Round 4 At The J-Bay Open

All photos: Jimmicane
Aaaannnnnddd we’re back.
It feels like we’ve been waiting awhile, doesn’t it? There’s been three days off at J-Bay. Three days of flatness. Three days to bungee-jump and Safari and help save the rhinos. Three nights to go out till 3 a.m. at The Mexican. In fact, the only two CT surfers I saw enter the ocean the last three days (and I checked it a lot) were Medina and Mick. And when a combined four world titles couldn’t make it look fun, or at least motivate me to leave the Corona tent and put on a wetsuit, well, you get it.

And today?
It wasn’t perfect and it was far from pretty. But it was rideable, and the show must go on. Before you throw stones at commissioner KP for sending them out in this slop, realize this: He had no other choice. Tomorrow is the last of the 12-day waiting period. It’s unfortunate to see these guys surf junk, but it just so happens that this year’s event window fell into what Rosy Hodge called, “The longest period of small days I’ve ever seen at J-Bay in July.” Today, the commissioner’s back was firmly pinned against the waiting period wall.

So it wasn’t good. But what happened with…

Ace Buchan? He’s still wild. He turned the heat on three turns with a minute on the clock, sending Kai Otton and Julian Wilson to round 5. That’s twice in two heats that Ace has pulled out a last second score to flip the heat. Blackjack!

Adriano De Souza? He’s still winning. He took out Wiggoly Dantas and Nat Young with an end bowl air reverse, which ended up being the only big move of the day. Adriano came to J-Bay to practice 10 days early, and his extra practice is paying off. Now into the quarters, if Adriano can win one more heat he’ll hold onto his world No. 1 ranking into (at least) one more event.

Gabriel Medina. He (as in 2014 Gabe) is still here. He returned to form in his last heat against Wilko, and ended up seeded into the much anticipated “super heat” against Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater. Combined, these three own every world title (except for one) since 2004. Unfortunately, the surf for their heat was shit. It went from bad to worse right before they paddled out and halfway through the heat the combined score of all three of ‘em totaled 14 points, one point shy of their sum of titles. On the strength of a couple late backside whips Gabe racked up two 6’s and the win and now he’s into the quarters, equaling his best result of the year (a fifth at Bells.)

The Brazilian storm, and an actual storm
Of the four heats run today, three were won by a Brazilian. Joining Medina and Adriano in the quarters is Alejo Muniz, making the most of his opportunity as a replacement surfer by beating Keanu Asing and Michel Bourez with the highest two wave total of the day. (14.34)

Tomorrow?
It’s on, no matter what. There’s 11 heats left and one day left to run ‘em, and let’s hope we’ve saved the best surf for last. With the swell and winds forecasted to cooperate by midday tomorrow, it’s possible that by late afternoon a champion will be decided at the best Supertubes of the event. —Zander Morton