Smith gets highest scores in Round 1

South Africa’s Jordy Smith literally flew to victory in Round 1 - Photo Karen/ Billabong

South Africans, Jordy Smith and Sean Holmes, set the pace in the first Round at Supertubes today, while St Francis Bay’s local wildcard Shaun Payne lost to Brazilian Alejo Muniz.

In Round 2 Payne is  lined up to go against Kelly Slater, who is still to return from Fiji.

 Smith achieved the top scores in Round 1 held in inconsistent, but contestable one to 1.3 metre (3-4 foot) waves and light variable winds at Supertubes.  Competing in what turned out to be the heat of the day, the No. 2 seed looked calm, confident and composed while leading for the first 15 minutes of the 30 minute encounter.

 Then last year’s runner-up Adam Melling (AUS) and ‘uber-wildcard’ Holmes (Cape Town) briefly overtook him with rides in the seven point range. Smith regained control at the 10 minute mark, punting a huge aerial manoeuvre, blending in several speed moves and then finishing with a close-out air which he landed smoothly to earn 9.0 out of 10, the highest scoring ride of the day.

With his opponents  needing just mid-range seven point rides to grab the heat victory and passage directly into Round 3, Smith caught a smaller wave and again unleashed his gravity defying progressive repertoire to rack up 7.87 points with two manoeuvres in just 30 metres, leaving Holmes and Melling needing 8.95 and 9.37 respectively which they ultimately could not find.

“I don’t really feel the pressure to perform,” Smith said. “I’ve got my little program here with my friends and I’m just focusing on getting waves and surfing well. I’m happy to be through to Round 3.

“Holmes is  a competent surfer at Jeffreys and Melling was runner-up here last year so I definitely wasn’t taking the heat lightly,” Smith added. “They got really good waves and I had to make do with what was left. It’s not classic J-Bay, but even when it’s like this, it’s still a pretty good wave.”

The next heat got underway without top seed and reigning 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Salter (USA) who was reportedly on his way to J-Bay from Fiji where he has been taking advantage of an epic swell for the past couple of days. Later in the day, reports from Slater’s twitter account placed him still on the South Pacific island.

 Others who produced sparkling Round 1 performances included dual ASP World Champ and two-time J-Bay winner Mick Fanning who recorded an 8.33, the second highest ride of the day, in a blitzing performance in this morning’s clean conditions, and Hawaiian Dusty Payne who earned the second highest heat total of 16.03 while relegating Michel Bourez (PYF) and Patrick Gudauskas (USA) to Round 2.

 “There were definitely some fun waves out there,” Fanning said. “It’s great to put the jersey back on and mix it up with the boys. Board feels good and I’m happy to be straight through to Round 3. Hope we can get some solid swell out there for the competition.”

 Julian Wilson (AUS), 22, in his first showing at the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, led the Round 1 rookie charge, posting an impressive 14.10 out of a possible 20 to best veterans Taylor Knox (USA), 40, and Damien Hobgood (USA), 31.  

 “It was a slow heat out there and I guess that’s how it is at J-Bay sometimes,” Wilson said. “You only get two or three opportunities to make it a good heat for yourself so you need to make sure you make the most of them. This is my first time to Jeffreys and only my third surf out there.”

 Like Slater, Bobby Martinez (USA), 29, failed to show for today’s Round 1 of competition. Should either surfer fail to show for Round 2, they will be replaced under the new ASP ruling. Durban’s Travis Logie, a former five year veteran of the ASP World Tour, is the official first reserve and will take the place of either of the Americans. Fellow South African Shaun Joubert (Mossel Bay), currently ranked No. 67 and runner-up in yesterday’s VZ Superheat, is on standby to take his place in the main event if both don’t show.

 Surfline, the official surf forecasters for the Billabong Pro J-Bay 2011, foresee the swell dropping slightly for Saturday before getting bigger again on Sunday. The event organisers will meet at 7am tomorrow for a possible 7.30 am start to Round 2.

Round 1 Results:

H1: Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.04, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 6.66, Cory Lopez (USA) 6.60

H2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.10, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.17, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.67

H3: Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.90, Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.0, Gabe Kling (USA) 8.13

H4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.73, Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.17, Bobby Martinez (USA) 0.00

H5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.87, Sean Holmes (ZAF) 14.93, Adam Melling (AUS) 14.57

H6: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.77, Shaun Payne (ZAF) 7.46, Kelly Slater (USA) 0.00

H7: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.50, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.50, Chris Davidson (AUS) 4.73

H8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.70, Owen Wright (AUS) 8.43, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 7.56

H9: Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.70, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.80, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 7.73

H10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.10, Taylor Knox (USA) 10.46, Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.70

H11: Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.03, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.10, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.77

H12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.66, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.87, Brett Simpson (USA) 7.60

Round 2 Match Ups:

H1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Shaun Payne (ZAF)

H2: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Sean Holmes (ZAF)

H3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)

H4: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Gabe Kling (USA)

H5: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)

H6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)

H7: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)

H8: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)

H9: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)

H10: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)

H11: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)

H12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Chris Davidson (AUS)