Plenty of action went down overnight as Round 3 and 4 got under way at the J-Bay Open 2014. With the swell filling in throughout the day and weather conditions holding up, a great day of waves graced the Supertubes line-up, perfect for competition. The day saw many highlights and upsets, with some of the bigger names sent packing from the event.
The day begun with the start of Round 3 where Joel Parkinson met fellow Aussie Adam Melling. Both surfers have been on fire this competition, gaining strong composure and comfort in the earlier Rounds. With the swell still sitting around 4 foot and continuing to build, Melling wasted little time attacking the line up. It was after 8 minutes in when Parko finally struck, living up to his typical form and belting the line up with style and grace for a smooth opening score of 7.00. Melling was chasing Parkinson the entire Heat, needing a 4.83 to best the World Number 5 and despite a late long barrel ride, Adrian was unable to exit allowing Parko to advance.
Joel Parkinson sitting in the sweet spot – photo by ASP
The level of surfing in all Heats was simply mind blowing, as the remaining competitors continued to battle it out in Round 3. Heat 2 saw Josh Kerr take down Brazilian Miguel Pupo, Taj Burrow overcame fellow countryman Adrian Buchan in Heat 3 and Adriano de Souza continued his strong forehand attack in Heat 4, defeating Hawaiian Sebastian ‘Seabass’ Zietz.
For J-Bay, I really work on flow between turns,” said De Souza. “If you lose your momentum, the rest of the wave is going to be bad. I think that’s really important. Once you get that flow between turns, it’s easier to surf out at J-Bay.”
Adriano de Souza knocks out Seabass – photo by ASP
Californian Kolohe Andino met Julian Wilson in Heat 5 of Round 2. The battle of the next generation proved very interesting to watch as both threw everything they had at the long, open walls of Supertubes. Andino proved too much for the Australian, at one time throwing a huge forehand punt, something rarely seen at J-Bay.
Something many weren’t necessarily expecting was the elimination of 11 time World Champion Kelly Slater in Heat 6. Slater dropped to Aussie Matt Wilkinson in an exciting round of competition. Wilkinson lead the first half of the Heat, with Kelly throwing together a terrific combination of turns and snaps to shorten the gap the Australian had created through his powerful backhand attack. Wilko soon answered back to Slater, continuing his campaign to post an impressive 9.33. Kelly, needing a strong combination score, could not match Wilkinson’s performance and was the first major knock out from the 2014 J-Bay Open.
“No one likes their odds against Kelly,” Wilkinson said. “My backhand and my boards are feeling solid, the judges are rewarding my turns and that always feels good. Kelly always gets big scores, so I waited for the biggest waves of the set and it worked out.”
Wilko and Slater go head to head – Photo’s by ASP
Competition continued with current World Number 1 Gabriel Medina eliminating Aritz Aranburu in Heat 7, with the World Champ gaining a first wave score of 9.43 through powerful backhand manoeuvres. Heat 8 saw Aussie Owen Wright defeat Hawaiian wonder child John John Florence and Freddy Patacchia Jnr. continued his strong campaign in Heat 9, overcoming Nat Young.
Reigning 3 time world Champion Mick Fanning took to the water in Heat 10, facing off with fellow Aussie Kai Otton. Fanning did not muck around, instantly paddling in to wave that would reward him with a strong score of 8.50 through his technical forehand approach. Otton eventually fired back with a 7.00, though overall could not catch Fanning as the reigning champion delivered more strong scores in the high 7′s.
“I just didn’t stop catching waves,” Fanning said. “That’s the way you want to have heats, really.”
Fanning and his flawless forehand style – Photo by ASP
The next huge upset of the day was the elimination of local and contest favourite Jordy Smith. That’s right, we can’t believe it either. The South African and 2 x event winner was knocked from the event by C.J. Hobgood, causing a huge disappointment to local crowds and supporters. Hobgood started his scores early, having a combined score of 9.50 in the opening minutes. Jordy almost seemed rattled until finally finding form and delivering a series of controlled turns, eventually taking the lead with 8 minutes on the clock remaining. A crucial exchange of waves was next for the pair, both giving it their all. Both surfers drew controlled long lines delivering hacks and snaps, though it was C.J. who bettered from the exchange, as Smith fell on his final manoeuvres and Hobgood was able to exit cleanly. Unluckily for the local crowd, Jordy Smith was eliminated from competition.
The final Heat of Round 3 saw Michel Bourez come up against Alejo Muniz. Muniz opened the scoreboard until Michel took the lead on his third wave with a 5.33. The Heat continued to be quite slow, as both surfers did’nt post scores above the 6.00 mark. Muniz eventually got luck in the final 4 minutes, gaining the best score of the Heat, proving enough for the win and the elimination of the Tahitian.
“I think maybe we weren’t having the heat we were expecting but I’m happy to get through,” Muniz said. “This is a big step for my career and my year so I’m happy to be doing well in J-Bay.”
Alejo Muniz comes up with the goods – Photo by ASP
The three man heats of Round 4 begun with Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow and Josh Kerr. Parko blew his fellow Aussies and natural footers away, using controlled rail work and strong completion of waves to add to his campaign. Though Burrow and Kerr tried to match Parkinson, they were unable to find clean exits from their waves allowing Joel to advance directly to the Quarterfinals.
Heat 2 of Round 4 next saw Matt Wilkinson take on Adriano de Souza and Kolohe Andino. Wilkinson continue to surf amazing, maintaining his confidence from earlier Heats and came out with guns blazing, securing a 7.67 in the opening minutes. Kolohe fought back through a great display of airs and power turns, briefly stealing the lead from the Australian. As de Souza struggled, Wilkinson again fired back through his powerful backhand technique, taking the Heat and advancing through to the Quarterfinals.
The swap from three natural footers to three goofy footers happened for Heat 3, as Gabriel Medina, Freddy Patacchia and Owen Wright hit the Supertubes line-up. The waves were continuing to grind down the point, something all surfers were eager to hit. As Medina and Wright started trying to scrape into any wave possible, Patacchia stayed calm and collected, waiting for the right wave to start his Round 4 efforts. He was instantly rewarded with a high score of 8.17. Wright soon answered to the Hawaiian, putting together a series of carves and long turns, stealing the lead with a 8.67. He then backed up with another score in the 6′s proving too strong for his other competitors.
The final Heat of the day was Heat 4 of Round 4. After a long day of competition, this last Heat saw Mick Fanning, C.J Hobgood and Alejo Muniz come together to battle it out for a spot in the Quarterfinals. With the sun almost setting, Alejo was able to produce the first major score of the Heat, a 7.00 to take the lead over Hobgood and Fanning. Fanning struck back, taking the lead, before Muniz paddled into another set wave, achieving a score high enough to defeat the other competitors.
Tune in later today on the ASP website for the latest on competition status, or check out the SurfStitch Blog for the latest news on the 2014 J-Bay Open! SurfStitch wishes all the remaining competitors good luck in the final stages of the prestigious competition! Check out all the highlights from Rounds 3 and 4 below.