Jeffreys Bay - Perfect three to four-foot Supertubes conditions greeted
contestants this morning for the opening day of the Jeffreys Bay Open Of
Surfing presented by Billabong, and the contest director sent the first heat
into the water wth no hesitation. The perfect waves translated into some
high performance surfing throughout the day, including some massive air
moves and a few incredible barrels.
Smaller surf combined with the low tide, saw some shifty conditons at times,
with a few prominent surfers finding themselves short of waves and out of
the competition after the first three rounds. Twiggy Baker was the first
upset of the day, getting eliminated from the first heat of the day in good,
pulsing conditions, and Gavin Rudolph, the oldest surfer in the event at
60-years-old, was eliminated in heat 3.
Regular Jeffreys Bay surfer Dylan Stone from Port Elizabeth was another
surprise elimination from the event, despite showing some excellent form on
a few waves. Steven Sawyer, Jason Ribink and Craig Els all followed suit and
were knocked out of the event. Number one seed Sean Holmes was another one
who struggled to find high scoring waves and was eliminated from the contest
in his round of 32 heat.
One surfer who really impressed the judges during a long day of competition
was St Francis Bay local and WQS campaigner Dale Staples, who performed some
critical moves on the fast Supertubes wall to win his heat and advance to
the quarters. Current SA Champ Casey Grant along with Brandon Jackson were
two other surfers who excelled, along with Slade Prestwich, and will also be
surfing in the quarter finals when next the contest resumes. Another surfer
who advanced through to the quarters was local surfer Dylan Lightfoot, who
advanced in second place along with Greg Emslie. "The waves were fast and
down-the-line out there, and you really need to find the ones with the
tapering walls," said Lightfoot. "I'm stoked to get through to the quarters
and there are some big names in the event, but they are going to be under
pressure and I'm not feeling any pressure at this stage and am just having
some fun out there."
Former winner at Jeffreys Bay and 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo from
Australia hit the water in the second last heat of the day, and whipped a
few big turns on his backhand as the tide started coming in. He advanced
through to the quarters along with Lewellyn Whittaker from Mossel Bay.
The leading contender for the Nixon WTA Best Tube Ride Award of a R9000
Nixon Magnacon Watch is Allan Johns for a long barrel across the Car Park
section that saw Allan score a 9-point ride.
MUSIC: Feel Good - Dorian Broekhuyse