After a couple of laydays, J Bay was beginning to look less like the threatening beach it's known as, and more like an area for kiddies to have their surf lessons.
But finally, Day 1 has been and gone with plenty of action and a little blood-loss from Kelly Slater thrown in.
The so-called Supertubes of J Bay weren't really there on this sixth stop of the WSL tour, nor were the tubes for that matter.
Taj Burrow struggled in the cooler temps managing a pair of 2s, but Julian Wilson dominated his heat. His signature suit must've helped him get through the cold:
J–Bay anticipation. Photo: Miller pic.twitter.com/nDH5hmpof9— Julian Wilson (@julian_wilson) July 10, 2015
Every event in the tour has a dominant surfer, and this time it's Dane Reynolds. He somehow won his heat against current Number 1, Adriano De Souza despite surfing in the morning instead of "the afternoon when [his] body is loose". De Souza didn't make him wait till the next morning, though he could've, and probably regretted it too. Reynolds was on a roll. World Number 1 down, let's take down World Number 2, Filipe Toledo. And he did. Now he's straight into Round 3, with the possibility of earning enough points to qualify for the CT full time next year. Most would agree he's different now, almost like he's finally realised he has potential.
Meanwhile CJ Hobgood will be ending in his 20 year career. He'll hopefully finish on a good note, getting straight into Round 3. The other boys wanted to chair him up the beach, this being his first heat win of the year, but he insists "there's still a little more magic where that came from".
Kelly Slater, who may be having his worst season ever, is currently sitting outside the top 10. But the multi-time champ is still in contention for the World Title this year, and J Bay has been good to him in the past. Today was no different. He glided through the chop effortlessly and ended up with the highest heat total of the day, as you'll see in the video below.
The waves are expected to be decent tomorrow, so there should be another great day of surfing ahead.