10 July 2014
The world’s best surfers are in South Africa to contest the J-Bay Open, the sixth of 11 stops on the World Championship Tour. The event, which has a waiting period through to 21 July, was confirmed open on Thursday morning, with five- to seven-foot waves breaking at SuperTubes.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Irish surfer Glenn Hall, who won the Mr Price Pro in 2012, was named to join South Africa’s Dylan Lightfoot, the winner of the JBU Supertrials, as the event wildcards who will join the elite ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) Top 34 and complete the field for the J-Bay Open.
‘So great to be back here’
South Africa’s leading surfer Jordy Smith, a two-time winner in Jeffreys Bay, welcomed the return of the iconic venue to the WCT. “It’s so great to be back here,” he said, “both for the surfers and for Jeffreys Bay.
“It’s great for African surfing to have a WCT competition here on home turf. This is such a good event and I’d love to get my first win of the season here.”
Completing the South African challenge alongside Smith and Lightfoot in the J-Bay Open will be the experienced Travis Logie.
‘It feels good’
Gabriel Medina, who currently tops the world rankings, said he is looking forward to a new experience. “This is my first time here in J-Bay and it feels good,” he said.
“I’ve brought all my family here and everyone is having a lot of fun. I’ve had some good surfs and I’m going to try and do better than the Brazilian soccer team!”
‘A great year for me’
Michel Bourez, second to Medina in the standings, was full of optimism. He said: “This has been a great year for me. I’m really happy to be here, especially with these guys.
“If the waves are good, the top surfers will do some amazing things and I hope to do as well as them. I’m so excited to be here.”
Reigning three-time world champion Mick Fanning previously picked up titles in Jeffreys Bay in 2002 and 2006 and said he was looking forward to surfing the world famous Supertubes.
“This is an event that I’ve always looked forward to,” he shared. “I love right-hand point-breaks and J-Bay is so iconic. I’m so lucky to get the chance to be out there with just one other guy and I’ve got my fingers crossed for some good waves.”
Taj Burrow, the 2007 J-Bay Open winner and current world number four, concurred. “This place is really special to me,” he enthused.
“We were all so excited when we heard the news that the WCT was coming back to J-Bay. I love it here. When the wind roars and the swell pumps, it’s amazing. I’m so happy to be back.”
J-Bay Open Round 1 Heats
- Mick Fanning (Aus), Sebastian Zietz (Haw), Dion Atkinson (Aus)
- Taj Burrow (Aus), Fredrick Patacchia (Haw), Matt Wilkinson (Aus)
- Joel Parkinson (Aus), Kai Otton (Aus), Glenn Hall (Irl)
- Michel Bourez (PYF), Adrian Buchan (Aus), Raoni Monteiro (Bra)
- Gabriel Medina (Bra), Adam Melling (Aus), Brett Simpson (USA)
- Kelly Slater (USA), Mitch Crews (Aus), Dylan Lightfoot (RSA)
- Nat Young (USA), Miguel Pupo (Bra), Aritz Aranburu (Esp)
- Adriano de Souza (Bra), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Alejo Muniz (Bra)
- Josh Kerr (Aus), Filipe Toledo (Bra), Tiago Pires (Prt)
- Jordy Smith (RSA), Owen Wright (Aus), Jadson Andre (Bra)
- John John Florence (Haw), Bede Durbidge (Aus), Jeremy Flores (Fra)
- Kolohe Andino (USA), Julian Wilson (Aus), Travis Logie (RSA)