Date: Saturday, July 19, 2014
Schedule: Round 5 (Heats 1-4), Quarterfinals, Semifinals
Conditions: Double overhead surf at Supertubes
Heat 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) v. Adriano De Souza (BRA)
Adriano De Souza was the first to ride the long, clean, peeling right with a series of smooth cutbacks for a 4.00. A missed barrel by Josh Kerr gave De Souza the early lead. De Souza found two barrels on a ride with style from Supers to Impossibles, extending his lead with a 10.33 two-wave total at the 25-minute mark.
Scores on the next set gave the nod to the Aussie, who stalled in the white water before ducking into a tight tube for a midrange five at the midway point. The score brought Kerr an average ride away from overtaking the lead.
The final two waves rolled through with 30 seconds left. Neither surfer was able to finish cleanly and De Souza's proficiency early on keeps him in the running for the J-Bay title.
"I was really excited because I've been watching this forecast the last few days," said De Souza. "As soon as I woke up this morning, I saw beautiful waves, beautiful lines, because this is J-Bay. Every competitor in the world has [luck sometimes], today was my lucky day."
Final Scores: De Souza 10.33 def. Kerr 9.04
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) v. Taj Burrow (AUS)
Taj Burrow took the first bomb of the heat, biding his time until he found the barrel. The wave won him a seven-pointer, giving him the early lead. Kolohe Andino finally found his rhythm on his third ride when he tucked into the tube, bringing his two-wave total to a 7.34.
At the halfway mark, Burrow still had a solid lead with Andino hunting down an 8.66. The California kid found cover on his next ride, driving down the line, tucking and turning at speed. His maneuvers scored him a 5.17, incrementally narrowing the gap.
The final moments saw Andino, still needing a 7.66, take off down a last face. The whitewater quickly caught up, though, leaving him eliminated at the buzzer.
Final Scores: Burrow 12.83 def. Andino 9.34
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) v. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
The pulsing swell proved to be a challenge for both the Brazilian and the American. With 15 minutes shaved off of the clock, neither surfer had posted a highlight score. Medina had added a 6.17 to his tally while Hobgood notched a 5.00 of his own.
The Floridian eventually locked into a bombing set, connecting an outside turn, a clean backhand barrel, and an additional carve. But an uncharacteristic slip on his next maneuver saw his score fall just shy of the number needed to surpass Medina.
Hobgood continued to scour the lineup in search of the meager 5.25 needed to overtake the lead, but was unable to find the score, securing Medina's spot in the quarterfinals.
"Trying to hold it together," Hobgood reflected. "It was a huge opportunity for me. Apples to apples, I felt like I needed a special wave, but I don't think that was the case. Sometimes I have trouble finishing waves out here. But the flip side is, the waves are pumping, I'm a fan of surfing, and I'm grateful to be here."
Final Scores: Medina 11.17 def. Hobgood 11.10
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) v. Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW)
The opening minutes of Heat 4 saw the ocean provide pulsing sets to give both Mick Fanning and Freddy Patacchia Jr. opportunities to score. Fanning's polished forehand attack was rewarded with a 7.50 to take an early lead. Patacchia's wave selection was a little off but the powerful Hawaiian started to build momentum, going vertical on a few huge waves.
Fanning found his second big score at the 20-minute mark, adjusting his approach to draw big carves on the outside, and tuck into a clean barrel to complete the ride.
Halfway through the heat, Fanning had a solid 15.67 total, which sent Patacchia chasing two new scores. Unfortunately the second half of the bout didn't provide many opportunities, and the final tally remained unchanged.
"This is what we live for, epic J-Bay," Fanning said. "For me surfing out there is just having fun. I was trying to channel a bit of Tom Curren from the Search days."
Final Scores: Fanning 15.67 def. Patacchia Jr. 8.13
QF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) v. Adriano De Souza (BRA)
With the swell well overhead and long lines to work with, Joel Parkinson and Adriano De Souza traded trial runs at the waves on offer. Parkinson posted the first significant score, a 6.83, for polished forehand carves and a quick tube ride.
De Souza sat patiently at the back, finally jumping on his second wave with nearly 20 minutes off the clock. A couple of vertical snaps and a sharp brake to find cover garnered the Brazilian a 5.83 and a lead change.
But a quick exchange at the 10-minute mark went the way of the Aussie: Parko worked his classic rail game and textbook carves for a 7.67, forcing De Souza to hunt down an excellent score to regain the lead. The Brazilian struggled to finish cleanly. His final effort was derailed when the wave softened beneath him.
Final Scores: Parkinson 14.50 def. De Souza 9.46
QF 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) v. Taj Burrow (AUS)
Wilkinson took the first wave of the heat, working his backhand to earn a 6.17 and take the early lead. Burrow, who's currently No. 5 in the rankings, followed suit but went down on his first attempt.
Looking to top a .73, Wilko went on the attack, connecting a series of flawless turns but falling off the back on his fourth hack. The final moment didn't matter to the judges -- he scored the first 9.00 of the Quarters, netting a two-wave total of 15.17, and leaving Burrow in a combo situation at the 20-minute mark.
