NewsJ-Bay Open

J-Bay's Upsets and Triumphs

Date: Monday, July 14, 2014
Schedule: Round 3 (Heats 1-12) and Round 4 (Heats 1-4)
Conditions: 4-to-6 feet at Supertubes
Round 2 Recap

Round 3

Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) v. Adam Melling (AUS)

Australian natural-footers kicked off Round 3 in slower waves that sent them deep into the inside to start. Adam Melling paddled first, but got caught in the folding lip. Joel Parkinson was choosier, waiting more than eight minutes to take his first wave. His patience paid off: The 33-year-old power-surfer drove down the line for a quick float and then tucked into a tube, emerging to score a 7.00.

After a lull, Melling caught his best wave of the heat, combining quick rail-to-rail surfing and committed snaps. Parkinson displayed patience with picking his set wave, taking off with a high line on a clean face, again getting a quick cover-up with a relaxed, stylish approach.

With just three minutes left on the clock and needing 4.25 to top Parko, Melling pulled into a pit. Despite a fast run down the line, the wave broke on him before he could make a clean exit. Parko, who maintained the lead throughout, casually dropped into a final wave for what ASP commentators dubbed a victory lap.

Final Scores: Parkinson, 14.83 def. Melling, 8.50

Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) v. Miguel Pupo (BRA)

Miguel Pupo drew first blood to commence the Round 3 clash against Josh Kerr, connecting a critical backhand snap and a floater-to-carve combination for an average 4.00 shortly after the horn.

The Brazilian goofy-footer backed up his early score with an additional modest ride, while the Australian natural-footer struggled to find a rhythm in the challenging morning conditions.

While Kerr logged a few small scores throughout the heat's opener, the fly-boy eventually locked into a clean set with just one minute remaining. Kerr dismantled the wave when he connected three critical turns, floated a section, belted two additional snaps and punctuated the ride with a clean alley-oop for a 6.60 and the last-second heat win.

"I was so tired at the end of that heat," Kerr said. "It's much different to surf on the lower tide. From now own I'll just be more calculated and, if nothing comes, get a bunch of turns out the back. It's not even worth going through if you don't get some good turns."

Final Scores: Kerr, 11.73 def. Pupo, 10.77

Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) v. Adrian Buchan (AUS)

The peeling waves at Supertubes continued to test the speed of surfers as they took off. Taj Burrow challenged the break first, managing a few carves before falling behind the section. The incomplete ride kept his opening score to a four-pointer.

Coming off a close call in the elimination round, Adrian Buchan used priority to take a wave away from his competitor, matching a couple floaters with power carves, earning a 6.00 on his second wave and taking the lead with 15 minutes left in the heat.

After a seven-minute lull, Burrow again made the first move, putting together a combination of his classic power-surfing maneuvers to regain the lead with a 6.77. Ace worked the next clean, open face with a series of backhand cutbacks to improve his two-wave total to a 12.33. But on the wave behind him Burrow was up again, starting with a fins-free vertical snap and followed by a series of clean cutbacks, before Burrow lost his footing on a final air reverse. Ultimately, the judges sided with Burrow and Buchan was eliminated.

"That wasn't an ideal heat for me," Burrow said. "I felt nervous, which is weird because I've been on tour for 17 years. My legs felt weak on that first wave, I fell and it reeled off down the line. I wont be doing that again. The waves are great when they come, you just have to be selective. There are waves that hit the reef better than others."

Final Scores: Burrow, 12.74 def. Buchan 12.33

Heat 4: Adriano De Souza (BRA) v. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)

Adriano De Souza always comes out swinging and this heat was no different, making the most of a small Supertubes runner to register a 6.17 on his first ride. Sebastian Zietz looked sharp on his opening two rides, but a fall on a steep section and a closeout barrel prevented him from posting any substantial scores.

The next exchange was one of the best of the day so far -- both surfers found classic overhead Supertubes walls and unloaded power hacks and carves with De Souza registering a 8.87 to the Hawaiian's 7.87.

Zietz took off with 57 seconds on the clock. Chasing a 7.17, he tagged multiple turns and hooks and appeared to be on his way to the score until he overcooked a turn, buried his rail and went down. Adriano advances into Round 4.

"For J-Bay, I really work on flow between turns," said De Souza. "If you lose your momentum, the rest of the wave is going to be bad. I think that's really important. Once you get that flow between turns, it's easier to surf out at J-Bay."

Final Scores: De Souza, 15.04 def. Zietz 14.37

Heat 5: Kolohe Andino (USA) v. Julian Wilson (AUS)

Prodigies Julian Wilson and Kolohe Andino took to the water next, with the American getting the best of the opening exchange with a mid-range 5.67.

