One Air > 11 Turns At The Corona Open J-Bay - Stab Mag
One medium air for man. One giant score for mankind. Photo: WSL/AVG

One Air > 11 Turns At The Corona Open J-Bay

Let’s discuss the scoring on day one.

features // Jul 13, 2023
Words by Pedro Ramos
Reading Time: 8 minutes

At the break of dawn, Jeffrey’s Bay looked appealing, albeit dressed in that indecorous morning-after-the swell vibe. 

With possibly no more than three contestable days on the horizon, and a round with theoretically less at stake, Senior Manager of Tours and Competition, Travis Logie, wasted no minutes of the waiting period and ordered the men to paddle out for their opening round heats.

A welcome decision, even to those who have been feasting their orbs on premium YouTube poacher content over the past few days. 


– Airs trump carves.
– Wind blows it out mid-morning.
– Most top seeds advance.

End of wave acrobatics are great, but nothing beats an air in transition. Photo: WSL/AVG

Men’s Opening Round

“There will be inconsistencies throughout the day, that’s just typical J-Bay,” Peter Mel warned us before the horn blew for a very slow first heat between João Chianca, Seth Moniz, and Barron Mamiya. The trio sat out there like chum for most of the first half of the 40-minute affair. With arms energetically waving, Chianca took an unquestionable win against the Hawaiians. 

Before the next heat hit the water, Joe announced how Strider had made friends with a cephalopod down by the rocks the day before. 

With waves licking the bricks rather than hugging the point, the heat between Caio Ibelli, Ethan Ewing, and Rio Waida put an official end to this morning’s yawn patrol. Ethan brought back impressions of his performance at Winki, and doesn’t seem to be losing a bit of the momentum he’s carrying after his runner-up finish in Brazil. With three minutes to finish, Rio had only ridden a single wave the entire heat for a 7.5. Needing a 4.17 to advance to the Round of 16, he not only exceeded the required score, but displayed a rhythmic connection to his second and final wave, which later earned him a comparison to Danny Wills by Richie Lovett.

Griffin Colapinto looked very confident and relaxed out there — the way he would with a great board under his feet, free surfing at Lowers. He strung 11 turns together for his first bankable score. Then came an 8.5 for a big, clean slob air in between turns. In the same heat, Kelly Slater, who may have been recovering from illness, couldn’t quite find his pace at a wave he knows too well. “When was the last time the GOAT hit an excellent number on turns?” a critical Strider probed. Pete came in defense of the world’s current number 23, and an interesting match-up in the booth went on, with post-surf gourmand Paul Evans being the arbiter for de-escalation.

Dare ya to try to pull that jersey off him. Photo: Beatriz Ryder/WSL

What at first glance looked like a Bob Ross sighting, turned out to be rankings leader Filipe Toledo walking out to the keyhole for his heat against Kanoa Igarashi and South African wildcard, Adin Masencamp. Igarashi solidified an early-ish lead with clean, reliable lines. For 25 minutes, the battle went on between the Japanese and a jitterish Masencamp, until Toledo caught his first wave, smoothly and proficiently surfed for an 8.5, straight out of his slumber. Even though his second-highest-scoring ride lacked the flow of the first, a 6.77 was enough to take the lead and advance. In his interview, Toledo revealed how much he was looking forward to surfing where he has twice been a victor (2017, 2018).

Yago Dora began his heat like a man intent on being present at the e-bike capital of the world in September. His confidence hints that he doesn’t want to be there solely as a participant but as a contender. For a moment, Connor O’Leary had the lead, surfing with power, flow and finesse, but it wasn’t long until Yago’s varied display of smooth, powerful rail surfing started adding up. Then he stuck a massive full rote — a 9.27 — which already has the WSL’s comment section inflamed. No esky, but a crucial heat win nevertheless. Let’s hope this year’s schedule allows him to join Filipe at the next edition of Stab High! 

With the judges being unafraid to reward airs today, Florence unashamedly attempted three in his first three rides. Italo echoed Yago and got an 8.17 for a big air reverse and the heat lead. With Callum Robson away in comboland, this was a two-man clash between John and Italo. Can you show flow in the air? John seems to have done so with a tail-high reverse before transitioning into a series of snaps for an 8.27 and the win. “I’m a rhythm surfer,” he said with a smile in his post-heat interview, “Surfing is fun, when it’s fun. That’s when I do really well.” 

Fun when it’s fun! Photo: Beatriz Ryder/WSL

If you weren’t made aware yet, Matthew McGillivray likes jumping off high places. With that out of the way, the waves for his heat against Gabriel Medina and Ryan Callinan wouldn’t suffice to bring his heart closer to his throat, but the Supertubes local still gave Medina and R-Cal a good run for first place in the closest match-up of the morning. Toward the end of it, just as the wind had turned onshore, McGillivray linked turns all the way to the bricks for a full rotation launched off a steep section, yet failed to ride out in a clean manner. As expected, the italicized landing didn’t convince the judges. Medina through but not before offering his fins to Jeffrey.

