Caroline Marks stormed into the Quarterfinals of the Corona Open J-Bay today, posting a heat total of 16.67 to defeat Paige Hareb. The 17-year-old's backhand is her most devastating weapon, as evidenced by her win at the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast at the beginning of the season, and she yet again unleashed her trademark aggression to post an 8.67 and 8.00.
"Occy and Luke Egan are my backside inspirations and Luke has won out here before," said Marks, who has enlisted Egan as her coach for this event. "He's been coming here since before I was alive and we've been surfing a lot together. He's been giving me so many lineup tips so it's rad to have him in my corner."
The overlapping heat format, which sees two heats run simultaneously, was introduced today for the first time in 2019 and seemed tailor made for J-Bay. With the swell increasing and the winds improving as the day wore on, the format allowed for more waves to be ridden and more heats to be completed. A win-win for both surfers and the huge crowds that lined the point.
That meant each surfer had 45 minutes in the J-Bay sun-drenched perfection. It allowed for 16 heats of the Round of 32 of the men's and six heats of the Round 16 of the women's to be finished. While 44 surfers each had an extended time in the lineup there was still time to run the Corona Highline heat before the sun dipped into the hinterland.
While Marks led the charge it was a case of the cream rising to the top with all the World Title contenders, of which there are at least six, progressing to the last eight. Jeep Leader Sally Fitzgibbons, Stephanie Gilmore and Carissa Moore, while not posting as big as numbers as Marks, all had relatively safe passage to the Quarterfinals. They could also be joined by Courtney Conlogue and Lakey Peterson, who are yet to surf their Round of 16 heats.
The day was largely free of major upsets as the extra time in the water and the pumping waves meant every surfer had the opportunity to showcase their full potential. As with the women's all the heavy hitters stomped their class on the ruled-edged lines.
Jordy Smith, despite surfing with a head wound after being hit by his board, Filipe Toledo, Kolohe Andino, Italo Ferreira, Kelly Slater and Gabriel Medina are all through to the Round of 16. It was only Julian Wilson, who was defeated by a Zeke Lau buzzer beater, of the top 10 surfers that suffered a loss.
"After an initial dodgy forecast the waves look really good now," said Slater after defeating Ciao Ibelli. "Today was great, but next week I think we'll be able to pick the eyes out if it. All the best surfers are still in the game. It should be an incredible finish."
Notable and Quotable From Day 3 of Corona Open J-Bay
- "Everyone is thinking about the vacant Jeep Leader jersey," said Kanoa Igarashi, after posting the highest heat total of the day to defeat Frederico Morais. "I hate when surfers say they don't know their position, because everyone does. I know I'm two heats behind Kolohe and when you have the numbers down, you know what you need to do and I like that."
"Every time I face Silvana I feel really nervous because she is so talented and we have had such a great rivalry throughout our careers," said Steph Gilmore, after defeating Silvana Lima in a tight contest. "She looks casual and relaxed, but she can throw the biggest scores in a heartbeat. I never felt comfortable at any point and I was so happy to get past her." The defending event winner will now face Caroline Marks in the Quarterfinals.
- "I was really angry. Not at Ciao, but at the judges," said Kelly Slater, despite earning a win over Ciao Ibelli. "I thought I was surfing pretty good, but I was getting nothing for the waves. I don't know what I have to do to get a score over six, but I better work it out soon."