Three men enter, one man leaves.
The South Africans lost Matt McGillivray on day one of the Corona Open JBay to the Jeep Leaderboard leader Julian Wilson. Matt, from JBay, was awarded the wildcard for being the highest placed South African surfer on the International WQS ratings. He came up against Parko and Wilson in round one, and then when Parko won that heat it left him up against Wilson in round two, in which the Jeep Leaderboard leader Wilson took the win. Matty needed one more big move to sneak the win from Wilson, but despite two massive rotor attempts on the bricks, which were both unsuccessful, he didn’t pull it off and was eliminated. No shame, the kid surfed with strength and energy and did not seem in any way intimidated by the best surfers in the world.
Mikey February befell a similar fate. Up against Ace Buchan on his backhand, the lanky South African natural-footer from Cape Town did his utmost including a clean air reverse on a set wave, but Ace had his number, and February didn’t get it together for a come-back, and bowed out of the tournament. February has had a good run, and he showed the flair that he knows from endless sessions at Supers on all of his trips through the years, but was left needing a mere 6.84 for the win.
Jordy Smith, however, saved the day. Up against Kelly Slater, Jordy showed the cool and calm demeanour that comes from years of relentless competing at CT level, and he was looking relaxed yet confident. The North westerly was still puffing throughout their heat, and some of the sets were difficult to ride with all the chatter. Kelly blew one wave near the beginning, but definitely wasn’t showing any sort of hunger in his approach. He didn’t surf badly, in fact he surfed a great heat, but wasn’t too desperate or hungry, cruising around, pulling into barrels that weren’t going to open, and generally not looking too stressed about anything. He has stated that he wants to spend the rest of the year getting fit, so that he can be in his best form for his final year on tour next year.
Jordy went on to beat Tomas Hermes in their round three encounter, and is looking good for another big result at his favourite wave in the world.