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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Wed, 12 July 2017

Jordy Smith and Michael February have been drawn in the same Round 1 heat of the Corona Open J-Bay as the event window opened today. A lay day has been called until some swell arrives.

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THAT TIME: J-Bay is abuzz with visiting surfers of all cultures. Last year. Photo WSL / Cestari

Two-time event winner and the sole South African on the Championship Tour Smith will battle Conner Coffin (USA) and February who got the wildcard berth after an amazing result in the Ballito Pro, which was won by Smith. Atleast whoever comes third in the three-man heat gets to surf again in the Round 2 knockout while the two winners move directly to Round 3.

The other South African in the event Dale Staples also joins the WSL Top 34 after winning another wildcard through the JBU Supertrial held last month. Staples must surf against John John Florence (HAW) and Ian Gouveia (BRA) in the opening round.

There is no competition at J-Bay today (although the pros have been shredding a few warm-up chest-high walls. However, things look up slightly to 3' or 4' on Friday afternoon, and then a storm brings new swell late on the weekennd and into next week. At this stage, looks like enough swell.

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ICONIC VIEW: Adriano de Souza pulls into a nuggety barrel at Supers. Photo WSL / Cestari

The event window for #6 on the WSL Championship Tour runs from today until July 23. "There's some fun little waves out there in the chest to head-high range, though the swell is kind of a short period today," said WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow. "It lacks a little bit of energy and the wind is forecasted to go onshore so we won't run any heats today. We have a great looking forecast so we're going to make the most of that."

When the event gets underway, the season’s battle for the WSL Championship resumes, with the top five athletes on the Jeep Leaderboard separated by only 600 points.

Current #1 Matt Wilkinson (AUS) returns wearing the Jeep Leader Jersey at J-Bay for the second season running after his win in Fiji and will match up against Jeremy Flores (FRA) and Ethan Ewing (AUS) in Round 1.

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FANNING FITS IN: Mick is one of the best at Supers. Discount at your peril. Photo WSL / Cestari

Reigning WSL Champion and 2016 event runner-up Florence sits just 250 points behind Wilkinson. Two-time event winner and 2012 WSL Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS) will be first to compete alongside Brazilians Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) and Miguel Pupo (BRA) in Round 1 Heat 1.

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. local time to assess conditions and make the next call.

For more information, check out www.WorldSurfLeague.com.

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GLASS CEILING: Wilko again comes to J-Bay wearing the leader's jersey. Photo WSL / Cestari

Round One Matchups
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Ethan Ewing (AUS)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Conner Coffin (USA), Michael February (ZAF)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW), Ian Gouveia (BRA), Dale Staples (ZAF)
Heat 7: Kolohe Andino (USA), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 9: Connor O’Leary (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 10: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Mick Fanning (AUS), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Ezekiel Lau (HAW)

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