Date: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Schedule: Round 2 (Heats 5-12)
Conditions: 3-5-foot (0.9-to-1.2-metre) faces at Supertubes
Day 1 Recap
Heat 5: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.93 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.70
In the all-Aussie affair, Bede Durbidge took an early lead, jumping on a long righthander and throwing a couple of strong hacks for a midrange 5.00. Matt Wilkinson set a slower pace, taking advantage of the extended 35-minute heat by remaining selective.
With 10 minutes off the clock, Wilko took off, unleashing carves and a quick floater before getting behind the wave. The resulting 3.50 was less than stellar but helped to get his rhythm started. On the next set, Wilkinson managed six clean turns and a smooth drift for a 7.00 and the lead with 20 minutes to go.
After a five-minute lull, a quick exchange saw both surfers improve their situations. Durbidge worked his forehand maneuvers for a 7.50 but Wilko rode the better wave of the set, completing a string of flawless carves for an 8.50, leaving his opponent in need of a score in the excellent range.
With fewer than two minutes on the clock, the Durbidge found the opportunity he was looking for, showing a variety of maneuvers capped off with a strong stomp off a floater. But the score came in just shy of what was needed; Wilkinson survives elimination.
"I was in the perfect spot for that one," Wilkinson said of his high-scoring wave. "I knew if I hit all the sections solidly I'd end up with a massive score and I did. It felt really good."
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.07 def. Dion Atkinson (AUS) 9.87
Owen Wright kicked things off with a modest ride, scoring a 5.67. Dion Atkinson, meanwhile, sat patiently through a lull. When the next set rolled in, Wright was off again, letting his tail drift for some style in his turns, and launching a floater for a bookend to his ride. Atkinson followed suit with a fast charge down the line, but couldn't quite get ahead of lip, and quickly paddled back out in a battle for priority.
With just 6:30 left on the clock, Atkinson needed 7.20 to edge past Wright. The sets continued to have long lulls, but Atkinson tried to make the most of clean tubes when they finally arrived. On a last-ditch effort, Atkinson took off on a set wave, making deep bottom turns and sharp snaps with a renewed energy. The ride earned him a 5.0 for a two-wave total of 9.87, but it wasn't enough to top Wright.
"It was a bit slow that one and I think that's just how it's going to go until that tide turns," Wright said. "When they come through they're such good waves. They're perfect."
Heat 7: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.83 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 7.93
The start of Heat 7 saw Brazilian pair and Hurley stablemates Filipe Toledo and Alejo Muniz battle for inside position. While Muniz won out, it was Toledo who waited and got the better of the opening exchange.
The pair exchanged small scores with tube rides and rail carves, but both took some time to post any scores in the good-to-excellent range. Muniz was the first to put together a complete ride, ripping and carving his way down the point to snag a 6.00 and take first position.
As the clock wound down Toledo had only two waves in his tally and was chasing a 6.83 to steal the lead. At the two-minute mark he rolled the dice on a smaller wave and unloaded swooping carves and hooks, but the score fell short and Muniz took the win.
"I kept getting medium size waves and do my best and it paid off," Muniz said. "Not many Brazilians are on tour and we support each other so it's hard, but everyone needs to do their own job. I'm really focused on this event and I want to get good results."
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 14.17 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.90
An immediate exchange after the horn saw both surfers in aggressive form. C.J. Hobgood on his backhand worked high vertical snaps while Tiago Pires used a high line with a variety of maneuvers, gaining a slight edge over the American with an 8.50 two-wave total in the early minutes of the heat.
The second flurry of activity saw smaller sets with faster closeouts. While Pires used progression on shorter runs, Hobgood upped his style, staying high on the lip to keep pace with the speed of the wave. Out of the exchange, Hobgood was awarded the higher score -- a 6.50 -- and a lead change with 18 minutes on the clock.
The latter half was a seesaw scenario. Pires was able to capitalize on the forehand-friendly pointbreak and to produce bottom-to-top carves with fins-out vertical snaps for an excellent 8.17. Hobgood answered with huge carves and a tight tube ride on the first wave of the next set. An awkward fall at the ride's end kept the score out of the excellent range, but the 7.67 he netted was still enough to put him ahead of Pires. With scoring opportunities flattening out, the Floridian was able to escape the elimination round.
