Round 2 of the Billabong Pro J’Bay was competed in 3 – 4 foot surf at Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay yesterday before an onshore breeze started to crumble the faces of the waves and organisers decided to postpone the start of Round 3 until today.
On an immaculate winter’s day when the temperature reached 23 degrees, the sun shone, dolphins cruised through the break and a pod of whales gamboled just outside the surfline, the world’s best surfers produced a classic show for the scantily dressed spectators on the beach and the hundreds of thousands of avid surf fans watching online and on Fuel TV globally.
Michel Bourez from Tahiti, nicknamed ‘The Spartan’ for his powerful physique and surfing style, decimated the long lines of water peeling down the rock lined point. Punching square bottom turns and throwing sheets of spray as he arched off the lip of the waves, Bourez racked up both the highest single ride score of the event to date, a near perfect 9.30 out of 10, and the highest two ride heat tally of 17.07 out of 20, to leave Brazilian opponent Raoni Monteiro trailing in his wake.
“That was a really good heat for me,” said Bourez who appeared to have recovered fully from an injury sustained at the last event in Rio de Janeiro. “My Firewire (surfboard) is working really well. I’ve been riding it since I arrived in J’Bay and it seems to get better with each surf. It was an important heat for me. I’ve been building confidence since my injury in Rio and I’m hoping to break through Round 5 at this event.”
In a battle of former runners-up, Damien Hobgood defeated fellow American Taylor Knox, while Adam Melling (AUS), last year’s losing finalist, showed that was no fluke by producing another strong performance, including an 8.27 point ride, to relegate Brett Simpson (USA) to an early exit from the event.
Heitor Alves (BRA) and Matt Wilkinson (AUS) scored victories for the goofy-foot contingent (those riding with their right foot in front), overcoming Pat Gudauskas (USA) and Chris Davidson (AUS) respectively. Kieren Perrow (AUS), who represents the surfers in decision making forums, put an end to 2001 ASP World Champion CJ Hobgood’s 2011 campaign at Jeffreys Bay.
Organisers will meet at first light tomorrow and make a call at 7am on when to commence Round 3. The first heat when competition gets underway will feature Jeremy Flores (FRA) against Dan Ross (AUS).
Locals will be focused on the all South African match up between defending champion Jordy Smith (Cape Town) and Travis Logie (Durban) who will go head to head in Heat 6 of the round with the winner progressing to the last 12 and the loser falling out of the event.
Other highly anticipated Round 3 clashes see current ASP World Title Race rankings leader Adriano de Souza versus his protégé and fellow Brazilian Alejo Muniz; former winners Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Taj Burrow who take on Kai Otton, Matt Wilkinson and Josh Kerr respectively in all Australian encounters while established stars Bede Durbidge and Perrow will be up against rising stars Dusty Payne (HAW) and Julian Wilson (AUS).
Surfline, the official surf forecasters for the Billabong Pro J-Bay 2011, are calling for a solid SSW swell to build through the weekend, peaking on Saturday 23 July.
BILLABONG PRO J-BAY – ROUND 2 RESULTS:
H7: Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.00 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 6.00
H8: Michel Bourez (PYF) 17.07 def. Raoni Monteiro 14.03
H9: Adam Melling (AUS) 14.00 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 11.80
H10: Heitor Alves (BRA) 14.90 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.84
H11: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 12.23 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.43
H12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.20 def. Chris Davidson (AUS) 6.83
BILLABONG PRO J-BAY – ROUND 3 MATCH UPS:
H1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
H2: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
H3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
H4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
H5: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
H6: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
H7: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
H8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
H9: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
H10: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
H11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
H12: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)