|“You just got to take it wave-by-wave,” said Smith. “I think my style suits this wave. I grew up surfing lots and lots of right-hand point breaks. I think that molds a lot of the South African surfers’ styles and I think it suits Jeffreys Bay pretty good.”
Wildcards De Vries and Buitendag were unable to find the waves skip the Elimination Round. De Vries came up against opponents Kolohe Andino (USA)and Yago Dora (BRA). Although only mid-range scores sufficed for No. 2 Andino and CT sophomore Dora, De Vries failed to secure the 4.84 to advance and will surf again against Ryan Callinan (AUS) and Jack Freestone (AUS) in Elimination Round 2, Heat 1.
“I was really nervous sitting out there knowing this heat could actually go flat for the remaining 20 minutes,” said Andino. “I was really happy that wave came and I’m stoked I went too because it looked like another one was going to come and then there wasn’t, I got lucky. I’m stoked, the position I’m at this year is really rad, I’m excited to be at J-Bay and just surfing long lines, taking it heat-by-heat and just really excited for my Round 3 heat. I’ve done a lot of work on these types of waves and unfortunately at Bells, I didn’t get to showcase it so hopefully, here I can.”
Buitendag fell to World No. 1 Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) in the final heat of the day (Seeding Round 1, Heat 3). Buitendag missed the 4.80-requirement to Fitzgibbons’ 12.60 and 10.30 and will surf again in Elimination Round 2. Fitzgibbons marches on with the goal to surpass her 13th-place result from J-Bay last year.