Andino remained busy without priority while Wilson waited patiently out the back. The Australian eventually hunted down a clean set, connecting his graceful forehand repertoire for a 7.10 and the heat lead.

Andino answered back with a flurry of forehand turns of his own, posting a 6.77, regaining the lead and earning the eventual win over Wilson.

Final Scores: Andino, 13.30 def. Wilson, 11.10

Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) v. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)

Goofy-footer Matt Wilkinson took an early lead, and held his position through the first half of the heat. At the 19-minute mark, Kelly Slater put together a series of snaps, floaters, and laybacks that tightened the points gap.

Still, at the halfway point the 11-time World Champ needed a 6.34 to surpass Wilko. A set came through and both surfers worked to take advantage. Slater took off, coming up for float sections, and executing precise cutbacks. An overwrought turn, though, brought him down into the whitewater.

Wilko, meanwhile, linked up a series of clean, vertical snaps that paid off with a 9.33 to put Slater in a combo situation. With the clock ticking down, Slater went for a crowd-pleasing alley-oop, but the next exchange wouldn't see him find as much success. Wilkinson took the next set wave for another series of clean snaps, and Slater followed suit but wobbled and fell before it was over.

The final waves before the buzzer saw the champ slipping off his board, while Wilko's rhythm continued. The Australian's seamless snaps earned him another nine-pointer, and the heat became the biggest upset of the contest, so far.

"No one likes their odds against Kelly (Slater)," Wilkinson said. "My backhand and my boards are feeling solid, the judges are rewarding my turns and that always feels good. Kelly always gets big scores, so I waited for the biggest waves of the set and it worked out."

Final Scores: Wilkinson, 18.36 def. Slater, 15.37

Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) v. Aritz Aranburu (ESP)

Gabriel Medina didn't waste any time in showing why he's the current World No. 1, clocking a 9.43 for a series of vertical, powerful backhand snaps in the first minute of Heat 7. Aritz Aranburu didn't seemed too fazed, however, posting a solid 7.17 for his opener.

Medina mistimed his backup wave and left the door open for Aranburu to answer back. And answer back he did, posting an 8.00 for a fast and furious series of turns and floats. With five minutes on the clock, Aranburu was leading Medina by 0.07.

Medina caught a clutch last-minute wave, hit the lip and floated all the way to the inside. The only question mark on the wave was the size, but when the scores came in it proved enough. Medina eliminated the Spaniard by a mere 0.29.

Final Scores: Medina, 15.46 def. Aranburu, 15.17

Heat 8: John John Florence (HAW) v. Owen Wright (AUS)

Owen Wright (AUS) got the best of an opening exchange to take an early lead. John John Florence (HAW), on the other hand, struggled to find his first decent ride.

The goofy-against-regular battle featured an opposition of style with Wright using long-drawn bottom turns and vertical hits, while Florence focused on tight pocket turns on his forehand.

At the five-minute mark, all of Florence's attempts proved unsuccessful, giving Wright the opportunity to further extend his lead. Wright caught a beautiful wave and worked his magic to collect a 7.33 and seal the deal.

Final Scores: Wright, 13.40 def. Florence, 8.00

Heat 9: Nat Young (USA) v. Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW)

Freddy Patacchia opened the action with a throwaway one-pointer, but found some rhythm with his next wave. The Hawaiian goofy-footer made deliberate, low bottom turns up into vertical snaps, which earned him a 6.67.

Nat Young struggled to find his own rhythm at the heat's start. He took off on a handful of smaller waves that netted him fewer than five points each.

At the seven-minute mark, Patacchia used his priority status to take off on a set wave, but it took him too deep and filled in after just a couple of turns. Young, who needed a 7.67 to turn things around, took his time waiting for better options to roll through.

But when the heat ended, Young was still left lagging. His frustration was visible in his body language, as he made a fist and kicked at the water. For Patacchia, the heat was a triumphant follow-up to his high-scoring Round 2 heat.

Final Scores: Patacchia, Jr., 11.60 def. Young, 5.44

Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS) v. Kai Otton (AUS)

Reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning wasted little time unleashing his lightning-fast forehand attack on the J-Bay racetrack, belting an 8.50 on his opening ride against Kai Otton.

Otton fought back with an explosive backhand attack of his own, with a 7.00 to get back in the heat. But Fanning continued his tear, bashing an additional 7.33 and 7.83, and securing a spot in Round 4.

"I just didn't stop catching waves," Fanning said. "That's the way you want to have heats, really."

Final Scores: Fanning, 16.33 def. Otton, 10.27

Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF) v. C.J. Hobgood (USA)

Up against the event favorite, C.J. Hobgood went on the attack immediately, notching a mid-range five-pointer just after the horn. A short ride gave him an early two-wave total of 9.50.

