The Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay got underway today with Round 1 completed in rippable three-to-four foot (1 metre) waves at South Africa’s iconic pointbreak.
Event No. 4 of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title season, the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay put an end to a seven-week break in the schedule today with the world’s best putting on a high-performance surfing clinic for Round 1 of competition.
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, 2010 ASP World Runner-Up and defending event winner, was today’s star performer, netting the highest heat total of the day (a 16.87 out of a possible 20) as well as the highest single-wave score (a 9.00 out of a possible 10) en route to a Round 1 victory over last year’s event Runner-Up Adam Melling (AUS), 26, and wildcard Sean Holmes (ZAF), 33.
“Sean (Holmes) is obviously a very competent surfer at Jeffreys and Adam (Melling) was Runner-Up here last year so I definitely wasn’t taking the heat lightly,” Smith said. “They both got really good waves and I had to make do with what was left. It’s not classic J-Bay, but even when it’s like this, it’s still a pretty good wave.”
Currently ranked No. 5 on the ASP World Title rankings, Smith surfed Jeffreys Bay with unmatched comfort and power, blending solid turns with big airs.
“I don’t really feel the pressure to perform,” Smith said. “I’ve got my little program here with my friends and I’m just focusing on getting waves and surfing well. I’m happy to be through to Round 3.”
Dusty Payne (HAW), 22, into his second season amongst the elite ASP Top 34, punctuated the afternoon with a sensational performance, blasting away a fury of high-octane forehand maneuvers to dispatch Michel Bourez (PYF), 25, and Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 25, to Round 2.
“It was tricky out there this afternoon, but when the good ones come through, they’re still really rippable,” Payne said. “Fortunately, I got that good one at the beginning and that set the pace for me in the heat. Stoked to be back in Jeffreys again and hope we can get some solid surf here in the next few days.”
Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, former two-time ASP World Champion and current No. 8 on the ASP World Title Rankings, put in a blitzing performance in this morning’s clean conditions, navigating the Jeffreys Bay walls with speed, punch and bite.
“There were definitely some fun waves out there,” Fanning said. “It’s great to put the jersey back on and mix it up with the boys. Board feels good and I’m happy to be straight through to Round 3. Hope we can get some solid swell out there for the competition.”
Julian Wilson (AUS), 22, in his first showing at the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, led the Round 1 rookie charge, posting an impressive 14.10 out of a possible 20 to best veterans Taylor Knox (USA), 40, and Damien Hobgood (USA), 31.
“It was a slow heat out there and I guess that’s how it is at J-Bay sometimes,” Wilson said. “You only get two or three opportunities to make it a good heat for yourself so you need to make sure you make the most of them. This is my first time to Jeffreys and only my third surf out there. I’ve got a really good board right now that Matt Biolis shaped specifically for J-Bay and it’s worked really well so far.”
Wilson was joined by Alejo Muniz (BRA), 21, as the only rookies to advance directly into Round 3 today.
Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion, and Bobby Martinez (USA), 29, failed to show for today’s Round 1 of competition. Should either surfer fail to show for Round 2, they will be replaced under the new ASP ruling.
Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, current leader in the hunt for the 2011 ASP World Title, was dispatched to Round 2 today by lethal goofy-footer Kai Otton (AUS), 31. The young Brazilian will face Gabe Kling (USA), 30, when competition resumes.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am to assess conditions for a possible 7:30am start.
Highlights from the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay will be available via http://www.billabongpro.com
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
BILLABONG PRO JEFFREYS BAY ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.04, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 6.66, Cory Lopez (USA) 6.60
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.10, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.17, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.67
Heat 3: Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.90, Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.00, Gabe Kling (USA) 8.13
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.73, Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.17, Bobby Martinez (USA) 0.00
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.87, Sean Holmes (ZAF) 14.93, Adam Melling (AUS) 14.57
Heat 6: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.77, Shaun Payne (ZAF) 7.46, Kelly Slater (USA) 0.00
Heat 7: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.50, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.50, Chris Davidson (AUS) 4.73
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.70, Owen Wright (AUS) 8.43, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 7.56
Heat 9: Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.70, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.80, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 7.73
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.10, Taylor Knox (USA) 10.46, Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.70
Heat 11: Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.03, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.10, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.77
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.66, Brett Simpson (USA) 8.87, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 7.60
BILLABONG PRO JEFFREYS BAY ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Shaun Payne (ZAF)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Sean Holmes (ZAF)
Heat 3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 7: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 9: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 10: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 11: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Chris Davidson (AUS)
Photo: Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, defending Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay winner, kept the ball rolling with an impressive Round 1 performance today.