All 32 of the world’s top ranked professional surfers will be in Jeffreys Bay in July for the R3 million Billabong Pro J-Bay 2011, Africa’s only stop on the ASP World Tour, the 11-event series of events that determines surfing’s annual men’s world champion. Scheduled for 14-24 July, the 26th edition of the continent’s most prestigious surfing event will again be staged at Supertubes, the 300 metre stretch of coastline universally acknowledged as one of the planet’s top 10 high performance surf breaks.
The stellar field for the 2011 Billabong Pro J-Bay, arguably the most talented group of surfers ever assembled, includes 10-time and reigning ASP world Champion Kelly Slater (USA); South African superstar and defending event champion, Jordy Smith; former two-time world and event champion Mick Fanning (AUS) and previous Billabong Pro J-Bay champions Joel Parkinson and Taj Burrow (both Australians).
Throw in the progressive manoeuvres of Dane Reynolds (USA), the precocious talents of Owen Wright (AUS), Michel Bourez (TAH) and 2010 runner-up Adam Melling (AUS), add established stars like current ASP World Tour No. 1 ranked Adriano de Souza (BRA), the Hobgood twins – 2000 world champion CJ and 2009 J-Bay runner-up Damien – along with fellow American Bobby Martinez and spectacular surfing performances are guaranteed to light up the waves at Supers.
The 36 man field also includes South Africa’s ‘uber-wildcard’ Sean Holmes (Cape Town), conqueror of both Slater and the late Andy Irons (HAW) on his way to fifth place last year. Holmes’ uncanny affinity with the waves at Supertubes has wrecked the title hopes of so many of the top contenders over the years.
The second wildcard goes to the winner of the VonZipper Superheat, a five-man encounter held on the first day of the event featuring South African rising stars Shaun Joubert (Mossel Bay) and Dale Staples (St Francis Bay); international contenders Granger Larson (HAW) and reigning ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone (AUS) along with Shaun Payne (St Francis Bay), winner of the Xcel Pro Showdown at Supers.
This year sees three days of major underground music talent coinciding with the world-class surfing action. The Billabong Pro Music Festival runs Friday to Sunday, 15 to 17 July, at the Jolly Dolphin featuring a lineup of 14 top SA bands including the likes of Aking, City Bowl Mizers, P.H.Fat, Jack Parow and the ever-popular local Hot Wasabi band fronted by the legendary Steve Walsh.
Billabong continues its efforts to heighten awareness of local and global surf communities to the challenge of climate change, and how we all need to become part of the solution, by making the 2011 Billabong Pro J-Bay a ‘greener event’.
Building on the programs instituted over the past two years, the estimated 384.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions generated by the event activities, including the travel by local and international participants and officials, will be reduced wherever possible. The remaining emissions will be offset using United Nations Kyoto compliant carbon credits ensuring a low carbon, climate-conscious event and that the barrels ridden at Supers are green in more ways than one.
Greening initiatives at the event include using renewable energy, biodegradable food and beverage containers, paper instead of plastic bags and bio-diesel fuel in event vehicles where possible alongside an event recycling program. More about climate change and what it means to surfers can be found at cleanerclimate.com/billabongpro
The eyes of the surfing world will be firmly fixed on Jeffreys Bay from 14-24 July as hundreds of thousands of surf fans worldwide log millions of page impressions while following the fortunes of their favourite surfers.
All the action will be covered via webcasts on billbabongpro.com featuring live scoring, expert commentary and interviews, video footage with multiple camera angles, slow-motion replays, video on demand highlights of previous heats and online competitions with valuable prizes.
The optimum experience remains attending the event and there is nothing quite like watching the action live from the natural amphitheatre on the dunes overlooking the liquid runway known as Supertubes, mingling with the world’s best surfers and enjoying the legendary party atmosphere in J-Bay throughout the 11-day event. Be there.
The Billabong Pro J-Bay 2011 is proudly presented by South Africa’s adventure province Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency and further supported by Carling Black Label, Monster Energy, Coca Cola, Amarok, Vida e Caffe, Tavcor, VonZipper and Nixon.
Photo: Jordy Smith © ASP / Kirstin