South Africa’s Jordy Smith started the defense of his Billabong Pro J’Bay title in style by setting the top scores in Round 1 held in inconsistent but very contestable 3-4 foot waves and light variable winds at Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay.
Competing in what turned out to be the heat of the day, the No. 2 seed looked calm and confident while leading for the first 15 minutes of the 30 minute encounter before last year’s runner-up Adam Melling (AUS) and then ‘uber-wildcard’ Sean Holmes (Cape Town) briefly overtook him with rides in the seven point range.
Smith regained control at the 10 minute mark, punting a huge aerial manoeuvre, blending in several speed moves and then finishing with a close out air which he landed smoothly to earn 9.0 out of 10, the highest scoring ride of the day.
With his opponents both needing just mid range seven point rides to grab the heat victory and passage directly into Round 3, Smith caught a smaller wave and again unleashed his gravity defying progressive repertoire to rack up 7.87 points with two manoeuvres in just 30 metres, leaving Holmes and Melling needing 8.95 and 9.37 respectively which they ultimately could not find.
“I don’t really feel the pressure to perform,” Smith said. “I’ve got my little program here with my friends and I’m just focusing on getting waves and surfing well. I’m happy to be through to Round 3.”
“Sean (Holmes) is obviously a very competent surfer at Jeffreys and Adam (Melling) was runner-up here last year so I definitely wasn’t taking the heat lightly,” Smith added. “They both got really good waves and I had to make do with what was left. It’s not classic J-Bay, but even when it’s like this, it’s still a pretty good wave.”
The next heat took got underway without top seed and reigning 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Salter (USA) who was reportedly on his way to J-Bay from Fiji where he has been taking advantage of an epic swell for the past couple of days. Later in the day, reports from Slater’s twitter account placed him still on the South Pacific island.
BILLABONG PRO J-BAY – ROUND 1 RESULTS:
H1: Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.04, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 6.66, Cory Lopez (USA) 6.60
H2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.10, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.17, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.67
H3: Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.90, Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.0, Gabe Kling (USA) 8.13
H4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.73, Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.17, Bobby Martinez (USA) 0.00
H5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.87, Sean Holmes (ZAF) 14.93, Adam Melling (AUS) 14.57
H6: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.77, Shaun Payne (ZAF) 7.46, Kelly Slater (USA) 0.00
H7: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.50, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.50, Chris Davidson (AUS) 4.73
H8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.70, Owen Wright (AUS) 8.43, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 7.56
H9: Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.70, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.80, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 7.73
H10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.10, Taylor Knox (USA) 10.46, Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.70
H11: Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.03, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.10, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.77
H12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.66, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.87, Brett Simpson (USA) 7.60
BILLABONG PRO J-BAY – ROUND 2 MATCH UPS:
H1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Shaun Payne (ZAF)
H2: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Sean Holmes (ZAF)
H3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)
H4: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Gabe Kling (USA)
H5: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
H6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
H7: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
H8: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
H9: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
H10: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
H11: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
H12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Chris Davidson (AUS)