Jordy Smith, whose Round 1 heroics still stood as the highest heat total, was off to a surprisingly shaky start. After a kick-out throwaway, he looked to be regaining his rhythm with a string of in-form carves but an over-extended layback left the ride incomplete. Hobgood had improved his bottom score to a 7.00 with another smooth progression of turns which kept Smith, the two-time event winner, at bay. But Smith continued to fight his way back, this time accomplishing the layback hack to overtake the lead with an excellent 8.00 and 10 minutes on the clock.

A crucial exchange followed, with both surfers raising the bar: Smith turned up his rail game but lost his footing on the aerial. Hobgood was able to ice his progressive style with a clean, straight air, earning the better of the exchange and the lead. Smith was still in form, but continued to struggle with neat finishes and stayed a mid-range score out of reach. J-Bay claimed its second huge upset as the South African was eliminated.

Final Score: Hobgood, 14.00 def. Smith, 13.87

Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF) v. Alejo Muniz (BRA)

Alejo Muniz started Heat 12 with aggressive style, looking to get a jump on his higher-ranked opponent. Michel Bourez uncharacteristically fell on his first two rides, but made amends on his third, posting a 5.33 to move into the lead.

The pair traded scores in the three-to-five range with both surfers failing to capitalize on their opportunities. With four minutes on the clock Muniz dropped the biggest score, throwing fins on one of the better waves of the heat. With 20 seconds on the clock and no waves on the horizon, Bourez splashed the water in frustration, knowing he was out of the J-Bay Open with a 17th place finish. This was Muniz's first Round 4 qualification.

Final Scores: Muniz 11.60 def. Bourez 10.60

"I think maybe we weren't having the heat we were expecting but I'm happy to get through," Muniz said. "This is a big step for my career and my year so I'm happy to be doing well in J-Bay."

Round 4

Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Josh Kerr (AUS), Taj Burrow (AUS)

With renewed energy in the water and plenty sets out the back, the all-Aussie, all-natural-footer affair opened with a flurry of activity. Sitting higher up the point, Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow and Josh Kerr took advantage of the long rides that make J-Bay so adored. Parko, by seamlessly mixing rail-work and vertical snaps, bested the opening battle thanks to a 7.67 on his second wave. Still, at the heat's midpoint, only a six-pointer separated third and first place.

After a long lull, the action got going up again in the last five minutes of the heat. Both Burrow and Kerr pushed the limits of the oncoming sets but couldn't ride out cleanly. Parkinson, in contrast, stayed true to form, matching his opening keeper with an excellent 8.77 with the clock winding down. Having ridden a total of three waves in the non-elimination round, he advanced to the Quarterfinals.

Final Scores: Parkinson 16.44, Kerr 8.47, Burrow, 8.40

Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)

A lethal Matt Wilkinson came exploding out of the gate, aggressively tagging a long wave to collect a 7.67.

Kolohe Andino answered with a combination of airs and carves to match Wilkinson's score, and momentarily take back the lead.

While Adriano De Souza struggled to break the 5-point barrier, Wilkinson followed up his strongest wave to claim back the lead and apply pressure on his opponents.

Final Scores: Wilkinson 14.34, Andino 12.17, De Souza 10.37

Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Owen Wright (AUS), Freddy Patacchia Jr.

Three goofy-footers took to the water, with Gabriel Medina donning the coveted yellow jersey and snagging scores in the opening minute with a one and a four. Owen Wright also started with a one, but Freddy Patacchia Jr. waited for the right wave and unloaded back-to-back-to-back explosive turns to net an 8.17.

Wright also lit up Supertubes with searing, smooth carves to just edge out Freddy and register a 8.67. He backed that up with a six and moved into the lead, followed closely by two of the most in-form surfers of the event so far.

Final Scores: Wright 15.60, Medina 13.76, Patacchia 13.70

Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Alejo Muniz (BRA)

With the sun setting over Jeffreys Bay, the sea seemed sleepy for the final heat of Round 4. The first solid set came at the 20-minute mark, each surfer attempting to build carves on the softening waves. Alejo Muniz covered the most ground, to earn a 7.00 and best reigning World Champion Mick Fanning. The score also topped an in-form C.J. Hobgood, who was coming off a tremendous Round 3 upset where he eliminated two-time event winner Jordy Smith (ZAF).

With the tide rolling in, scoring potential was scarce and surfers stayed patient for the arrival of the small bumps moving in from the horizon. When they finally arrived, it was the three-time World Champion who capitalized, riding the open face with polished rail-to-rail riding to overtake Muniz. The Brazilian would not go down quietly, taking the second wave of the set. He executed a number of radical carves on an increasingly soft face. With the surfers well out of the water, scores came up in Muniz's favor.

Final Scores: Muniz 12.57, Fanning 12.40, Hobgood 5.73

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