"It's been a couple months since I had a heat," Hobgood said. "I had Tiago in Fiji and he smoked me. I saw the other guys catching waves to get into rhythm so I just tried to cut a bunch of waves. Tiago was ripping so I'm stoked to make a heat."
Heat 9: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 16.37 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.93
With the tide rolling in and the waves flattening out, both competitors stayed active to increase scoring potential. Jadson Andre notched a 3.33 for a quick ride on a shallow wave. Miguel Pupo found the larger pick of the set, accomplishing a long series of smooth carves for a 6.67.
After 15 minutes, the Brazilians launched their respective barrel games. Showcasing a cleaner entry and exit, Pupo was able to extend his lead over his fellow countryman by bettering his bottom score to a 5.33. Confidence renewed, he followed up with a long run down a clean wave, combining vicious vertical snaps with speed floats and a bookend stomp for an 8.50. Pupo's two-wave total at the 14-minute mark put Andre in a combination situation.
Andre, working essentially with a clean slate, was able to replace one of his low scores with an excellent 8.40 for a determined run of carves and rails. Pupo, meanwhile, built on his momentum, ducking into a shallow barrel and polishing off two floaters for a 7.87. Andre still needed a big ride with five minutes to go. He was able to tag a wave on the final set of the heat, but was unable to match the score needed to avoid elimination.
“It’s my first time in J-Bay and I’ve already fallen in love with the place,” said Pupo. “It’s a special place for all the surfers because of the history over here. Hopefully I can come here every year. Monday’s conditions look pretty good, so hopefully we get barreled and put on a good show for the South Africans.”
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 13.67 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.53
As set waves fired through, the pair pulled out all the technical stops to make the most of the smaller waves. Their scores reflected the scale of things -- at the 20-minute mark, Flores with 7.50 versus Seabass's 6.17. Zietz continued to power into the weaker sets, but often the lip caught up to him, offering no exit.
With 15 minutes left, smaller but consistent sets rolled in, and suddenly the real competition had begun. Zietz and Flores took off on a succession of waves, each nabbing seven-pointers to up the tally. While the Frenchman put his power-surfing on display with a series of vertical hacks, his Hawaiian opponent was all style, adding flourishes in softer sets. But despite his relaxed, nimble approach, Zietz trailed throughout. That is, until the dying minutes of the heat.
In the final, tense moments, Zietz pulled into one of the biggest waves of the heat, scoring a much-needed 6.67. He won by a mere 0.14 points, knocking Flores out of the competition.
"I think it was a pretty fair heat," said Zietz. "(I was last here) three years ago, it was so good, I couldn't wait to come back. it's been a little smaller since then, but the waves are perfect. We're staying down the beach in front of the point, and I've been surfing my brains out."
Heat 11: Freddy Patacchia (HAW) 17.93 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.67
Patacchia then pounced on a perfect Supertubes runner, unleashed three monster under-the-lip hacks, and pulled into a long, dredging tube. He came flying out with the spit to earn the highest wave score of the day--9.93. Logie was left searching for two scores.
Logie used his trademark speed and power to muscle his way out of the combo, clocking a 7.17, and needing a 7.44 minimum for a second wave. But Patacchia found another bomb and tore it apart to clock an 8.00, and put Logie back in a combination situation.
Patacchia's 17.93 is the second highest heat total of the J-Bay Open, second only to event favorite Jordy Smith (ZAF).
"I knew that wave was going to be a gem," Patacchia said. "I was thinking -- 'don't screw this up Freddy.' It felt great, it was a perfect J-Bay wave."
Heat 12: Adrian Buchan (AUS) v. Mitch Crews (AUS)
Crews caught a couple of small runners but fell off just as he got going, while Buchan waited for a better pick. The patience paid off as a bigger set wave came through and Buchan was ready, smashing and bashing his way to a 6.77.
Buchan takes the win in the all-Australian, evenly matched affair. Although he was born and bred on the NSW Central Coast, he can claim some hometown advantage here at the J-Bay Open, as both of his parents are South African-born.