With conditions deteriorating quickly, Jordy Smith, Leo Fioravanti, and Jack Robinson had the misfortune of having to go against each other in the worst surf of the morning. A heat with many falls and not so many makes. Dancing to the judge’s tune, Jack attempted taking to the air and Jordy completed a smaller version of Griff’s earlier slob. The latter’s read on the wave is impressive, making a windblown, section-y mess look inviting to surfing’s plebeians. The convincing heat win came from Leo, who, despite the conditions, gave it all his might and hubris. In his post-heat interview, the Italian workhorse revealed his strategy, “I thought about getting grindy, going back to the Challenger Series, competing in some tough conditions and trying to make the heat.” Could he be this season’s Conner Coffin/Morgan Cibilic? 


Peak performance: Yago Dora (16.27), Men’s Opening Round, Heat 5
Hit replay: Gabriel Medina (14.00) vs. Matthew McGillivray (13.67) vs. Ryan Callinan (12.93) Men’s Opening Round, Heat 7
One-liners: “You’re all in the same sandbox, you all have to deal with the same toys.” — Strider calling out Slater’s forecast “whinge”.

When it seemed like the women were about to get the short end of the stick again, Travis Logie promptly called off the competition. Hopefully, this decision will provide them with conditions at least similar to those in which the men competed, very soon.

​​In contrast to mainstream sports, the WSL made the choice to utilize its domestic commentary team for every tour stop. This is not without drawbacks, obviously.

Critiquing the commentary may seem pointless, however, their contributions serve as a conduit between what happens in the water and what we’re fed through our liquid-crystal displays.

The quality of commentary can turn a pleasant viewing experience into an excruciating one and vice-versa. The current group was insightful, providing a substantial amount of constructive criticism and at times, engaging in absorbing debate. 

Well done, team. 

Enough room for 11 turns. Or 1 air. Photo: Alan Van Gysen/WSL


Caught behind: Callum Robson (3.70), Men’s Opening Round, Heat 6
Blind mice: The way single airs were scoring over seamlessly connected rides at the quintessential right hand point break. A discussion to be had?
Say what?: “There is evil lurking around us.” — Paul Evans

It was refreshing to see turns being linked up with airs, sometimes using them to clear entire sections. But as soon as judges showed their thirst for aerial moves, people were taking off down the point, racing down the line and missing sections for excellent scores. Does that defeat the purpose of running a contest at one of the best point breaks in the world? Are one-maneuver waves better suited to the low attention span TikTok audience? Now that Elo’s been ousted, who do we forward our complaints and vitriol to? 

P.S. Hiring a “culture” to do a dance for you is not the same thing as celebrating it.

Last year’s winner, down but not out. Photo: WSL/AVG

Gamble Ramble

Presented by

Value bets are the way to go in three-man heats, especially when conditions are tricky. Case in point, Mikey C made $180 off of two $20 bets today — low risk, high reward. We’ll see what the rest of the event brings.

Men’s R1

$20 on Seth Moniz at +300 to win $60 LOST
$20 on Rio Waida at +500 to win $100 WON
$50 on Liam O’Brien at +300 to win $150 LOST
$10 on Adin Masencamp at +750 to win $75 LOST
$20 on Ian Gentil at +400 to win $80 LOST
$100 on JJF at -150 to win $67 WON
$30 on Matthew McGillivray at +225 to win $68 LOST
$20 on Leonardo Fioravanti at +400 to win $80 WON

Day 1 earnings: $110
Event earnings:

For tomorrow…

Women’s R1

$50 on Caity Simmers at +125 to win $63
$100 on Carissa Moore at -215 to win $47
$30 on Johanne Defay at +360 to win $108
$100 on Stephanie Gilmore at +125 to win $125

Place your bets on

JJF looking the goods. Could it be his first win in 2023? Photo: WSL/Ryder


Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Opening Round Results:
HEAT 1: Joao Chianca (BRA) 11.50 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 10.17, Barron Mamiya (HAW) 6.37
HEAT 2: Rio Waida (INA) 14.10 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 11.67, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.17
HEAT 3: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 16.17 DEF. Liam O’Brien (AUS) 8.26, Kelly Slater (USA) 7.44
HEAT 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.27 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 14.33, Adin Masencamp (RSA) 9.43
HEAT 5: Yago Dora (BRA) 16.27 DEF. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 13.53, Ian Gentil (HAW) 10.40
HEAT 6: John John Florence (HAW) 15.27 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.34, Callum Robson (AUS) 3.70
HEAT 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.00 DEF. Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 13.67, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 12.93
HEAT 8: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.07 DEF. Jordy Smith (RSA) 9.10, Jack Robinson (AUS) 6.93

Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Elimination Round Matchups:
HEAT 1: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Adin Masencamp (RSA)
HEAT 2: Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Callum Robson (AUS)
HEAT 3: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
HEAT 4: Barron Mamiya (HAW) vs. Matthew McGillivray (RSA)
HEAT 5: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
HEAT 6: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Jordy Smith (RSA)
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Ian Gentil (HAW)
HEAT 8: Liam O’Brien (AUS) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)

Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Opening Round Matchups: 
Heat 1: Molly Picklum (AUS) vs. Caitlin Simmers (USA) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW)
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Sarah Baum (RSA)
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
Heat 4: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW)


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