Cape Town - The opening day of the JBay Open was an all-day action-fest of high performance surfing, as the world's best surfers took to the perfect waves of Supertubes in what is the sixth event on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT).
With a clean three to four-foot swell running and a fresh offshore wind blowing, the conditions were prime for a day of dazzling surfing.
Highlights included Jordy Smith's power performance in the fourth heat against Brazilian Caio Ibelli and French surfer Jorgann Couzinet, coming out full steam from the get-go and banking a heat total of 13.77 for the win.
In heat six, wildcard Mikey February started off looking powerful and strong, but defending event champion Filipe Toledo woke up and kicked in with some incredible rides, including some massive carving turns in the pocket for a huge final heat score of 17.60 and victory over February, with Ace Buchan (Aus) taking third and heading for the elimination round.
Julian Wilson put on a smooth and clean performance in his heat; with some fast-track speed runs on the open faces and some massive power hacks for a comprehensive win over Brazilian Deivid Silva and Jadsen Andre. Wilson is looking for a big result here in JBay to get back into the program. Currently 9th on the Jeep Leaderboard, Wilson is looking for a big score here to get him back into the world title conversation for 2019.
All eyes were on Kelly Slater in heat 10, as he came up against Jeremy Flores and Sebastian Zietz in the still good conditions. It was a slow heat, with no real sets coming through for the first half of the heat. Kelly climbed into a moderate lead, but his opponents were chasing hard throughout. The Hawaiian Zietz was pushing hard throughout, along with the Reunion-born French surfer Flores. Kelly was surfing smooth and on-form and he was totally dominant out there, performing long and smooth carves on the open faces for the highest scores. Zietz came back however, and eventually posted a heat win to advance along with Kelly, sending Flores heading to the elimination round.
The forecast for tomorrow is similar to today, and the surfers will gather at first light to see the conditions and to await the call from the WSL Commissioner for the even status.