Florence in magical form for Round 1 of J'Bay

Stu Nettle
Form Guide

JEFFREYS BAY, South Africa (Saturday, July 15, 2017) - The Corona Open J-Bay, stop No. 6 on the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), got off to an incredible start today running through Round 1 in excellent conditions at Supertubes. The world’s best surfers made the most of the overhead surf on offer and the WSL Champions dominated the day’s action and each won their opening heat and advanced directly to the third round.
 
Reigning WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) was the performer of the day and commanded the lineup in his Round 1 match-up against 2017 WSL rookie Ian Gouveia (BRA)and trials winner Dale Staples (ZAF). The current World No. 2 posted three nine-point rides including a near-perfect 9.70 for two tube rides and two incredible turns. Local hero Staples looked in fine form to finish the heat in second place with a 16.03 heat total while the Brazilian rookie failed to escape combination. The World Champion sealed the win with an excellent 9.67 and a 19.37 heat total (out of a possible 20), the best of the day.
 
“The waves are firing right now, this is the best J-Bay I’ve surfed during the contest,” Florence said. “Being out there by yourself you can position yourself exactly where you want to take off and then you have this big open canvas in front of you, it’s crazy. My board is called the Ghost, I rode a 6’2 at Margaret River, and a 6’0 here and since we’ve started working on this board I haven’t found a wave where it doesn't work. It just gives you so much confidence throughout the practice surfs when you’re not trading off boards.”


 
An impossibly deep barrel from 2014 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) was rewarded with a near-perfect 9.93, the highest single-wave score of the day, and a confident victory over opponents Stuart Kennedy (AUS) and Caio Ibelli (BRA). With four previous Quarterfinal finishes at Jeffreys Bay, Medina is keen to post a strong result in South Africa to move up inside the top ten on the Jeep Leaderboard.
 
“I’ve been watching a lot of heats this morning so I really wanted to get the first big wave,” said Medina. “I had so much fun surfing here today and I’m stoked to win that heat. It’s really fun to surf out here today. I tried to make sure I found the big waves. It’s really hard on your backhand when it’s fast, so you have to choose the right waves but you never know what J-Bay is going to do.”


 
Round 1 Heat 5 was another huge match-up and two-time event winner Jordy Smith (ZAF)took the early advantage over Conner Coffin (USA) and event wildcard Michael February (ZAF). Coffin quickly leapt into first place with a technical barrel followed by a series of critical maneuvers and was rewarded with a 9.37. Smith, currently sitting at No. 3 on the Jeep Leaderboard, continued to scour the lineup for the 8.72 required but a final attempt with two minutes remaining wasn’t enough and he is relegated to elimination Round 2. Fan favorite February had the crowd on their feet, but didn’t have the power to challenge Smith and Coffin and was left in a combination situation.
 
“That was just so fun,” said Coffin. “We have so much swell coming and this morning was just pumping. Perfect conditions and just three people out - that’s the stuff I dream of. I think I’ve surfed that wave in my head so many times before. When it popped up I was just so excited so I just had to stay calm and the wave was incredible. I’ve been here for a while and there’s been waves every day so it’s been a good opportunity to surf out here. Jordy (Smith) is just my favorite surfer and I really look up to him so I knew it would be a tough battle out here and I would have to surf my best.”


 
Jeremy Flores (FRA) delivered another impressive performance and the first upset of the day in Round 1 Heat 4. Flores took to the lineup in against current No. 1 on the Jeep Leaderboard Matt Wilkinson (AUS) and Ethan Ewing (AUS). The Australian rookie, who has yet to win a heat on the CT in his opening season, came out battling to take an early lead but Flores stormed into first place with a 7.83 and quickly improved his scoreline with an excellent 9.17 for multiple barrels and finished with a 17.00 heat total. Wilkinson and Ewing will surf again in elimination Round 2.
 
“That wave was so beautiful,” said Flores. “When I was paddling I felt a bit of pressure because that was the best wave I’ve had an opportunity to be on for the past ten days so I knew I shouldn’t blow it. I don’t usually claim but I couldn’t help it - there’s so much energy in the crowd here. It’s hard to keep composed and really relaxed when conditions are so good. You need to really pace your flow and your speed out here because the rides are so long. This is what we’re on this tour for - to surf waves like this - and when we get them it changes everything!”


 
Three-time WSL Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) opened his Round 1 match-up with a bang and posted an 8.50 for a series of big carves. The defending and four-time event winner improved his lead with another excellent score, an 8.73, to advance easily to Round 3 over Sebastian Zietz (HAW) and Joan Duru (FRA).
 
“It’s really nice out there,” Fanning said. “J-Bay is one of my favorite waves and what better place to be. I was really nervous before my heat because I just couldn't wait to get out there. The conditions are pretty ludicrous out there so you just have to calm your nerves and focus on the job at hand.”


