Surf: Sweeping into the bay starting off 3-4 feet, building to five by this evening. Clean offshore winds.
Events Held: Round 4
Nature’s Call: I don’t feel tardy . . .
Forecast: Swell picking up a bit more overnight and looking all-time for a final day tomorrow.

Without waves, Jeffreys Bay suffers from some kind of bizarre existential crisis. The place, and all the surfers left hanging, start to question the validity of its existence. Tough questions fill the void created by the flat ocean. What am I doing here? Should I really drink this beer? Should I push my friend in a trolley at breakneck speed around the carpark outside the Spar market? Without waves Jeffreys Bay is the twilight zone. And then, after three days of jones, as if on cue, the waves start to sweep into Supers. And as if nothing has been remiss the last few days — as if jones never existed at all — the surfers are in the water and everything is alright.

Heat one squared Luke Hitchings up with Jake ‘the snake’ Paterson. Jake is a hard person to beat at Supers, he knows her walls and predicts her sections so well. Considering Jake the Snake’s performance and reputation at Supertubes, it’s no big upset. Nah, that was saved for heat two. Occy vs Lee Winkler. While the Occ, unfortunately, relied too heavily on his succession of backhand off the tops, Lee Winkler outperformed the mighty Occ with an impressive repertoire of critical maneuvers before world champ Andy Irons squeaked past Richie Lovett via some impressive, doggy door barrel riding.

After Kelly Slater’s opening ride in the round four match up against Brazilian Peterson ‘the animal’ Rosa, I sidled up to Jake Paterson and ask:

‘Who’s the man to beat?’

‘Kelly’s the man to beat,’ Nods Jake, ‘that’s for sure. He’s a freak, but you know Occy lost, and he’s amazing out there, so… Kelly’s the man to beat, I reckon.’

Kelly got under Peterson’s skin easily, and pushed the heat home with some incredible barrel riding and trademark floaters and white water climbs.

“I had a good heat,” said the white knight, Slater, in his flashy wetsuit. ” “I felt like a had the chance to get the highest scoring heat of the contest so far, but something didn’t let me have that. So that just shows me that I wasn’t able to peak yet, which is a good sign.”

‘I’d be real surprised if Hedgy manages to beat Parko in these conditions,” continued Slater looking towards the all Aussie bruiser with Joel Parkinson vs Nathan Hedge. I think he’s the best surfer left in the contest so far.”

But Supers has a mind of her own, and the white knight was way off. The Hedgehog, put his injury woes behind him and charged through a ding dong heat with friend, and form surfer, Parko. Eventually it went down to just getting the biggest waves. Next up Hedgy runs straight into Slater in the quarters.

“Yeah,” says Hedgy with a pause. “He’s in form and he’s, you know, Kelly Slater… Hopefully this time I don’t get too nervous and I’ll just stick to my game and let the backsides prevail.”

Shane Powell’s comeback trail was effectively blocked bythe hard, old school gouging of Sunny Garcia, while the last heat gave the Saffas something to scream about as local boy Greg Emslie overcame Aussie scum Toby Martin. At least that’s how the crowd saw it. It was the right kind of closure to today’s oceanic festivities since Martin led the heat till the end, until Emslie reclaimed the lead with a sixpoint ride in the last minutes.

“This whole contest it has been unreal,” he said speaking of the crowd’s obvious bias. “A lot of people have commented on how big the support has been for the locals. It’s unbelievable surfing with a crowd like this, it has been insane. Obviously Sunny is going to be tough. He was the world champion, he surfs really good out there, but we’ll just have to see what the waves look like tomorrow and work out the tactics from there.”

Screw tactics. If the collective will of the crowd has any influence, the South Africans left the contest site fueling the hope that Greg Emslie leaves a huge footprint when he kicks Sunny’s ass tomorrow on the final day of the Billabong Pro J-Bay. Andy Davis

Billabong Pro Round Four Heats (1st>Quarterfinals; 2nd=9th receives US$5,000){{{H1}}}: Jake Paterson (AUS) 18.0 def. Luke Hitchings (AUS) 7.33
{{{H2}}}: Lee Winkler (AUS) 14.5 def. Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 14.33
{{{H3}}}: Michael Lowe (AUS) 13.0 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 12.93
H4: Andy Irons (HAW) 15.17 def. Richie Lovett (AUS) 14.2
H5: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.33 def. Peterson Rosa (BRA) 10.84
H6: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 16.13 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.5
H7: Sunny Garcia (HAW) 15.17 def. Shane Powell (AUS) 14.83
H8: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 13.84 def. Toby Martin (AUS) 13.5

Upcoming Quarterfinals (1st>Semifinals; 2nd=5th receives US$8,000)
QF1: Jake Paterson (AUS) vs. Lee Winkler (AUS)
QF2: Michael Lowe (AUS) vs. Andy Irons (HAW)
QF3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Nathan Hedge (AUS)
QF4: Sunny Garcia (HAW) vs. Greg Emslie (ZAF)