Perfect Scores and Upsets Abound as Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay Cranks
High drama and excellent scores were the order of the day as rifling six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre) surf poured through South Africa’s most iconic lineup for Rounds 2 and 3 of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay.
Event No. 5 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay witnessed the ASP’s top seeds hit the water today, posting the highest scores of the event mixed in with some of the biggest upsets, all going down in what some are calling, “the best Jeffreys Bay ever.” Kelly Slater (USA), 37, reigning nine-time ASP World Champion and four-time past winner of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay (’96, ’03, ’05, ’08), put in an historic performance, netting four nine-point-plus rides in his Round 2 heat to collect the highest heat total of the event, an 18.84 out of a possible 20 (throwing away a 9.23 and a 9.00). “It was just unbelievable,” Slater said. “The waves were just pumping. I couldn't get back out there fast enough. It just kept barreling. I went all the way down through tubes and doggy-doored to the end, must've gotten like 4 or 5 barrels on that thing. It was a pretty sick wave. I don't know what else I could've done on it. I surfed it as hard as I could. I'm pretty happy. I had a really good heat – that's the best heat I've had this year by a mile.” Currently ranked 9th on the ASP World Tour ratings, Slater rebounded from three, consecutive 17ths to start the year with a win in Brazil last week before setting the bar today at the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay. Michel Bourez (PYF), 23, 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie, caused the upset of the event today, eliminating former ASP World Champion (2007) and two-time past winner of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay (’02, ’06), Mick Fanning (AUS), 28, from competition in their Round 2 bout. The heat would prove one of the highest-scoring affairs of the event (18.27 – 17.17), with Bourez sealing the win with the event’s first Perfect 10-point ride. “I was just feeling really good in the water,” Bourez said. “To surf that wave - perfect barrels, long rights - I was definitely ready for that. On my 10, I had just come back from my first wave and was so tired, but I saw that one coming and said that's the one. It was breaking on the sand, and I got three barrels on it. I was so stoked that I claimed it. I had to!” Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, current ASP World No. 1 and former Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay winner (1999), wasted no time in asserting his dominance at Jeffreys Bay today, racking up some impressive Round 2 scores before claiming the event’s third Perfect 10-point ride for an impossibly long forehand barrel to defeat Kieren Perrow (AUS), 32, in Round 3. “This is the best J-Bay I have ever surfed,” Parkinson said. “Whenever J-Bay pumps, it’s usually a pretty special day, but today was exceptional. Guys were getting 9s out there like it was nothing. You could get two 9s and still lose the heat. If you’re getting 10s though, you know you’ve got a good chance at advancing. I’ve surfed it at this size before, but never with this sand or as hollow as this.” Parkinson will face current ASP World No. 6 Bobby Martinez (USA), 27, in the Quarterfinals of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay when competition resumes. Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am to assess conditions for a possible 7:30am start. When competition resumes, up first will be today’s 10-point raiders Bourez and Reynolds going head-to-head in Heat 5 of Round 3.