Toledo and Peterson Take J-Bay
Reigning World Champion Filipe Toledo (BRA) and CT veteran Lakey Peterson have won the Corona Open J-Bay in clean inconsistent 2-5ft surf at Supers today.
Peterson answered the standard set by Molly Picklum (AUS) and upped the ante with an excellent 8.50 to solidify her first win of the 2023 season. Peterson now moves to No. 6 ahead of the final stop of 2023. Piklum has had a brilliant run at the event, cementing her status as a fast learner and a major talent for the future.
Toledo was sublime as he attacked the final with explosive alacrity, and despite his insane run this year, reigning event winner Ewing was left in Toledo's wake. It is Toledo's third win of 2023, and third J-Bay victory, and he currently stands at World #1 with one event to go - the Shiseido Tahiti Pro - before the Rip Curl WSL Final 5 at Lower Trestles.
Key runner-up finishes for Ewing and Picklum have clinched their Final 5 spots as have Griffin Colapinto and Caroline Marks. Ewing remains undefeated over 3x World Champ Gabriel Medina in 2023 as he secures back-to-back Finals Appearances at J-Bay.
It wasn't a superlative event for the three South African men yesterday. Wildcard Adin Masencamp was eliminated by Ewing. J-Bay local Matthew McGillivray fought tooth and nail for a spot into the Round of 16 against Barron Mamiya (HAW) but his final effort came just 0.11 shy of the requirement.
Two-time event winner Jordy Smith advanced through his morning Elimination Round heat with a brilliant display of rail surfing on a wave he knows better than most, but couldn’t keep the ball rolling against Ewing later in the day and bowed out in equal ninth. Sarah Baum was the last South African athlete to fall, when she came unstuck today against Carissa Moore (HAW) in the Quarterfinals. Moore was looking like a contender until she fell to Piklum in the semi-finals today.
Yesterday, due to concerns about running out of good conditions before the window period ended, the event completed a mammoth day of competition. The day saw two heats of the women’s Opening Round completed, the men’s and women’s Elimination Rounds as well as the men’s Round of 16 to decide the event’s Quarterfinalists. which accounted for a whopping 22 heats in the bag on one day.
Yesterday, Toledo racked up an impressive 17.56 heat total to advance ahead of rookie Rio Waida (INA) into the Quarters. With a guaranteed equal fifth place, Toledo has officially clinched his spot in the WSL Final 5 for an opportunity to defend his world title at the Rip Curl WSL Finals at Trestles in September.
In other big news yesteday, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) provisionally qualified through the WSL CT to represent his country at the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Fioravanti’s ninth-place finish at the Corona Open J-Bay ensures he will be one of the 18 surfers to provisionally qualify through the WSL CT.
The 25-year-old, currently ranked ninth in the world, will represent his country in the Olympics for a second time. He competed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as an injury replacement for Jordy Smith .
Moore faced a challenging Elimination Round battle yesterday against Johanne Defay (FRA) and came out triumphant despite complicated circumstances. After a good start, the Hawaiian fell on a set wave and broke her board, forced to swim in over the rocks before running up the point where new equipment was waiting.
Moore wasted no time to regain her composure and found a clean wall to slice through with her powerful carves to post an excellent 8.50 and take the lead. She then closed the door on Defay with another spectacular combination of turns in the lip to seal her Quarterfinal berth.
Former event winner Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) defeated in-form Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) in a must-make Elimination Round heat. They are tied 6th on the rankings just outside the WSL Final 5. Despite the Brazilian’s highest-scoring ride of 8.00, Gilmore’s impeccable flow and technique built up to a higher heat total of 14.37.
One of only three rookies to make the mid-season Cut, Hawaii’s Ian Gentil (HAW) has been blitzing through the field in his debut. Growing in Honolua Bay, Gentil’s style suits Supers. He defeated former world champion Italo Ferreira (BRA) in the Elimination Round and World No. 2 Griffin Colapinto (USA) to reach the Quarters, where he was defeated by Medina.