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Exciting Start To Corona Open J-Bay On Opening Day Of Competition

The Corona Open J-Bay, Stop No. 9 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2023 Championship Tour (CT), launched today in good three-to-four foot waves and light winds to complete the Men’s Opening Round of competition on the first day of the event’s window period.



Pictured: Griffin Colapinto (USA) goes above the lip in his Opening Round at the Corona Open J-Bay 2023 Credit: © WSL / Van Gysen The world’s best surfers launched their penultimate effort of the regular season in South Africa with long, perfectly peeling walls and put on an exciting show with power surfing and radical maneuvers both in and above the lip.


World’s Best Dominate in Men’s Opening Round

A winner and three-time runner-up this season on tour, Griffin Colapinto (USA) continued to show an incredible run of form in his opening heat at J-Bay. The Californian started with a classic approach on the wave face on his first wave for a 7.67 (out of a possible 10) and launched into a massive straight air for an excellent 8.50 later in the heat to post a convincing win into the Round of 16. “It’s a beautiful morning and there’s a really good turnout, a lot of people came out and it seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year,” Colapinto said. “Coming back from Brazil I went all in on my preparation and tried to do everything I could to make sure I’m ready. I’ve done this my whole life and at this point I feel like I’ve learned every lesson in the book so there’s no need to overthink things, I just need to let things happen.” The current World No.1 Filipe Toledo (BRA) came out victorious in an epic clash with Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) and local wildcard Adin Masencamp (RSA). Winner twice in the past on the long rights of Jeffreys Bay, the Brazilian showed confidence in his approach as he waited a long time for his first wave but made sure to convert with powerful rail surfing in the lip to distance himself from his opponents. “It’s pretty slow but when the wave comes it’s perfect,” Toledo said. “I knew I’d have opportunities so I stayed patient and it paid off. I felt at my 100% in that heat, no pain, no bubbles or lack of confidence so it felt really good.”


Former World Champs Go Above The Lip To Score Big

Former World Champions Italo Ferreira (BRA), John John Florence (HAW) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) were also standouts in the air. Ferreira and Florence went on a nail-biting matchup, eventually going Florence’s way for a spot into the Round of 16. All three surfers currently sitting outside the Top 5, need a big result in the last two events of the regular season for a chance to fight for the ultimate crown at the Rip Curl WSL Finals later this year. “It feels great to be back here and surf nice clean walls before the wind came up,” Medina said. “The forecast looks pretty good so I’m excited to surf this event. When I picture surfing it’s someone on waves like this, it’s just too perfect. ” Brazil’s Joao Chianca (BRA) and Yago Dora (BRA) also made their way into the Round of 16 with wins in their debut performance in this event. Dora turned the heat with seconds on the clock with an insane backhand rotation landed perfectly for a near-perfect 9.27. “That was a short wave so I needed something special to get a big score,” Dora explained. “I’m really glad I made that, I landed on the flats and rode out perfectly, I’m thankful for the opportunity to get that ramp.” Out of the current WSL Top 5, only World No.3 Ethan Ewing (AUS) failed to advance in first out of the Opening Round and will need to battle it out in the Elimination Round when the event resumes.


Rookie Waida Nails First Visit to J-Bay

Indonesia’s first surfer on tour Rio Waida (INA) has been turning heads in his first season and continued to do so today as he dispatched Ewing and tour veteran Caio Ibelli (BRA) in the Opening Round. The feisty regular foot was extremely patient in the lineup but once up on the board, his energy was transparent as he posted a 7.50 and 6.60 on his only two waves ridden. “I almost started to rush and catch small waves because Ethan was getting scores,” Waida said. “But I stayed patient and I thought for sure one more set would come. I’m really grateful it did and stoked that I won that heat. The waves were really fun, a little bit slow but super fun. I’ve been working on my technique and tried to apply it today in the lineup.”


South Africans Struggle to Find Rhythm on Home Turf

Event wildcard Adin Masencamp (RSA), J-Bay local Matthew McGillivray (RSA) and tour standout Jordy Smith (RSA) all failed to advance in first and will have to battle it out in the Elimination Round when the event continues. McGillivray came only .34 short of an advancing spot in his battle with Medina. They will face Ethan Ewing (AUS), Barron Mamiya (HAW) and Caio Ibelli (BRA) respectively in their next heat to keep their campaign alive in their home country. Onshore winds picked up just before the last heat of the round, forcing event officials to call the competition off for the rest of the day. The next call will be on Friday, July 14 at 7:45 a.m. GMT+2 for a possible 8:05 a.m. start.


Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Opening Round Results:

HEAT 1: Joao Chianca (BRA) 11.50 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 10.17, Barron Mamiya (HAW) 6.37

HEAT 2: Rio Waida (INA) 14.10 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 11.67, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.17

HEAT 3: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 16.17 DEF. Liam O'Brien (AUS) 8.26, Kelly Slater (USA) 7.44

HEAT 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.27 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 14.33, Adin Masencamp (RSA) 9.43

HEAT 5: Yago Dora (BRA) 16.27 DEF. Connor O'Leary (AUS) 13.53, Ian Gentil (HAW) 10.40

HEAT 6: John John Florence (HAW) 15.27 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.34, Callum Robson (AUS) 3.70

HEAT 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.00 DEF. Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 13.67, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 12.93

HEAT 8: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.07 DEF. Jordy Smith (RSA) 9.10, Jack Robinson (AUS) 6.93


Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Elimination Round Matchups:

HEAT 1: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Adin Masencamp (RSA)

HEAT 2: Connor O'Leary (AUS) vs. Callum Robson (AUS)

HEAT 3: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)

HEAT 4: Barron Mamiya (HAW) vs. Matthew McGillivray (RSA)

HEAT 5: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)

HEAT 6: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Jordy Smith (RSA)

HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Ian Gentil (HAW)

HEAT 8: Liam O'Brien (AUS) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)


Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Opening Round Matchups:

Heat 1: Molly Picklum (AUS) vs. Caitlin Simmers (USA) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW)

Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Sarah Baum (RSA)

Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)

Heat 4: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW)


Watch LIVE: Corona Open J-Bay

The Corona Open J-Bay holds a competition window from July 13, through July 22, 2023. Once called on, the competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Check out more ways to watch from the WSL’s broadcast partners. For fans watching in Brazil, coverage of the competition's Quarterfinals and beyond will continue exclusively on WorldSurfLeague.com and SporTV.


The Corona Open J-Bay is proudly supported by Corona, Shiseido, YETI, Surfline, True Surf, Kouga Municipality, and Sealand Gear.


For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

About the WSL The World Surf League (WSL) is the global home of competitive surfing, crowning the World Champions since 1976 and showcasing the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves. WSL is comprised of the Tours and Competition division, which oversees and operates more than 180 global competitions each year; Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC), home of the world's largest high-performance, human-made wave; and WSL Studios, an independent producer of unscripted and scripted projects.

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