Four South African surfers are guaranteed a spot in the 2010 Billabong Pro J-Bay which starts next week when what is being touted as the greatest group of surfing talent ever assembled takes on the internationally renowned waves of Supertubes at Jeffreys Bay in Stop No. 4 of 10 on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour.
Jordy Smith, in his third year on the Dream Tour, comes into the event ranked No. 2 on the ASP World Title Race Rankings after reaching his first final on Australia’s Gold Coast and backed that up with consecutive 5th place finishes at Bells Beach and in Brazil. The 22 year-old Durbanite, who ended 2009 ranked No. 11, is seeded fourth behind nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 2009 ASP No. 2 Taj Burrow (AUS) and reigning two-time ASP World Champ Mick Fanning (AUS), all of whom are previous Billabong Pro J-Bay winners.
Fellow Durbanite Travis Logie, 31, is in the form of his life and full of confidence after overcoming Burrow in Brazil on his way to his season best result of 9th. In his fifth season at the highest level of competitive surfing, the goofy-foot with lightening fast reflexes will be doing his utmost at Jeffreys Bay to improve his current ranking of No. 30 and ensure his continued participation in the 2010 ASP World Title Race when the field is cut from 45 to 32 after the next event in Tahiti in August.
The news that again Sean Holmes has been allocated one of the three wildcards directly into the main event will raise the anxiety levels of the world’s best surfers following the stellar performances that have seen the Capetonian cut a swathe through the top seeds on numerous occasions, including twice reaching the quarterfinals of the Billabong Pro J-Bay. Having grown up in Wilderness, a short two hour drive from Jeffreys Bay, and then lived in the Mecca of SA surfing for a number of years, Holmes has clocked more time in the surf at Supertubes than anyone else in the event and is looking to take his giant-killing act all the way to the podium.
Rising star Shaun Joubert, the ASP Africa Pro Junior Champion, gets his first start as a wildcard into Africa’s most prestigious and lucrative surfing event and the well-travelled 19 year-old from Mossel Bay is frothing at the opportunity to test his mettle against the world’s best in waves he is well acquainted with. The importance of receiving the wildcard is not lost on Joubert who is aware that Australian Joel Parkinson competed in his first ASP World Tour event as an 18 year-old wildcard in the 1999 Billabong Pro J-Bay and went on to win the event, kick-starting a highly successful pro surfing career.
The third and final wildcard could well go to another South African as it will be allocated the winner of the VonZipper Superheat, a four-man encounter that will be run immediately before the first heat of the main event. The protagonists include Jeffreys Bay locals Ryan Payne and Dale Staples, both from nearby St Francis Bay, and emerging international stars and Billabong team riders Heath Joske (AUS) and Keanu Asing (HAW).
The Billabong Pro J-Bay is scheduled for 15-25 July 2010, an 11-day waiting period that enables the organisers to run the approximately four days of competition required to determine the 2010 champion in the best possible conditions at Supertubes. The field for the event comprises the world’s top 45 ranked professional surfers along with three wildcards.
All the action during the event will be webcast LIVE at www.billabongpro.com with commentary in English and Portuguese. The official event website features plenty of additional content including Webisodes covering the event, its top contenders, the wildcards and the greening initiatives to be implemented, along with news, photos, video-on-demand highlights of previous heats and interactive competitions.
The 2010 Billabong Pro J-Bay is proudly supported by Eastern Cape Tourism, Virgin Atlantic, Monster Energy, Vida e Caffe, Corona and Tavcor
2010 BILLABONG PRO J-BAY
Draw for Round One
Heat 1: Jadson Andre (BRA) , Luke Stedman (AUS) , Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) , Daniel Ross (AUS) , Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) , Jeremy Flores (FRA) , Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 4: Bobby Martinez (USA) , Tiago Pires (PRT) , Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 5: Adriano De Souza (BRA) , Tom Whitaker (AUS) , Nate Yeomans (USA)
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) , Roy Powers (HAW) , Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) , Kieren Perrow (AUS) , Blake Thornton (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) , Owen Wright (AUS) , Wildcard 3
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) , Damien Hobgood (USA) , Wildcard 2
Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS) , Kai Otton (AUS) , Wildcard 1
Heat 11: Taylor Knox (USA) , Andy Irons (HAW) , Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 12: C.J. Hobgood (USA) , Luke Munro (AUS) , Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 13: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) , Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) , Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 14: Michel Bourez (PYF) , Patrick Gudauskas (USA) , Drew Courtney (AUS)
Heat 15: Chris Davidson (AUS) , Dean Morrison (AUS) , Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 16: Adrian Buchan (AUS) , Mick Campbell (AUS) , Ben Dunn (AUS)