Billabong Pro Not Off To A Start

Renowned for its iconic waves, Jeffreys Bay is undisputedly considered to be the Mecca of South African surfing.

So it’s a bit ironic that small surf was the cause for a lay day being called at the Billabong Pro surfing championship. The event, the fifth of ten on the 2009 ASP World Tour, has been delayed until tomorrow morning – when conditions will be reassessed – due to this morning’s small two-to-three (one metre) waves.

According to Mike Parsons, Billabong Pro Contest Director, the swell models they’ve been tracking have moved a bit south, with improving swell models giving them an optimistic outlook that they’ll have bigger waves as early as tomorrow.

Yesterday, at the completion of the VonZipper Trials, local Devyn Matthews won his heat, earning himself a wildcard berth into the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay. Other South Africans who also received wildcards are Shaun Holmes and Ryan Payne.

Once the conditions improve, the first round match-ups look as follows:

Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Tim Boal (FRA), Michael Picon (FRA)

Heat 2: Tom Whitaker (AUS), Jay Thompson (AUS), Nathaniel Curran (USA)

Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Nic Muscroft (AUS)

Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Phillip MacDonald (AUS)

Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Dean Morrison (AUS), Marlon Lipke (DEU)

Heat 6: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Chris Ward (USA), TBA

Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Dustin Barca (HAW), TBA

Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), TBA

Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA), TBA

Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA), Dayyan Neve (AUS), TBA

Heat 11: Damien Hobgood (USA), Heitor Alves (BRA), Greg Emslie (ZAF)

Heat 12: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Chris Davidson (AUS), David Weare (ZAF)

Heat 13: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Aritz Aranburu (EUK), Michel Bourez (PYF)

Heat 14: Taylor Knox (USA), Jihad Khodr (BRA), Roy Powers (HAW)

Heat 15: Mick Campbell (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Ben Dunn (AUS)

Heat 16: Kieren Perrow (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA), Drew Courtney (AUS)

Despite injury, Jordy Smith Qualifies for 2009

Despite a ligament injury to his left knee that prevented him from competing in the season-ending Billabong Pipeline Masters in Hawaii, South Africa’s Jordy Smith still managed to qualify for a second year on the elite ASP World Tour!

While current ASP No. 4 Joel Parkinson recorded only the second perfect 20 out of 20 heat score in ASP World Tour history on Day 2 of the event, the last of the 12 competitors who could have overtaken Smith was eliminated, leaving the 20 year-old rookie Durbanite amongst the top 27 on the rankings who automatically re-qualify for the following year.

His chances of a second year on the dream tour looked bleak when his doctor advised him to withdraw from the Pipeline event.

Global Surf News reports that, although Jordy’s final ranking position will not be known until the event is completed, he is now guaranteed to finish in the top 27, particularly if Hawaiian Bruce Irons, who has qualified ahead of Jordy for 2009, follows through with his decision to retire from the ASP World Tour after the Pipeline event.

Jordy will be joined on the 2009 ASP World Tour by David Weare (Durban) and Greg Emslie (East London) who finished Nos. 7 and 10 respectively in the 2008 ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) rankings. Travis Logie (Durban), Royden Bryson (East London) and Ricky Basnett (Bluff) finished the year outside the top 27 on the World Tour and failed to re-qualify.

In the mean time, another South African, Rosanne Hodge, demonstrated her affinity with the classic waves of Honolua Bay on the Hawaiian island of Maui when she reached the quarterfinals of the Billabong Pro Maui event on Wednesday, the first time this year that the East Londoner has advanced past Round 3 in an ASP Women’s World Tour event.

The 21-year old recorded her career best result in the 2007 event at Honolua Bay, advancing to the semifinals before being ousted in equal third place by eventual event winner Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)

Although she has already qualified for her third year on the ASP Women’s World Tour via her No. 3 ranking on the 2008 ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), Rosanne will be determined to better her previous best and improve her current World Tour ranking of No. 15.