The "Men In Blue" took over "The Home Of The Perfect Wave" today, or so it seemed. The second day of competition saw the rest of round two and four heats of round 3 of the Billabong Pro South Africa run in slightly smaller conditions than yesterday's epic four-to-six foot swell. Still, near-perfect three-to-four foot sets continued to pulse through the bay, and lots of blue singlets -- many of them worn by World Tour rookies -- advanced.
Giant killer Sean Holmes isn't a rookie -- he's a wildcard -- but he was in blue. He's also among the most feared competitors at J-Bay and re-polished that reputation today by taking out the winner of the tour's last stop, Jadson Andre, in the first heat of the day. Holmes had the superior wave choice and wracked up one for the Men In Blue.
Tanner Gudauskas, Brett Simpson, and Dusty Payne are all World Tour rookies who donned blue singlets today and earned round two wins. Gudauskas took down Tom Whitaker, Simpson beat Jeremy Flores, and Payne bested Daniel Ross. All three blue boys sit perilously close to the cutoff point that looms after the Tour's next stop in Tahiti, and all showed up at J-Bay plenty early, knowing their tour lives depend on a strong result at a wave they don't really know.
Whenever you pick up any tourist brochures around here, they make huge claims about the surf. The local paper describes it as "the world's best high performance surf break." Mayor Robbie Dennis claims it's "the home of the perfect wave." And Billabong South Africa's GM, Ernest Bendeman describes the wave as "the world's greatest right-hand point break." So, what do the rookies -- who know a thing or two about hype themselves -- think of all that hype?
Payne: "It's perfect. It's the best point break in the world. I've never surfed a point break like it."
Simpson: "It's so special. It's my first time competing here and my second I've been here and it's by far the best I've seen it. This is what the 'Dream Tour' is about for me. It's by far the best point break in the world, but maybe it's not the most rippable? We've got Rincon back home, but I think it's better."
Gudauskas: "I love it here. We came early, and I'm having the best time ever. It's definitely in my books as the best right-hand point break I've ever surfed."
So the Men In Blue believe. But it should be noted that it wasn't only Blue rookies making noise today at J-Bay. Fellow rookie and bubble-dweller Owen Wright, who's already off to a good start with a win in round one, surfed round 3 in a red singlet, but it didn't keep him from handily dispensing with Benn Dunn by nearly seven points.
Swell is forecast to linger into the weekend, and the next call will be made tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. local time.Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay Remaining Round 2 Results:
Heat 3: Sean Holmes (ZAF) 13.50 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.07
Heat 4: Joan Duru (FRA) 13.83 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 11.50
Heat 5: Tim Reyes (USA) 13.34 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.23
Heat 6: Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.86 def. Blake Thornton (AUS) 11.50
Heat 7: Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.04 def. Marco Polo (BRA) 11.30
Heat 8: Jay Thompson (AUS) 18.33 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 14.47
Heat 9: Neco Padaratz (BRA) 11.36 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 10.93
Heat 10: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 15.03 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 9.00
Heat 11: Brett Simpson (USA) 15.40 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.26
Heat 12: Dusty Payne (HAW) 12.83 def. Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.37
Heat 13: Luke Stedman (AUS) 14.14 def. Drew Courtney (AUS) 12.93
Heat 14: Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.60 def. Luke Munro (AUS) 12.00
Heat 15: Ben Dunn (AUS) 16.33 def. Pat Gudauskas (USA) 9.83
Heat 16: Dean Morrison (AUS) 15.84 def. Mick Campbell (AUS) 9.03
Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.67 def. Jay Thompson (AUS) 9.27
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.27 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 11.80
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 17.00 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 10.74
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.07 def. Nate Yeomans (USA) 9.10
Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay Remaining Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 6: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 7: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Andy Irons (HAW)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Sean Holmes (ZAF)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 10: Tiago Pires (PRT) vs. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW)
Heat 11: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 13: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 14: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Dean Morrison (AUS)
Heat 15: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 16: Chris Davidson (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)