World’s top surfers wait for big J-Bay swell to arrive

AERIAL ROUTE: American Kelly Slater rips through the small surf to win his heat at Jeffreys Bay. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN
AERIAL ROUTE: American Kelly Slater rips through the small surf to win his heat at Jeffreys Bay. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

SURFERS at the annual J-Bay Open spent the weekend watching the waves instead of riding them.

This occurred after organisers announced consecutive lay days at the weekend.

The surfing contest, staged at the iconic Supertubes surf break, features the world’s top 34 competitors in the 11-stage Championship Tour.

It will end on Sunday and includes days spent waiting for good surfing conditions.

World Surf League commissioner Kieren Perrow said the conditions would be assessed today to decide whether to start the opening heats of round 2.

The competition got off to a non-start on Wednesday after the first round was also called off – a lay day – as a result of small swells.

“The conditions are perfect . . . the wind is offshore and it’s cold, but there’s just no swell,” Perrow said.

First to hit the waves when the competition eventually resumes will be ratings leader Adriano de Souza of Brazil and wildcard Slade Prestwich of South Africa.

The J-Bay Open is the anchor event for the Jeffreys Bay Winterfest, which features a variety of extreme sporting events and entertainment.

Despite the slow surfing start, Jeffreys Bay had a busy weekend with the JBay Mountain Bike Open, trail running, fishing competitions and a kite festival.

Port Elizabeth’s Anriette Schoeman added another title to her long list of achievements by winning the women’s section in the 80km event of the JBay MTB Open.

“It was very tough. It was a very technical route. I definitely earned this one,” she said.

Another Port Elizabeth resident, Brad McKenzie, took top honours in the Jeffreys Bay Xtreme Trail Run 20km first leg event, eventually ousting Hilton Douglas on the final beach home stretch.

“I’m not a big fan of beach running, but the tide was good so the sand was fine and we were lucky with that,” McKenzie said.

-Tremaine van Aardt

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