio last year and faces her sister Gina and the likes of SA junior team member Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach) and Anoush Zakarian (Melkbosstrand) in the R10 000 women’s event.
The Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS also includes Surfing South Africa (SSA) Pro Surf Tour (PST) events for U14, U16 and U18 boys and girls plus U12 boys. Alongside the prize-money and series rankings points, there are also product prizes from BOS, Playstation, Samsung, Nixon, DaKine, KR Fins and VonZipper on offer.