But Burrow wasn't out of the heat yet: His next wave saw him get a stand-up barrel netting a 9.27, and closing the gap a bit. At the halfway mark, he needed 7.90 to top his goofy-footed opponent. The next 15 minutes wouldn't find him ahead again; with five minutes left on the clock, Wilko was still in the lead by just .73 of a point. In a final, nail-biter of a minute, he used his priority and kept Burrow from netting another score.
In his best WCT finish of the season, Wilkinson went on to the Semis.
Final Scores: Wilkinson 17.83 def. Burrow 16.44
QF 3: Owen Wright (AUS) v. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Powerhouse Owen Wright battled prodigy Gabriel Medina next, and the Australian immediately found his rhythm, belting the J-Bay racetrack for a 5.33 and 7.00 to start, and leaving Medina in a combination situation.
Medina fought like a caged lion to break the combo, hunting the J-Bay lineup with urgency and eventually finding a 5.33. Wright maintained pace, unloading big backhand turns to strengthen his lead with an 8.17.
Wright did not let up, carving up a series of backside turns punctuated by a committed tube ride. Wright snatched up a 9.23 for his efforts, placing Medina back in combination with just three minutes remaining.
Final Scores: Wright 17.40 def. Medina 16.07
QF 4: Alejo Muniz (BRA) v. Mick Fanning (AUS)
Alejo Muniz was quick to take action, putting together a good wave to start building his scoreboard. Mick Fanning answered with a clinical approach to dismantle his third wave and net an impressive 8.33. The three-time World Champion backed it up with an average score, to apply pressure on his opponent.
Midway through, Muniz was still in the runner-up spot, needing a high seven-pointer to get back in pole position. Despite many efforts from the young Brazilian, Fanning managed his lead perfectly and kept improving his situation, making Muniz's job even harder.
Final Scores: Fanning 16.66 def. Muniz 9.67
SF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) v. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Parkinson opened the heat with signature power-carves to get the energy going, and scored a 6.0. His next wave put him even further ahead: The Tour veteran and 2009 J-Bay champ showed off sweeping turns to earn an 8.83.
With just seven minutes left on the clock, Wilkinson needed two new waves to make up the score gap. Still Parko pressed on, using his priority to drop into a medium-sized wave, and managed to get some wave cover twice, to cheers from the beach. The performance scored him a Perfect 10.
Wilkinson, though, didn't fold. He fired back with a series of aggressive snaps, finishing with a double-arm claim. The wave earned him a 9.77. When it was all over, Parko took the win but his fellow Aussie had staked solid footing, despite elimination from J-Bay.
Final Scores: Parkinson 18.83 def. Wilkinson 15.54
SF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) v. Mick Fanning (AUS)
Wright took off early with a series of whipping backside snaps to keep up his momentum from the Quarterfinals. While he took a spill on the bumpy face, the reigning World Champ got pinched in a barrel on his first attempt, giving Wright the early lead.
Fanning earned the first score of good measure, however, maximizing the potential of a midsize wave with a grab-rail draw off the bottom and ducking for just enough cover to show his polished skills at Supertubes, earning a 7.17. A follow up eight-point ride with classic carves and solid vertical climbs put Wright in a combo situation with 12 minutes left.
Wright replaced one of his scores immediately, answering with a series of vertical snaps for a 7.23. But Fanning was up again throwing together casual cutbacks with seamless transitions for an excellent 9.00. Wright was out of combination but needed a near-perfect score with three minutes left. Under a minute, Wright took off on his final ride but lagged behind the section, leaving Fanning to battle Parko for the title.
Final Scores: Fanning 17.00 def. Wright 12.50
Joel Parkinson (AUS) v. Mick Fanning (AUS)
Joel Parkinson (AUS) exploded out of the gates, catching a brilliant wave on the buzzer. On his way to a big score, though, he couldn't exit a tight barrel on the inside. Fanning on the very next wave found a double barrel and sweetened the ride with powerful carves, to post an excellent 9.00 and take an early lead.
Comfortably established in the lead, Fanning built momentum and started on a slightly smaller wave. The reigning World Champion navigated two hollow sections to post a second solid score. Parkinson wasted no time to react; he found a nice wave of his own to clock serious tube time and try to get back in the fight for the J-Bay trophy.
Halfway through the Final, Fanning with a 17.00 total had Parkinson on the ropes and needing two new waves to fight back.
The ocean delivered set after set for the culmination of the event, giving Parkinson and Fanning the perfect canvas to express their talent. The Cooly kids were visibly enjoying surfing one the world's best point breaks by themselves and kept pushing each other, raising the bar, wave after wave.
Despite a valiant effort, Parkinson was unable to find the near-perfect score he needed to get back in the lead. Left alone in the lineup in the final four minutes, Fanning savored his second event win of the season with a final wave, and a traditional soul-arch.
Final Scores: Fanning 17.00 def. Parkinson 13.60