World Surf League: 2018 Corona Open J-Bay Kicks Off at Jeffreys Bay
- The 6th stop on WSL Championship, 2018 Corona Open J-Bay kicked off at Jeffreys Bay, Eastern Cape in South Africa on July 2, 2018.
Reigning World Champion John John Florence (HAW) and Caio Ibelli (BRA) have officially withdrawn from the Corona Open J-Bay due to their ongoing injuries sustained earlier this season. Brazilian surfers Miguel Pupo and Wiggolly Dantas were their replacements.
11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (US) returned to the CT stage. He went to surgery his foot last year and canceled the 2018 season's event until the Corona Open J-Bay.
A sad news, Joel Parkinson (AUS) announced retirement from the Championship Tour at the end of the year. He won his first event 20 years ago at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.
"I love everything about it, but I just can't keep competing," he said in a video posted on the WSL website. "I have no more fire or desire to want to win, I just want to surf and enjoy it. It's not like I don't have fire in the belly - fire in the belly is always something you have as a surfer. You always love to surf and that part, good waves, bad waves, sometimes you just have an itch to surf and that will always be there. Putting the jersey on is just one thing I've had enough of."
Round 1 ran five-to-six foot (1.5 - 2 metre) conditions.
In Heat 3, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) took down a comeback Kelly Slater with 13.50. Kanoa Igarashi said, "This was a pretty big heat for me because last year I was in the same situation and Kelly smoked me, so I wanted to try and take him this time. To win over Kelly is always a huge honor."
Kelly Slater has to compete with a local hero Jordy Smith (ZAF) in Round 2
Defending Champion of this event, Filipe Toledo (BRA) earned a 9.17, the highest scoring wave of the day to overtake both Matt Wilkinson and Wiggolly Dantas in Heat 5. He advanced to directly Round 3.
"I love this wave," said Toledo. "Who doesn't? The waves aren't as big as they were last year right now but there's a few barrels on the inside. It's still good."
Corona Open J-Bay Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.93, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.17, Michael February (ZAF) 7.24
Heat 2: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.03, Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.67, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 6.66
Heat 3: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.50, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 11.94, Kelly Slater (USA) 8.73
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.83, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 9.20, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 6.93
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.84, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.14, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 10.67
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.10, Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.90, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 9.86
Heat 7: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.30, Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.76, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 11.06
Heat 8: Conner Coffin (USA) 16.14, Joan Duru (FRA) 15.67, Owen Wright (AUS) 12.73
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.87, Mikey Wright (AUS) 13.26, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 6.00
Heat 10: Yago Dora (BRA) 13.23, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.57, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 5.67
Heat 11: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 13.63, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 12.23, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.94
Heat 12: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.80, Connor O'Leary (AUS) 15.07, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 10.96
- source : World Surf League