The New 2019 WSL Season Just Started At J-Bay
With John John out, Filipe wasted no time in showing who this year’s best surfer* is.
The original 2019 WSL season — the one in which John John Florence won two out of five events, earned a 5000 point lead over the field and seemed to have half of his unnecessarily long first name already written on the trophy — is over.
His ACL crumbled and now an asterisk will loiter next to the name of this year’s World Champion. As a result, a new season was born during the first day of the J-Bay Open. One without such a slope in the playing field.
After J-Bay set itself on fire for a few days of warmups, conditions returned to a state of comparative mediocrity today. Head high and fairly consistent with good wind, unless you had been planning to visit the space north of the lip — which, it turned out, not many people did. Too soon.
Today, we saw the first round of the new 2019 season for the men and the first three heats of the contest/Stephanie Gilmore’s waltz to the podium for the women.
-Gabriel Medina won, but without making much of a fuss. This man still hasn’t tasted life beyond the Quarterfinals this year. No need for alarm bells yet, though. These are his results after J-Bay last year: 1, 1, 3, 3, 1. No panic until the wheels fall off at Teahupo’o.
-Italo Ferreira is almost more fun to watch at waves you didn’t think you’d want to watch him at. Sure, he grew up at right point and has won at Bells at Keramas — but still. J-Bay is its own beast and Italo was pure spark.
-Jordy arrived on the beach with a golden retriever — not Barton Lynch — and was more in sync with the wave than anybody else today. In this same heat, Jorgann Couzient also proved why they no longer have a QS at J-Bay.
-Filipe’s heat. Wow. He can’t have the yellow jersey so he went with a yellow board — although the yum yum color was conveniently sprayed on the deck and not the bottom. The back-to-back champ can simply do more on this wave than anybody else, and he dropped an 8.5 and a 9.10 in his heat. The Title is his to win this year.
-The current World #1* Kolohe Andino had a fairly slow heat but got it done. It’ll be interesting to see how this one progresses.
-Props to Julian Wilson for winning his heat and landing a solid air. Strong ACLs on him. Like steel.
-Even more props to Seth Moniz for hucking himself into the flats a few times. He lost and will have to surf in the elimination round, but it was a commendable effort nonetheless.
-Kelly Slater’s back on that magic Akila Aipa. He didn’t win his heat, but he didn’t technically lose it either. By all accounts, he was in legendary form during the swell before the event. If only that waiting period kicked off a few days earlier.
-After winning the QS event in Ballito, Deivid Silva was the sharpest he’s been all year. Can you believe that? Ol’ Deivy Silva? Sharp? What a world.
-The inevitable Women’s champion, Stephanie Gilmore surfed like the inevitable Women’s champion, Stephanie Gilmore. It wasn’t a particularly great heat, but she’s on another level at Jeff’s and you can see it every time she stands up.
-The forecast ain’t looking so hot. If you’re a fan of safari photos, we recommend keeping a close eye on Instagram over the next few days. Friday looks fun, though. We’ll see what happens after that.
Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Seeding Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.03 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 10.57, Frederico Morais (PRT) 9.00
Heat 2: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.43 DEF. Soli Bailey (AUS) 10.67, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 10.34
Heat 3: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.16 DEF. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 7.33, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 6.74
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.77 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.27, Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) 8.67
Heat 5: Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.43 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 9.84, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 8.30
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.60 DEF. Michael February (ZAF) 12.83, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.77
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.97 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 10.60, Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.56
Heat 8: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.17 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.84, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 5.27
Heat 9: Ricardo Christie (NZL) 10.66 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 9.03, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 6.10
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.40 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 10.67, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.27
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (FRA) 12.24 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.00, Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.86
Heat 12: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 13.24 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 13.23, Seth Moniz (HAW) 10.83
Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups:
Heat 1: Ryan Callinan (AUS), Jack Freestone (AUS), Beyrick De Vries (ZAF)
Heat 2: Seth Moniz (HAW), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Jesse Mendes (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 4: Willian Cardoso (BRA), Peterson Crisanto (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Seeding Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.80 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.57, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 8.40
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.33 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 11.70, Sage Erickson (USA) 9.97
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 12.60 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.30, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 9.83
Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Remaining Seeding Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Brisa Hennessy (CRI), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 5: Lakey Peterson (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 6: Caroline Marks (USA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Silvana Lima (BRA)
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