Another glorious day at Jeffreys Bay was soured only slightly by the severe lack of swell that defined the five heats surfed in the Third Round.
Surprisingly, however, the small, inconsistent surf didn't seem to hinder Kelly Slater as he posted one of the highest heat scores of the event so far. Slater trounced Luke Munro in his Third Round heat with a combined heat score of 17 points, the second highest of the event to date. The score seemed a bit inflated considering the previous second highest heat score, posted by Joel Parkinson earlier in the week, was comprised of waves that were almost four-times the size and of almost infinitely better quality.
Slater's score was made up of a generous eight-pointer and then capped with a wave, that by sheer comparison, had to be scored a full point higher. Despite the lob-sided finishing score line, in actuality, the time was never riper for Munro to cause a major upset after he caught, and fell on both of the best waves of the heat. The inconsistent conditions meant that, as is becoming a regular feature of this event, the luckiest surfer would ultimately prevail. However, Munro's nerve failed him when he landed two long floaters and was then seemingly shaken off his board by an invisible force. Slater's victory means he will join Burrow, Parkinson, Irons and defending champion, Mick Fanning, in Round Four.
Joining them will be California's Bobby Martinez, who has been tearing up the walls of Supertubes all week. He overcame Aussie, Mick Lowe, who had to return to the water today despite spotting a shark during his previous heat. He might even feel relieved that he doesn't have to get back into the water this week after witnessing, what he is convinced was a great white shark. Bobby will be back out there when conditions return to something contestable. Martinez's form is looking very ominous, especially if the waves remain on the smaller end of the scale, which will allow him to utilize his blistering backhand attack as an advantage over his front-side competitors.
Another goofy-footer, Freddie Patacchia, also advanced into Round Four, where he will meet up with fellow Hawaiian, Andy Irons. Dean Morrison also surfed a great heat to dispose of Bernardo Miranda, and will continue on into the Fourth Round. Morrison showed total commitment to his cause when he finished off his best wave, a 6.17, with an air onto exposed rocks of the "Impossibles" section at Supertubes.
There were some more fireworks in the water at the end of the day, when Mick Campbell lost his heat to Luke Steadman in an utterly wave-starved heat. The contest was called off for the day immediately afterward, which was almost as good as an admission of guilt from the powers that be.
After some stern gestures toward the judging tower Mick is due to be fined by the ASP for his actions. Campbell's actions could cost him $1000 of the $4900 he will receive from bowing out in the third round. The fiery redhead was still gracious in defeat when he reached the beach, however, and warmly congratulated Steadman for his victory. Campbell's loss seems a pity considering his good form that he has been carrying through his free surfs and practice sessions over the past week.
With two heats left to be completed in the third round, the forecast for the rest of the week is not looking too rosy, but organizers feel confident that there will be enough on offer over the coming days to finish the event in contestable conditions.
BILLABONG PRO J-BAY COMPLETED ROUND 3 HEATS:
1st advances to Rnd 4; 2nd finishes =17th)
Heat # 1: Joel Parkinson (16.83) def. Trent Munro (10.9)
Heat # 2: Taylor Knox (12.07) def. Ricky Basnett (11.83)
Heat # 3: Adrian Buchan (12.5) def. Jeremy Flores (9.0)
Heat # 4: Taj Burrow (13.83) def. Neco Padaratz (6.0)
Heat # 5: Daniel Wills (14.67) def. Royden Bryson (8.34)
Heat # 6: Travis Logie (14.33) def. Greg Emslie (10.93)
Heat # 7: Pancho Sullivan (9.33) def. CJ Hobgood (6.66)
Heat # 8: Mick Fanning (15.34) def. Shaun Payne (9.27)
Heat # 9: Andy Irons (12.84) def. Warwick Wright (10.33)
Heat #10: Fred Patacchia (11.5) def. Chris Ward (10.17)
Heat #11: Bobby Martinez (15.84) def. Michael Lowe (12.67)
Heat #12: Dean Morrison (15.34) def. Bernardo Miranda (11.84)
Heat #13: Kelly Slater (17.0) def. Luke Munro (12.33)
Heat #14: Luke Stedman (12.5) def. Michael Campbell (9.33)
REMAINING ROUND 3 HEATS:
Heat #15: Bede Durbidge v. Rodrigo Dornelles
Heat #16: Bruce Irons v. Adriano de Souza