Highlights from the ASP J-Bay Open
"It's great to have this contest back," said Mick Fanning after being crowned J-Bay Open champ. After falling off the ASP schedule in recent years, the event at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, was on again this year. Defending world champ Fanning took full advantage.
While Joel Parkinson has beat Mick Fanning in more head-to-head heats over their careers, Parko does seem to suffer from the curse of second place. One of most the in-form surfers throughout the contest, like so many events last year, he was unable to take that extra step and beat his old mate Fanning in the final.
Taking full advantage of all the opportunities the wave at Jeffreys afforded him. Between big, open-face carves Fanning was able to find the tube to give him the extra points needed to take out Parko.
In the semifinals Parko appeared unstoppable, posting a 10 and an 8.83, but for some reason her couldn't find the waves he needed in the final and ran out of gas.
Surfing against his old rival Mark Occhilupo in an expression session, Tom Curren posted a perfect 10-point score and proved once again that there's still nobody better at J-Bay than Curren.
Matt Wilkinson blazed his way into the semifinals, where Parkinson put a stop to his run. Even with a 9.77 in his scoreline, he was unable to find a second score to carry him. Of course, Parko had a perfect 10 in the heat, which is hard to beat.
Recovered from a long back injury, Owen Wright posted the best result of this 2014 season, finishing in third place.
Every contest somebody puts in a surprise performance. In the case of the JBay Open it was Alejo Muniz. Finishing fifth, his committed, powerful approach garnered a lot of attention
A lot of people questioned how ratings front-runner Gabriel Medina would do at JBay, a wave he'd never surfed before. Making it all the way to the quarterfinals, it would appear it did alright for himself. He still leads the ASP World Title hunt.
A few years ago CJ Hobgood and his brother hired a coach, Chris Gallagher Stone, to help guild them at right points. In bushwacker mode, Hobgood continues to retain and capitalize on those lessons.
Freddy Patacchia might be the best surfer on tour with the worst results. This year just hasn't gone his way. But things may have swung in his direction in J-Bay, where besides catching a fin to the face, he came away with a result he could finally be proud of.
Jeffreys Bay, South Africa
Why was everybody so happy to see J-Bay back on the schedule this year? This is why.
As his results improve so does his confidence. Kolohe Andino is flying sky high these days. And this slob grab, the air of the contest, should have been scored way higher.
Everything was going Jordy Smith's way, until it wasn't. Crushing his Round 1 heat, he was a completely different surfer when he bombed out of Round 3.
Nobody expected Kelly Slater to fall out of the event in Round 3, but he did, and spent the rest of his time in South Africa visiting game reserves and learning about the plight of the endangered rhino. Time well spent, but maybe not what he would have preferred to be doing.
Ranked number two going into the J-Bay Open, Michel Bourez really could have used a good result. But it was not to be, and now he finds himself in an uphill battle if he wants to contend for the title at the end of the year.
Lets hear it for the goofy-footers. Along with Patacchia, Hobgood and Medina, Owen Wright represented the screw foots well.
John John Florence
Losing in the early days of the contest, John John Florence is finding rhythm illusive this year. Which is too bad because he sure is fun to watch. A few more years of experience in South Africa will serve him well.