 
The 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) powered through his first heat at Jeffreys Bay by opening with an excellent 9.10 for a deep tube ride. A back-up 7.17 sealed the win for the four-time event winner, despite a last-minute attempt from Julian Wilson (AUS), sending the Australian and Kanoa Igarashi (USA) to elimination Round 2.
 
“This place is so beautiful - brisk weather, great waves, long walls and a lot of speed on the waves,” Slater said. “It’s such a fantastic place. This is surprising, I didn’t think we’d be surfing today but now we’ve got four or five really good days ahead and we’ll have a great contest. Before the heat I said that if I got a good wave I would claim it, so I did.”


 
The opening heat of the day saw two-time event winner Joel Parkinson (USA) take on Brazilians Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) and Miguel Pupo (BRA). The 2012 WSL Champion looked hungry for his third win at Jeffreys Bay. Dantas found an incredible stand-up barrel but wasn’t able to complete the ride and the score fell short. Parkinson meanwhile used his experience to find an excellent 8.23 and take the heat win.
 
“I’m really glad that we’re finally underway,” said Parkinson. “Wiggolly’s barrel was amazing and I really thought he was going to get a nine but accidents happen. He’s such an amazing surfer, he’s beaten me out here before, so I’m sure he’ll bounce back. We’re lucky enough in Australia to have a lot of great point breaks so I think that really helps get a good read on this type of wave.”
 
An incredibly close heat between 2015 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA), 2017 WSL rookie Frederico Morais (PRT) and Jadson Andre (BRA) played out in Round 1 Heat 3 with the trio separated by just 1.26 points. De Souza opened strong with a 7.83 to build his scoreline. The Portuguese rookie chased the World No. 3 throughout the heat but his final ride fell just 0.10 of a point short of the required scored and he will have to surf again in Round 2 along with Andre.
 
“I’m so happy to make this heat,” said De Souza. “Frederico (Morais) and Jadson (Andre) both surfed pretty great out there. I’m stoked with the win and to be back in J-Bay. When I have the chance I always come early. This year I came two weeks early and I got a great swell so it was a great opportunity to get some practice in. Now I’m going to watch the event and try and learn as much as I can from the other guys in the lineup.”


 Corona Open J-Bay Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.32, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.60, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.33
Heat 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.84, Owen Wright (AUS) 11.16, Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.00
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.83, Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.73, Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.57
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 17.00, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.27, Ethan Ewing (AUS) 9.93
Heat 5: Conner Coffin (USA) 17.04, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.76, Michael February (ZAF) 12.40
Heat  6: John John Florence (HAW) 19.37, Dale Staples (ZAF) 16.03, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 13.07
Heat  7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.27, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Kolohe Andino (USA) 7.83
Heat  8: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.27, Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.84, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 8.77
Heat  9: Jack Freestone (AUS) 16.00, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.66, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 11.00
Heat 10: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.83, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 14.77, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.17
Heat 11: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.23, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.83, Joan Duru (FRA) 6.17
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.67, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.17, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.60

Corona Open J-Bay Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Dale Staples (ZAF)
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Michael February (ZAF)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Ethan Ewing (AUS)
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat  6: Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat  7: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat  8: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat  9: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 11: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 12: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Ian Gouveia (BRA)

Comments

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted commented Sunday, 16 Jul 2017 at 11:15am

That is surf porn

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 16 Jul 2017 at 11:19am

JJF Hack
all_art_all_art_ instagram

Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017 commented Sunday, 16 Jul 2017 at 6:41pm

I'm not completely sure what that means! But I'm very sure I would have been banned for the 20th time for that comment!

Hmmm anyway I'm watching round two with Michael February "ripping" and having flash backs on the similar styles of him and the late Shaun Brooks.

;+) har ha ha ha.

Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017 commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 6:04am

.....

;+) har ha ha ha.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 16 Jul 2017 at 6:48pm

My comment ? It means check the JJF pic on that instagram page

Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017 commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 6:04am

Sarcasms a bitch! But john johns a hack!
Nice "hack" he is doing though.

;+) har ha ha ha.

nicko74's picture
nicko74's picture
nicko74 commented Sunday, 16 Jul 2017 at 7:41pm

JJF's attack on j bay was surgical. I can't imagine what it would have looked sitting in the channel looking on? The kid is next level! I was also impressed with Bedes rail work, very solid.

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Sunday, 16 Jul 2017 at 9:05pm

I thought the young South African Staples was pretty unlucky to be given a 3.77 in his last ride against Jordy.

Toppa

Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017 commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 9:55am

That guy is incredible! That top turn to down carve into the flats is now one of my favorite turns from a surfer!

Also I wish they would bring back the heats on demand part where you could click on individual waves! I liked it and it also made you feel a bit more interactive with the site.
What also would be good is if they allowed us to choose two waves at once so we could compare them at home our self's!

Now he Davey knew there was only 1 wave... That one he let through he grew up there!
He would have seen how big the swell of that wave was out in the bay and known it was going to be a grower!
He also held back incredibly on those little waves..
He gave jordy that heat! No doubts in my mind.

