Words: Jazz Kuschke | Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar
Local favourite and defending champion Jordy Smith was the big story of day one of the JBay Open. Smith put together the highest heat score of round one by posting 19.80 out of a possible 20 for his two-wave total. Smith’s performance was nothing short of a class act in local knowledge, flawless technique and supreme confidence.
Smith won back-to-back in 2010 and 2011, which was the last time the elite World Tour visited the storied waves of Jeffreys Bay, which technically puts him in line for a hat trick.
“There’s just no better way to start the contest than to make a statement,” said a visibly stoked Smith after the heat. “To get the best waves and post the best scores…”
Unfortunately 19-year-old local wildcard Dylan Lightfoot was eliminated by current ratings leader Gabriel Medina from Brazil. Lightfoot, who gained passage into the event by winning the JBU Supertrial presented by RVCA about two weeks ago didn’t go out without a fight though and put on a great show in his backyard. “Before the heat I felt a bit nervous but as we paddled out it all just kind of fell away,” he said post heat. No doubt a great experience for the young surfer and you just know this won’t be the last the World Tour sees of him.
The JBay Open forms part of the JBay Winterfest and today was the first day of the 12-day waiting period. The event needs more or less four full days to complete its 52 heats, currently the forecast does not look great, but according to Director of Surfing, Eric Stedman, there could be contestable waves tomorrow (Friday) and then there will be another pulse of swell on Monday.
Follow the event live at http://www.aspworldtour.com/events/2014/mct/674/j-bay-open?roundId=4270 and stay up to date on all the other JBay Winterfest happenings at http://www.jbaywinterfest.com/