After a seven-week hiatus, the World Tour commenced with Round 1 of the Billabong Pro at J-Bay. Amid a sweeping 3- to 4-foots swell, Jordy Smith, last year's winner, led the pack and posted the round's highest heat score, netting a 16.87 and a 9-point ride over wildcard surfer Sean Holmes and Adam Melling.
"Sean (Holmes) is obviously a very competent surfer at Jeffreys and Adam (Melling) was Runner-Up here last year so I definitely wasn't taking the heat lightly," Smith said. "They both got really good waves and I had to make do with what was left. It's not classic J-Bay, but even when it's like this, it's still a pretty good wave."
With his win in Round 1, Smith will move directly to Round 3.
"I don't really feel the pressure to perform," Smith added. "I've got my little program here with my friends and I'm just focusing on getting waves and surfing well. I'm happy to be through to Round 3."
A standout at any event, Mick Fanning also looked to be in fine form in Round 1 where he dismantled Heitor Alves with his characteristic precision.
"There were definitely some fun waves out there," Fanning said. "It's great to put the jersey back on and mix it up with the boys. Board feels good and I'm happy to be straight through to Round 3. Hope we can get some solid swell out there for the competition."
In an odd twist, both Bobby Martinez and Kelly Slater failed to show up to their Round 1 heat. In the days leading up to the event, Slater has been scoring one of the most talked about swells of the year at Cloudbreak and has been candid about the possibility of him missing the opening round.
"I've said it a few times that if the event holds past Sunday, I can make it. Otherwise, I hope Travis Logie gets my spot with the new rule..." said Slater via his Twitter account.
It's not currently clear why Martinez missed his heat.
If both surfers fail to show for their Round 2 heat, they will be replaced by other competitors.
Stay tuned to Surfermag.com for more on the Billabong Pro at J-Bay.
BILLABONG PRO JEFFREYS BAY ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.04, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 6.66, Cory Lopez (USA) 6.60
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.10, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.17, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.67
Heat 3: Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.90, Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.00, Gabe Kling (USA) 8.13
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.73, Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.17, Bobby Martinez (USA) 0.00
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.87, Sean Holmes (ZAF) 14.93, Adam Melling (AUS) 14.57
Heat 6: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.77, Shaun Payne (ZAF) 7.46, Kelly Slater (USA) 0.00
Heat 7: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.50, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.50, Chris Davidson (AUS) 4.73
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.70, Owen Wright (AUS) 8.43, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 7.56
Heat 9: Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.70, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.80, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 7.73
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.10, Taylor Knox (USA) 10.46, Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.70
Heat 11: Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.03, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.10, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.77
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.66, Brett Simpson (USA) 8.87, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 7.60
BILLABONG PRO JEFFREYS BAY ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Shaun Payne (ZAF)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Sean Holmes (ZAF)
Heat 3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 7: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 9: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 10: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 11: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Chris Davidson (AUS)