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Wednesday afternoon, Billabong Contest Director Mike Parson cruised out at two-foot Boneyards, the break just up the point from Supertubes, which is traditionally the J-Bay contest site. He grinned when I suggested he was considering an alternative. Jump forward less than 24 hours and Supertubes was an absolutely perfect, pumping six foot, and Parsons was grinning even bigger. The Contest Director lives under constant pressure about the calls he makes on when and when not to go. Today, there was no question.
Sunrise lit up the swell as it poured down the point and the crew who'd been out surfing in the dark were replaced by guys in colored jerseys. Mick Fanning, who had surfed since before sunrise and headed home for breakfast before his heat described the conditions as "fricken amazing." A few hours later, Mick was still grinning and nailing his first round heat against Sean Holmes, despite the wildcard's reputation for taking down world champions.
|Even Mick Fanning's spray was smiling.|
Holmes took out Andy Irons twice in a row back when Irons was still the reigning champ. But the old Andy Irons showed up todayl. The happy regularfoot had an extra reason to smile. When the ASP reshuffles the World Tour in six weeks, the three-time former champ is going to have to be on the right side of the line and he knows it. He basically wiped up the mat with Jay Thompson and Jadson Andre.
Kelly Slater had a grin of his own today, but it was a very tired grin, being as he arrived just this morning after 40 hours of travel. Everyone figured he was playing it cool as he waited on the boardwalk with only three minutes remaining before the start of his heat. In actuality, he'd grabbed the wrong board and was waiting for a runner to bring him the right one. After winning his heat, he said, "Perfect waves, perfect winds, perfect heat."
|Andy Irons, back to his old self.|
Contrary to my post from earlier in the week , both Owen Wright and Matty Wilkinson have finally learned where to paddle out. They've also figured out how to surf Supertubes, with both scoring first round wins. However, they still need to figure out how to paddle in -- apparently both got nailed coming in earlier in the day from a freesurf. "Matty got nailed worse than me," said Wright with a grin. "We had no idea where to come in and it was high tide and we both came in right across the rocks. It was heavy at the time. We'll figure it out soon."
|A couple of winners and grinners -- or maybe gawkers.|
Add the entire Billabong crew to the list of grinners, as well. And if the swell holds up as predicted, the grins (and the waves) will only get bigger from here.Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay Round 1 Results:
|Reason to smile. Perfect four to six-foot J-Bay.|