|Seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) is through to the Quarterfinals after a nerve-racking heat against fellow CT veteran Silvana Lima (BRA). Although sitting with a 6.00 and 7.27 to Lima’s 6.67 and 5.83, the 46-minute heat had Gilmore anxious about the Brasilian’s progressive surfing. Time ran out for Lima with only a 0.77-point advantage going to defending event winner. Gilmore, who is currently No. 3 on the Jeep Leaderboard, will now face Marks, World No. 5, in the opening Quarterfinal matchup.
“The waves are tough out there,” Gilmore said. “It looks like it’s firing, you’re paddling to one and it looks like it’s a 9-point ride then it will race off and do some weird tricky things with the high tide. I never felt like I was comfortable at any one point, so I was quite anxious but I’m really happy I made it. Nerves are a big thing, I enjoy them, they remind you that you are excited about where you are. You just have to channel that energy and put it into good surfing, it makes you switch on.”
Three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) will meet Defay in the second Quarterfinal after dispatching injury replacement Keely Andrew (AUS)in Heat 3, R/16. Defay eliminated No. 7 Weston-Webb in the Round of 16 with an excellent 8.50 and a 7.50.
“I’ve got Duncan Scott in my corner,” said Moore. “He’s a sweetheart. I met him and his family last year. I’m grateful for his help and his heart. I came straight from Brasil and I’m staying with them. I knew coming up against Keely (Andrew) was going to be tough, she grew up surfing pointbreaks so I’m stoked to get into Quarters. I get just as nervous as always, but it just shows that I care.”
Gabriel Medina (BRA) was seen with stitches to his eye after an incident a few days ago while free surfing. The Brasilian seemed unphased in his Round of 32 heat against California’s Griffin Colapinto (USA), who failed to complete a lot of his big maneuvers on crucial waves. Medina will move on to the next round where he will meet Ryan Callinan (AUS).
“I tried an air and the board’s nose hit me straight in the eye,” said Medina. “Fortunately, it wasn’t too bad, it’s just two stitches. Griffin (Colapinto) is a good friend, he’s a really fun guy and he rips. There are waves and they look fun, but they’re kind of hard to surf, and kind of slow, but when you find a good one it’s just so fun. I’m really happy to make it through. I was nervous on that one because I know Griffin and he’s capable of doing anything on a wave. Hopefully the next round gets a little better.”
After injuring his foot at J-Bay in 2017, Kelly Slater (USA) will get a boost of confidence after winning his heat against injury replacement Caio Ibelli (BRA). While both Slater and Ibelli only managed mid-range scores, Slater survived thanks to Ibelli missing his opportunity on some of the best waves. Slater will face Ferreira in the final heat of the men’s Round of 16.
“It’s been a long road coming back, getting that confidence back, learning how to surf heats again, and it just takes a while to get into the flow of things,” said Slater. “It was a strange heat, I wasn’t super patient. Caio (Ibelli) got the better waves but he fell, so I dodged a bullet there.”
The Corona Open J-Bay is Adriano de Souza’s (BRA) second event back to full-time competition after recovering from a sidelining knee injury. Unfortunately for the 2015 WSL Champion, his time in J-Bay will be cut short thanks to World No. 2 Kolohe Andino (USA) in Heat 5, R/32. Andino’s next heat will be against rookie Deivid Silva (BRA), who defeated veteran Jeremy Flores (FRA) in Heat 6 today. Silva recently won the Ballito Pro Qualifying Series event and will hope to bring that momentum against Andino to surpass the Round of 16 for the first time this season.