Wildcards fall in elimination rounds at J'Bay
JEFFREYS BAY, South Africa (Wednesday, July 10, 2019) - The Corona Open J-Bay completed the women’s Seeding Round, and sent the first competitors home after the men’s and women’s Elimination Rounds. This event is the sixth stop on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) and the halfway marker in the year-long battle for the World Championship. Six surfers were eliminated in three-to-four foot (0.9 - 1.2 meter) waves at Jeffreys Bay and determined the head-to-head matchups for the remaining competitors.
Wildcard Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) faced elimination today at the hands of 2019 CT Rookies Brisa Hennessy (CRI) and Macy Callaghan (AUS) in Heat 1 of the Elimination Round. It was a slow heat with only mid-range scores for Hennessy and Callaghan, while Buitendag struggled to find the required 4.73 (out of a possible 10) to move up into second place.
“I got another opportunity to surf incredible J-Bay,” said Hennessy. “I think in my first heat I learned a lot and I made a lot of mistakes. I’m so lucky I got a second chance and another heat where I can grow. To be out there with two other girls is incredible. I’m just trying to make friends with the rocky section. It’s not too horrible, there's no sea urchins or anything, just a couple of mussels. I feel bad for the mussels! Can you imagine how many times they’ve been stepped on? The rocks are pretty crazy but you just have to send it. I came here last year and I made a trip to J-Bay just for one surf and it wasn’t really breaking. Just the feel of South Africa, the sunrises and sunsets, the people, it’s been a wonderful experience.”
Jack Freestone (AUS) was off to a flying start in the first heat of the men’s Elimination Round and secured his place in the Round of 32 (Round 2) with a 15.93 heat total (out of a possible 20). It was a close battle for second between South African wildcard Beyrick De Vries and Ryan Callinan (AUS). Unfortunately for the local fans, De Vries finished just short of the required score and will walk away from his first CT event and back to the Qualifying Series at the upcoming Vans US Open of Surfing pres. by Swatch.
“It’s definitely amazing stepping up from the QS to the CT level, just the way that everyone is treated here, the whole experience is just so different,” said De Vries. “You don’t feel like you’re grinding. It feels like you’re flowing and everything’s a lot more comfortable. It’s obviously a bigger stage and a lot more pressure, but with the waves being so good it actually eases the pressure too. I’m going to the US Open now and hope to get another big one there, hopefully, a first. I want those 10,000 points. I love the US Open, having had a good result there before I know which waves I’d like to go on there and that definitely gives me more confidence and then hopefully a good result at Sunset again, that’s my happy place.”
Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) also was eliminated after finishing in third place behind Seth Moniz (HAW) and Adrian Buchan (AUS) in Elimination Round 2, Heat 2. Couzinet received the wildcard as the highest ranked Qualifying Series surfer and replaced John John Florence (HAW), the current World No. 1, who withdrew from this event due to a knee injury. This was only Couzinet’s second CT appearance and he will now refocus his attention to the QS, where he sits in second on the rankings.
Michael February (ZAF) is now the last wildcard standing and will battle against defending event winner Filipe Toledo (BRA) in Heat 2, Round of 32 when competition resumes.
Paige Hareb (NZL) claimed her first heat win of the 2019 season in Heat 4 of the Seeding Round. World No. 4 Courtney Conlogue (USA) advanced alongside Hareb, sending Brisa Hennessy (CRI) to surf again in the Elimination Round. The heat marked Hareb’s first time in a CT jersey at Jeffreys Bay after she was forced to withdraw last year due to injury. Hareb will face Caroline Marks in the Round of 16.
"This was maybe my fifth surf out there,” said Hareb. “It’s amazing, it feels a bit like New Zealand so I’m feeling really comfortable. I just did the Surf Ranch and Waco last week with my coach, and I just kind of got a little bit more motivated. I’m nearly 30 years old next year but the motivation is still there. Hopefully, my luck’s turning for the better and I can keep the ball rolling.”
2018 event runner-up Lakey Peterson (USA) made her intentions clear after taking out the win ahead of Malia Manuel (HAW) and Keely Andrew (AUS)with one of the highest single-wave scores of the day, an excellent 8.33 (out of a possible 10). Peterson will match-up with Bronte Macaulay (AUS) in Heat 8, R/16.
Caroline Marks (USA) showcased her backhand attack to win the last heat of Seeding Round 1 against Brasilians Tatiana Weston-Webb and Silvana Lima. Marks is currently tied with Peterson on the Jeep Leaderboard in fifth place. A strong result here could move her up the rankings and put some distance between her and the other Americans in the race for both the World Title and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“It’s so rad to have Luke (Egan) in my corner," said Marks. "He’s so knowledgeable and he surfs so well here at J-Bay. All the work starts before the event. I’m just trying to enjoy it and not worry about the result. I just want to surf well and not worry about the result. I’m just stoked to be here and enjoy it. I try to stick to a routine, but I just want to surf out here. Basically just eat, surf, sleep, surf. I have some superstitions, like I always have to give my coach a fist bump before a heat, it gives me energy and I just feel confident, but also eating at the same restaurant, going to bed and waking up at the same time and eating the same thing in the morning.”
Sage Erickson (USA) will not join her fellow Americans into the Round of 16 after losing to Andrew and Lima in the final heat of the day. Andrew got the advantage over Erickson in the final ten minutes of the heat with a 14.40 combined score, defeating the Californian by just 1.06 points. Lima matched Peterson’s earlier performance with her own outstanding 8.33 and will now meet seven-time WSL Champion and defending event winner, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), in the opening heat of the Round of 16.
Heat 4 of the men's Elimination Round saw the all-Brasilian battle between Peterson Crisanto (BRA), Willian Cardoso (BRA), and Jadson Andre (BRA). Rookie Crisanto and CT sophomore Cardoso said goodbye to veteran Andre after he failed to find a 5.77 to keep him in the event. This is Andre's second 33rd result of the year and he has yet to surpass 17th place in the past six events so far.
Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Remaining Seeding Round (Round 1) Results:
Heat 4: Paige Hareb (NZL) 12.33 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.33, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 7.50
Heat 5: Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.43 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.90, Keely Andrew (AUS) 9.67
Heat 6: Caroline Marks (USA) 14.03 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 12.37, Silvana Lima (BRA) 11.37
Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Elimination Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 11.50 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 10.54, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 10.30
Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) 14.56 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 14.40, Sage Erickson (USA) 13.34
Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Elimination Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Jack Freestone (AUS) 15.93 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 11.40, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 11.14
Heat 2: Seth Moniz (HAW) 14.27 DEF. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.03, Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) 11.73
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.84 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.23, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.83
Heat 4: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 13.07 DEF. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.20, Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.86