J-BAY ROUND 2 UPDATE

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posted by James Willmott

After several days of waiting, J-Bay started to deliver the goods once again, allowing the ASP J-Bay Open to continue with the remainder of elimination Round 2. With a pumping, clean 3-5 foot of swell, Round 2 Heat 5 was the first in the water to resume the historical event which has seen so many stand out performances over the years.Supers1

Round 2 commences – photo by ASP

Heat 5 of the eliminating Round 2 saw an all Aussie affair, with Bede Durbidge up against Matt Wilkinson. The 35 minute Heat opened with Burbidge smacking the open faces of Supertubes, putting the first scores of 5.00 on the scoreboard. Wilkinson sat patiently waiting for the right wave, eventually warming up at the 10 minute mark. After finding his composure, Wilkinson attacked again this time on a bigger set wave, something he took a huge advantage of. He carved down the line with precision, drawing lines and belting 6 controlled turns for a 7.00 and taking the lead from Bede. The pair soon exchanged waves, this time with Durbidge throwing power into some great forehand manoeuvres, though it was Wilkinson who continued to shine, catching a bigger wave of the set and advancing further with a 8.50. Bede again tried to match Wilkinson’s strong scores, though fell short and was eliminated from competition.

 “I was in the perfect spot for that one,” Wilkinson said of his high-scoring wave. “I knew if I hit all the sections solidly I’d end up with a massive score and I did. It felt really good.”SupersWilko1

 Wilko belting one off the top – photo by ASP

Heat 6 saw Owen Wright meet Dion Atkinson for another all Aussie Heat. As Dion sat patiently, Owen Wright began his campaign with a 5.67. Atkinson soon followed on a later set, though could not join the dots to lock in anything worthy. An overall slow Heat didn’t see too much action, with Atkinson needing a 7.20 to be saved from elimination. In the final minutes, Dion threw everything he could at one last set wave, with an impressive display of bottom turns and strong hacks. In all, Atkinson could not catch Owen’s early lead and was knocked from competition.

“It was a bit slow that one and I think that’s just how it’s going to go until that tide turns,” Wright said. “When they come through they’re such good waves. They’re perfect.”

To mix things up, Heat 7 was another all countryman affair, this time with Brazilian and Hurley team mates Filipe Toledo and Alejo Muniz facing off. As the Heat begun, it was clear all friendship was put aside as the pair battled for the opening exchange of waves. After a few waves of small scores, Muniz was first to find a worthy score of 6.00 through an array of turns and precise rail work. Toledo was chasing a 6.83, and waited to the final 2 minutes to try throw something together, catching a smaller wave and putting together a series of carves and turns on the open faces. In all, Toledo was eventually sent packing as his fellow countryman and team mate advanced through to Round 3.

“I kept getting medium size waves and do my best and it paid off,” Muniz said. “Not many Brazilians are on tour and we support each other so it’s hard, but everyone needs to do their own job. I’m really focused on this event and I want to get good results.”SupersMuniz1

 Muniz lining up – photo by ASP

Tour veteran C.J. Hobgood would next meet Tiago Pires in Heat 8 of Round 2. No time was wasted as both surfers exchanged waves immediately, both with strong series of turns, C.J putting on a great backhand performance. Pires took a small lead over Hobgood after this opening exchange, with a score of 8.50. A second exchange then saw Hobgood find his form and draw some high lines, putting together some great combinations and edging a 6.50, enough to steal the lead from Muniz. The pair played tennis with the lead all Heat, with Pires gaining an impressive 8.17 and C.J. answering with a 7.67. The American held onto his slight lead and survived elimination,once again cementing his backhand skills into all of our minds.

“It’s been a couple months since I had a heat,” Hobgood said. “I had Tiago in Fiji and he smoked me. I saw the other guys catching waves to get into rhythm so I just tried to cut a bunch of waves. Tiago was ripping so I’m stoked to make a heat.”SupersCJ

 Tour veteran C.J. Hobgood sitting in the right spot – photo by ASP

Heat 9 was another all Brazilian Heat, with Jadson Andre meeting Miguel Pupo. The pair had scores up in a matter of minutes, with Pupo getting the bigger wave and locking in a nice 6.67 over Andre’s 3.33. Barrels started showing up around the 15 minute mark, with Miguel increasing his lead through an impressive tube ride for a 5.33, then again with a 8.50 through a strong performance of tube rides and vertical snaps. Andre soon struck back with a 8.40, though could not match the performances of his fellow countryman.

“It’s my first time in J-Bay and I’ve already fallen in love with the place,” said Pupo. “It’s a special place for all the surfers because of the history over here. Hopefully I can come here every year. Monday’s conditions look pretty good, so hopefully we get barreled and put on a good show for the South Africans.”

Sebastian ‘Seabass’ Zietz was next up against Jeremy Flores in Heat 10. After a slow first few minutes, waves started flowing through and the pair put on an appealing opening exchange. Flores took the lead first, with a 7.50 over Sebastian’s 6.17. After what seemed like a slow Heat, sets eventually appeared and the pair did not disappoint crowds and judges. Both went head to head and bought themselves some 7 point scores, though Zietz continued to trail. As the final minutes approached, Zietz’s prayers were answered as he paddled into one of the bigger waves of the Heat. He managed to lock in a 6.67, stealing the lead from the Frenchman by only 0.14.

I think it was a pretty fair heat,” said Zietz. “(I was last here) three years ago, it was so good, I couldn’t wait to come back. it’s been a little smaller since then, but the waves are perfect. We’re staying down the beach in front of the point, and I’ve been surfing my brains out.”SupersSeabass

 Seabass not holding back – photo by ASP

Heat 11 saw some great action as Freddy Patacchia battled Travis Logie. The backhand battle was again on as both surfers got to their feet early, putting mid scores on the board to start their campaigns. It was the next wave that wowed spectators, as Patacchia paddled into a perfect J-Bay grinder, putting together three huge hacks off the top and then sitting in a long tube. The wave was the highest score of the day, being scored a 9.93 and leaving Logie in a crucial situation. As Logie looked to find his form with a 7.17, he was once again shut down as Freddy got another set wave and produced a 8.00. The combined score of 17.93 sent Logie packing as he was eliminated from the 2014 J-Bay Open.

“I knew that wave was going to be a gem,” Patacchia said. “I was thinking ‘don’t screw this up Freddy.’ It felt great, it was a perfect J-Bay wave.”SupersFreddy

 Freddy Patacchia after the wave of the day – photo by ASP

The final Heat of the day was another Australian affair, this time seeing Mitch Crews take on Adrian Buchan. It was Crews who began the Heat with a 6.50 with a combination of turns and controlled rail work. Buchan stayed patient and eventually was rewarded, throwing turn after turn and gaining a 6.67 to take the lead. Buchan eventually stayed strong and proved too much for his fellow Aussie, eliminating Crews and advancing through to Round 3.

With a new swell arriving today and increasing until Wednesday, the contest is scheduled to resume once again. Keep up to date here at SurfStitch Blog, or watch live at the official ASP website. If you are on the East Coast of Australia, the call will be made around 4pm. Check out out the highlights from Round 2 below.