While you were sleeping: The Corona J-Bay Open is officially underway

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Last night (PST), the Corona J-Bay Open officially kicked off with upsets at 5 final implications already in the mix. World number 3 Lakey Peterson was ousted by Tyler Wright and will have to fight to keep her first place in Tahiti. Johanne Defay secured her place at Trestles, and on the men’s side, many of the top seeds were relegated to the knockout round, hopefully to run tonight. Click above to watch a replay of the day’s highlights and stay tuned for the next call.

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The Corona Open J-Bay, Stage No. 9 of the World Surf League (WSL) 2022 Championship Tour (CT), opened today with clean three to five foot waves on Africa’s famous Eastern Cape Supertubes from South . The competition completed the women’s and men’s opening rounds and eliminated the top four surfers in the women’s second elimination round.

After the mid-season cut, the competition is relentless with many top seeds landing in the knockout round with fear of an early 9th place exit from the Corona Open J-Bay. World No. 2 Johanne DefayNo. 3 Lakey Peterson (US) and No. 4 Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) were all relegated to the second round of elimination. Defay was the only surfer today to earn a spot in the WSL Final 5, while Peterson was the only Top 5 surfer to be knocked out of the competition.

Johanne Defay earns WSL Final 5 berth for Rip Curl WSL Finals

Johanne Defay (FRA) clinched their place in the WSL Final 5 after winning their elimination round against Tia Blanco (USA) with powerful turns and committed surf on dry rock.

“It’s a great day, the waves are great and it’s good to get going,” said Defay. “I feel almost lucky to have been able to surf two legs today, I just wish I could get higher scores. It’s the kind of wave you can’t train for when there’s no no waves, so today is the first time we can really understand our gear. I’m just getting started.

Defay, who had to make other equipment arrangements after arriving in South Africa without her luggage, was delighted to learn that she will be competing in the Rip Curl WSL Finals at Lower Trestles from September 8-16, 2022: “No way, sweetheart! I didn’t know that. That’s so cool. I didn’t expect it, I’m pretty emotional.

World number 3 Lakey Peterson knocked out of competition early

World No. 3 Lakey Peterson (United States) and Tyler Wright (AUS) had a slow late afternoon heat as only two sets went through in the 35 minutes with three waves in total. It was heartbreaking for Peterson, who was only able to score one mid-range run, while Wright managed to find a relief wave to extend his lead and advance to the quarter-finals. Peterson will look to the Outerknown Tahiti Pro to make up lost ground and secure a spot in the Rip Curl WSL Finals.

World champions Moore and Gilmore through to the quarter-finals

Just like Defay, seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) capitalized on the extra time in the lineup as they found their next gear and picked up a big win against Courtney Conlogue (UNITED STATES). The elegant regular foot nailed his selection of waves to perfection and scored four very good waves around the seven-point mark.

“This morning was just rough, that devilish wind is always pretty hard to surf,” Gilmore said. “When I paddled it was glassy and by the time our heat started it was windy and I was on the wrong board. I watched these beautiful waves all day and was so excited to go back this afternoon. I changed my board to something with a bit more oomph and felt like I could really hold my line, so that was a really good feeling.

Five-time world champion Carissa Moore (HAW) won the women’s first-round overheat, struggling with rookie Gabriela Bryan (HAW) and the Blanco joker event. The two Hawaiians went blow for blow with a similar approach to surfing J-Bay’s long, perfect walls. The current world No. 1 put down her signatures and brought plenty of power and variety to build an impressive total of 14.50, which included the first excellent score of the day (8.17 out of 10), and qualify for the quarter-finals.

“I’m so excited to be back here in Jeffreys Bay,” said defending event champion Moore. “It has been three years since we went to this magical place and we are very lucky that the waves showed up this morning. It was a bit difficult to train and warm up for this event, there weren’t a lot of opportunities, so a lot happened in this first run.

Matthew McGillivray wows hometown crowd in Jeffreys Bay

Loud cheers erupted from the beach whenever the local hero Matthew McGillivray (RSA) took off on a wave. The South African had a quick start to post the first score on the board with a solid two-round combination, wraparound carves and a short tube drive to set the tone for the heat. Griffon Colapinto (USA) was right behind McGillivray and it was on. McGillivray caught a bigger set wave, unleashing huge turns in the most critical part of the wave to score an excellent 8.50 (out of a possible 10). He kept the advantage over Colapinto and Jadson Andre (BRA) to claim victory with one of the highest totals of the day, 15.33 (out of a possible 20), and advance to the Round of 16.

“It’s an amazing day here, the waves are getting better and better,” said McGillivray. “I couldn’t be happier to be here, it’s going to be such an exciting day of surfing. I feel like the opening round is just a warm up to make sure you’re on the right gear and picking the right waves. I’m happy to have a win under my belt and to use that momentum moving forward. It’s amazing to have so much support on the beach. I didn’t expect such a crowd, all my friends and family are here, it’s such a cool vibe.

South Africans Jordy Smith, Luke Thompson and Joshe Faulkner relegated to second round

Another fiery South African was a joker Luke Thompson (RSA) who earned the right to compete this week thanks to a big result on the Challenger Series at Ballito. Thompson stormed the lineup and threatened Jack Robinson (Australia) and Kolohe Andino (USA) from relegation to the Elimination Round with fast, sharp surf and an undeniable element of flow.

The two-time winner this season and current world No. 2 Robinson managed to catch and overtake the young South African in his last wave, but there is no doubt that the wildcard will be dangerous to face in the elimination round.

injury replacement Yago Dora (BRA) delivered the first upset of the day when they relegated the CT veteran and two-time event winner Jordy Smith (RSA) and world No. 3 Italo Ferreira (BRA) in the elimination round.

“I knew I could get the score if I was on the right wave,” Dora said. “The best heat wave came at the perfect time for me and I just had to surf my best. It’s just fun to ride waves like that against guys like Italo who has one of the best backhand, and you don’t even have to say anything about Jordy, he’s amazing and I’ve been a fan since I was little so it was an honor to surf against them.

World No. 1 Philip Toledo (BRA) and event wildcard Joshe Faulkner (RSA) also suffered a first-round loss to an in-form player Nat Young (USA), and the list of surprise results continues with 11 times world champion Kelly Slater (USA)’s third place in the final run of the heat.

For more information, visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

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