The J-Bay Open, Stop No. 6 of 11 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), begins on Thursday, July 10, and the world’s best surfers are returning to Jeffreys Bay with swell on the horizon.
Universally-regarded as one of the best right-hand pointbreaks on the planet, Jeffreys Bay rejoins the WCT in 2014 after a two-year hiatus from elite competition. The venue has existed as a favorite tour stop for the world’s best surfers since its inception and it adds a welcome element to this season’s hotly-contested ASP World Title race.
J-Bay was last on the WCT schedule in 2011, when South African Jordy Smith claimed his home-field advantage and won the event for the second year in a row. The event ran as an ASP 6-Star Qualification Series (QS) event in 2012 when Brazilian Adriano de Souza claimed victory.
“When I won the QS event here in 2012, I recognized the difficulties and differences that proved unique to that event as opposed to when it was a WCT event,” De Souza said. “The QS has a lot of upcoming talents and they’re all hungry to take elite scalps and show the world they deserve to qualify – I know because that was me at that level. Besides this factor, the 2012 event still had guys like John John (Florence), Jordy (Smith), Alejo (Muniz), Brett Simpson and others.”
“For sure, it was a special event for me and I’m very proud to have won it,” De Souza said. “However, it was two years ago and winning a QS event there is much different to winning a WCT – they’re just not the same thing. I’m very excited it’s back on the schedule and I hope the waves pump because the level of talent on tour this season has been scary good. I really hope to do well again in J-Bay this year.”
11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) has won at Jeffreys Bay three times (1996, 2003 and 2005), reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning was victorious here in 2002 and 2006 and Jordy Smith (ZAF) took back-to-back wins in 2010 and 2011 and is the defending event winner.
“When I got the news that Jeffreys was returning to the schedule this season, I basically ran around my house screaming for 30 minutes,” Smith said. “It’s a special wave. It’s a special wave for me personally and has been intertwined with my career since I can remember. The level of surfing on tour this season has been ridiculous. If there are waves, we’re going to see some crazy stuff go down.”
Surfline, official forecasters for the J-Bay Open, are calling for:
Medium-size SW swell will prevail for the first day of the contest waiting period (Thursday the 10th), with a fading trend into the weekend.
Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF), the winner of the JBU Supertrials held on the June 5, 2014, has received one of two event wildcards with the other to be announced in the coming days. The wildcards will compete alongside ASP Top 34 and complete the field for the J-Bay Open.
The J-Bay Open will be held from Thursday, July 10, to Monday, July 21, 2014 and will be webcast LIVE via aspworldtour.com
J-Bay Open Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS), TBD
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Mitch Crews (AUS), TBD
Heat 7: Nat Young (USA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 10: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Owen Wright (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 11: John John Florence (HAW), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA), Julian Wilson (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)