;+) har ha ha ha.

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 9:58am

No mention of Toledo's wave , fastest surfer by far with turns at Mach 4 , against the best power game on tour the Spartan!

creedpolly's picture
creedpolly's picture
creedpolly commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 12:19pm

Spartan is rad, but best power game is JJF. Can' think what aspect of his surfing loses out to anyone.

Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017 commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 4:10pm

Toledo is as powerful as fk! He is doing one of the biggest on rail down carves in the game at the moment!
Think of mick he only filled out about 6 years or so ago.. Before that he was a weed!
Toly is young and already beefing up! I hope chops is heavy this year so I never have to here the comment about "people wanting to see him pussy at chops". Its not going to happen.

;+) har ha ha ha.

freerider.'s picture
freerider.'s picture
freerider. commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 10:35am

...

freerider.'s picture
freerider.'s picture
freerider. commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 10:32am

Magical?? Sorry dudes, I have to claim ignorance, I just don't understand why you guys get off on watching other people surf.--"The best waves ever ridden on the planet--whether it's 2 feet or 20--will always be the waves you catch and ride yourself"......

Terminal's picture
Terminal's picture
Terminal commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 11:46am

Have to agree freerider, despite occasionally enjoying watching someone else ride who has a decent style, the best wave is always my wave.

Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017 commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 4:01pm

I will agree with the best waves you ride are the ones by yourself!

As I have spent many many hours surfing alone on the south coast of NSW! I love it.

But I also love watching my friends especially ones that are sort of just learning to turn a board get the wave of there life or learn a turn!
Feeding of there stoke after watching them is one surfing most incredible moments! I will happily give my buddy every perfect wave on a epic day if it gives him the chance to get his first barrel!

But I love watching others surf! I also get just as much out of sitting on the cliffs soaking in the breaks mechanisms and beauty!

There is so much more to surfing than just riding a wave!

;+) har ha ha ha.

freerider.'s picture
freerider.'s picture
freerider. commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 4:56pm

I also enjoy just sitting and watching the newbies surf and seeing that stoke on their face. But as far as the so called pros, I'm just not into it. And you're right, there is so much more to surfing than just riding a wave-- the sunsets --the feel of the sand underneath your feet--the freedom you feel in the water or on the beach---and all the other good beach Vibes that go with it. But when you fall asleep at night, you're going to most likely remember the waves 'you' caught today.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 6:51pm

Best wave ridden in the Wright / Ewing heat was by Slater.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 7:13pm

Tough on Ethan Ewing. That 7 something was very well surfed, and it's painful to see such a good surfer struggle.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 7:26pm

Totally, must be extra cheesed off seeing the waves coming through in the next heat.

Jeers to the bodyboarder shutting down Kolohe's barrell.

Ignorance is Zen

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 8:25pm

Julian Wilson; how can someone be so good at surfing yet so mind-numbingly boring to watch? Perfect competitive surfing by numbers, but just so vanilla!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 8:27pm

Bummer- Kelly out.

Ignorance is Zen

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 8:29pm

Did they really just put Kelly in an ambulance for a minor foot injury ?

OMFG.

Mustn't have been any chopper available. Heads are gonna roll .

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 8:32pm

Kelly looked like he had his mojo going too was ripping the other day and his board looked real good underfoot.

"friendly passive aggressive wolves in sheeps clothing. ;)"

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 8:35pm

He needs Dr Phil not a hospital.

You'd be spewing though . It'd break your heart to be injured with surf like that happening.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 8:43pm

Shit yeah! Spewing buckets.

Ignorance is Zen

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 8:54pm

So has Kelly been forced into retirement by injury?

His on site diagnosis was two comps out, this comp and Tahiti. If his diagnosis is right he's pretty much gone as he's sitting at 18th and already used up one bad result for injury. Means he'll be counting only eight comps not nine.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 9:03pm

Brazil came back to bite him on the arse.

Well it would if he wasn't the GOAT and the WSL would rather mince the other 33 surfers into a burger patty than see Kelly sit a season out.

Injury seeding surely.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 9:17pm

If it's broken metatarsals as he suspects, then he'll be out even longer. farewell at Pipe for Kelly?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 9:36pm

SeaBass 1.83 for a 25 mtr barrel ?

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 9:37pm

Seabass , Seabass , Seabass .....snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Again.

Who am I fooling ?

I can't stay mad at the poly-thumbed bugger. Hit the showers , then grab a beer and think of that 9.83 !

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 9:43pm

Medina's not even the best Brazilian.

Toledo is officially in my top 3.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Monday, 17 Jul 2017 at 10:57pm

X-ray up on Kelly's insta. Foot is farked.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 18 Jul 2017 at 6:35am

Jesus ...bad breaks theres long healing time there.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 18 Jul 2017 at 7:47am

That's a heavy break.