The Corona Open at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa has got 16 surfers left in the men’s event and 8 surfers left in the women’s event. The surf has been a pretty fun 3-6ft with some bigger waves coming through but we haven’t seen classic J-Bay conditions yet... and I say yet because looking at the forecast we could see 6-8ft J-Bay freight trains Tuesday/Wednesday this week.
The men’s competition has seen a couple of upsets with Julian Wilson, Connor Coffin and local style master Michael February going out in the round of 32. Due to the fact that John John is out for the season the title race has been split wide open so the fight for points in the top 10 is hotting up and to get passed the Round of 32 is a must. Michael February showed the tour his style and unique lines in the long walls of J-Bay but it just wasn’t enough to get past Toledo who is looking to get his 3rd consecutive title at one of the worlds best right handers!
Wave scores above a 7 were very few and far between with only 5 waves going into the excellent range. Kanoa Igarashi had the best heat total with a 9.03 and an 8.50 showing that his consistency is growing and he’s looking very dangerous going towards the last half of the season. Seabass got the wave of the day for a 9.07. His stylish and powerful surfing shon through with a unique line drawn which we’ve been missing of late. Italo threw the tail on his last move on a long wave to score an 8.23 and was showing his usual back hand flare to overcome Freestone. South African Jordy Smith was showing his usual dominant and powerful surfing at a wave he knows very well and scored and scored an 8.50 and 7.17 to overcome rookie Soli Bailey.
Seabass showing us his style
Kelly Slater looked pretty hungry also showcasing his legendary carve to slide on several occasions and is through to the round of 16 after taking out Caio Ibelli. Will slater ride a slightly longer board in his next heat with the swell forecast to be a bit bigger than what we’ve seen? There have been calls to see him put more rail in the water and go back to the days when we would see him ride 6ft+ boards in normal size waves. He’s coming up against a very inform Italo Ferreira so he might need something to show the judges a point of difference against Italo’s powerful back hand attack.
Kelly Slater’s trademark slide
Other heats to look out for in the round of 16 is Medina Vs Callinan, the goofy footers are 2 of the best on their backhand and the long J-Bay walls have plenty of canvas to work with. Sebastian Zietz is up against Michel Bourez and with the forecast looking the way it is it will be hard to predict the winner. But I have to say Seabass has one of the most unique and best styles on tour with a touch of Taj Burrow thrown in so expect the unexpected.
Fingers crossed we get a bigger swell with favourable winds so we can see the last 16 of the men’s and quarters of the women’s battle it out in epic J-Bay conditions.
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