With the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) surfers returning to the incredible waves of JBay this year, all eyes will be on our local South African competitors.
Both Jordy Smith and and JBay local Matt McGillivray have the experience and skills to take them to the winner’s podium.
The last time the Corona Open JBay ran was in 2019. That year it was an all-Brazilian final, with Gabriel Beating Italo Ferreira in excellent surf at Supertubes. This year could be a very different scenario.
The 2022 Corona Open JBay comes with a slightly different format due to the mid-year cut. By reducing the men’s and women’s fields from 36 and 18 to 24 and 12, respectively, at the season’s midway point this year, events like Corona Open JBay can run within the most optimal swell cycles.
In addition, this format also ensures that the stars of the sport meet head to head more frequently.
This could definitely favour both Smith and McGillivray. They won’t have to slog through the early rounds in the reduced-field competition.
Smith has won the Corona Open JBay twice in his career, in 2010 and 2011. He beat Australian Adam Melling in 2010 in small and crumbly conditions. He defeated another Australian three-time world champion, Mick Fanning, in 2011.
He is also one of the few surfers in the sport’s history to score a perfect 20 points out of a possible 20, with two perfect 10-point rides, back in 2017 against Italian surfer Leonardo Fioravanti. So he has the skills.
McGillivray is a born and bred JBay surfer and has intimate knowledge of the at-times complicated wave. He has grown up surfing it and knows it well, from big Boneyards to close-out city Impossibles.
In pro surfing, experience counts for much, which Kelly Slater can attest to. The 50-year-old and undoubtedly most experienced competitor on tour started off the year with a win at Pipeline in Hawaii.
He, too, will be competing in JBay, but eyes are on the JBay kid in McGillivray and former event champion Smith.
The event waiting period runs from 12 – 21 July 2022. With the reduced number of competitors, it takes only 4 days to run both the men’s and the women’s events.
It can be viewed live on https://www.worldsurfleague.com/
Photo: Jordy Smith taken by Joey Nel