Round 1 of a Championship Tour is always exciting. Because we get to see the best surfers in action, and Supers was firing, so it was an amazing opening day at the Corona J-Bay Open.

Thing is, round 1 is also a little bit tempered on the full scale of excitement because it is a non-elimination round. We can check out performances, and make guesswork on what could happen in round 2 based on form, but there’s not much more one can do except guess.

First round performers were the usual JBay suspects. Parko and Fanning, Slater and John John, Adriano and Medina. Surprise second places were Jordy and Julian as well as Wilko and Owen.

When it gets to round 2 however, that’s when the surfing gets real. Elimination means that you’re all out of points, money, luck and good times. It means packing your bags, and checking the flight times. It means heading for the airport in Port Elizabeth to find a connecting flight on a jet plane.

The start to round 2 at the Corona JBay Open was a funky old morning. The swell that had been celebrated for a week in advance simply failed to arrive. It was a freezing cold, but before long the stands started filling up, the coffee queues grew longer, and a few sets started arriving. People were out and about. There was supporting to be done.

It was a loaded South African day, with all three of the remaining locals squeezed into the first two heats, with the only Australian being Matt Wilko. It was Jordy v Dale Staples, and February v Wilko in the first two heats of the morning.

While we sat and watched and waited for the event to start, the sets became less frequent, and with less height as well. It was quite a ‘kak’* day at the beach, if truth be told. On an increasing forecast, the surf was dropping off in front of our very eyes.   

Jordy's quest for a third win at home came down to the wire. Photo: WSL/Cestari

Jordy and JBU Supertrial winner Dale Staples from St Francis Bay paddled out for their heat, the first of the day, into a listless lineup. Jordy was first up, with Staples waiting for over 10 minutes for his first ride. There weren’t many decent waves ridden, and Jordy won by 0.40 points. Staples needed 4.17 near the finish, picked up a little runner off priority and whipped it a few times but he was awarded a 3.17 and it was all over.

Matt Wilko drew first blood against up-and-comer Mikey February, but it was another wave-starved heat and although Mikey did manage to find a 7-point ride, he was left needing a 6.17 as the heat drew to a close and on the official announcement that Wilko was the winner, the event was called off for a few hours, and later called off for the day.

Wilko managed to hold onto the Jeep Leader's Jersey for now. Photo: WSL/Cestari

There was a lot at stake in these two heats, with a tour leader and Jeep Leaderboard third-ranked surfer both obviously very much in the title race. It’s a fair call that both Jordy and Wilko did advance, but it’s just a pity that at such a crucial time for the South African wildcards Supertubes decided to have a snooze.

The charts are still loaded with great waves coming, and it looks solid with good winds for the next five days, so there’ll be plenty more action at the Corona Open JBay, but not for Staples and February.

*poop, poo, or shit.