Kelly Slater is the top seed for the $ 400 000 Billabong Pro J-Bay which starts on Thursday. Heat 7 where South African hopeful and world number two Jordy Smith takes to the water followed by Slater in Heat 8 will be the ones not to miss in Round 1.
The draw for the Billabong Pro has been revised following the withdrawal of 2009 event winner Joel Parkinson, who suffered an horrendous cut to his right foot while practicing in Australia was announced yesterday. Slater is followed in the seeding by previous Billabong Pro J-Bay winners Taj Burrow (2007) and reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (2002 & 2007), both from Australia.
SA surfing super-star Jordy Smith is the No. 4 seed, the highest seeding for a South African since the event became a ASP World Tour event in 1996. With all the “gees” in South Africa following the Soccer World Cup, Jordy will receive the support from the beach this year in Jeffreys Bay.
Excitement is mounting for the event as Surfline, the official surf forecasters for the Billabong Pro J-Bay, predict 6 ft waves with bigger sets and favourable weather conditions at Supertubes for Thursday (15 July), the opening of the 11-day waiting period that runs until Sunday 25 July.
Slater, the current World No. 1 is bidding for an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title. The 38 year-old Floridian, acknowledged as the best competitive surfer of all time, already holds a string of records including the youngest (20 in 1992) and oldest (36 in 2008) World Champion. He has won the most events and prize-money and is the only surfer to have his name etched on the Billabong Pro J-Bay perpetual trophy four times (1996, 2003, 2005 & 2008).
Jordy Smith, who in his third year amongst surfing’s elite reached his first final at the opening event of 2010, defeating Slater and Reynolds on his way to a runner-up finish at Snapper Rocks, will be focused on winning his first ASP World Tour event, becoming the first South African since 1996 to reach the final at J-Bay.
The heat draw is:
Heat 1: Taylor Knox (USA) , Luke Munro (AUS) , Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 2: Jadson Andre (BRA) , Andy Irons (HAW) , Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) , Luke Stedman (AUS) , Nate Yeomans (USA)
Heat 4: Dane Reynolds (USA) , Daniel Ross (AUS) , Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA) , Jeremy Flores (FRA) , Blake Thornton (AUS)
Heat 6: Adriano De Souza (BRA) , Tiago Pires (PRT) , Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) , Tom Whitaker (AUS) , Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) , Damien Hobgood (USA) , Wildcard 3
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) , Kieren Perrow (AUS) , Wildcard 2
Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS) , Roy Powers (HAW) , Wildcard 1
Heat 11: C.J. Hobgood (USA) , Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) , Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 12: F. Patacchia (HAW), Patrick Gudauskas (USA) , Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 13: Michel Bourez (PYF) , Dean Morrison (AUS) , Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 14: Chris Davidson (AUS) , Mick Campbell (AUS) , Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 15: Adrian Buchan (AUS) , Ben Dunn (AUS) , Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 16: Owen Wright (AUS) , Travis Logie (ZAF) , Drew Courtney (AUS)