26 July 2011
South Africa’s Jordy Smith captured the 2011 Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay in a hard-fought final over Australia’s Mick Fanning on Sunday, watched by a raucous hometown crowd on the beach and hundreds of thousands online.
The fourth event of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title season, the Billabong Pro culminated in dramatic fashion with the surfers competing in three-to-four foot (1 – 1.5 metre) surf.
Smith continuously posted impressive scores throughout his quarter-final, semi-final and final heats, and it was his local knowledge that allowed his to select the best waves in the final to overtake an in-form Fanning.
The win was met with an eruption from those in attendance as they braved harsh weather. With victory secured for the second year in succession, Smith was cheered up the beach by an emotional audience.
‘An incredible week’
“It’s been an incredible week for me,” Smith said afterwards. “All the support of the people at Jeffreys Bay, Garth (Tarlow), Steve (Smith), my girlfriend Lyndall (Jarvis), my mom and dad and everyone else. It’s been a really special week for me and I’m so happy right now.”
The win moved him up from fifth to second in the ASP World Title rankings, putting the young South African firmly in the hunt for the world title.
“Mick (Fanning) has surfed amazing all week,” Smith added. “He’s always an inspiration and he’s right there with everyone in the hunt for the title.
“Today’s a huge win for me. Last year, it was very emotional. To back it up this year just feels really, really good. It’s huge for my confidence and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”
Fanning, who claimed the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay in 2002 and 2006, appeared to find his form on the final morning as he saw off fellow Aussies Josh Kerr and Joel Parkinson en route his runner-up finish.
The runner-up placing moved Fanning from eighth to fourth on the ASP World Title Rankings.
“It was really difficult out there today,” he said. “Three heats yesterday and three heats today and it felt like the arms wanted to fall off.
“Big congratulations to Jordy, though. It was great surfing. It’s inspirational stuff and I’m looking forward to the next one.”
Parkinson, the 2008 Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay winner, was in sensational form this year, consistently notching up high scores throughout the event before falling to a rampaging Fanning in the semi-finals.
With his equal third finish, Parkinson ascended to the frontrunner position in the hunt for the 2011 ASP World Title, but the perennial threat remains cautious when regarding the remainder of the season.
“I don’t really think about that yet,” he said. “It’s only the fourth event of the year and I’ve been in this position before. I’m happy with my surfing and my boards and I’ll keep my eyes on the next heat.”
The next stop on the 2011 ASP World Title season will be the Billabong Pro Tahiti from 20 to 31 August.
ASP WORLD TITLE TOP 10
(After Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay)
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