The WSL Corona Open starts next week on the shores of Jeffrey's Bay in South Africa, with the event window starting on July 2nd and running through to July 13th.
The Championship tour is already half way through the year as we head West to South Africa, after the last two contests were held in Indonesia. Italo Ferreira claimed CT event number four in Bali, clearly beating Michel Bourez in the final with two nine point scoring waves. After 12 years on the qualifying series circuit, Willian Cardoso finally got his chance in 2018 as he qualified for the WSL Championship Tour. It only took five events for him to claim his first CT at Uluwatu in Bali, Indonesia. In medium size waves the Brazilian beat the top of the standings leader Julian Wilson. The overall rankings are pretty tight between the top three contenders. Julian Wilson leads the pack and is 1000 points clear of second position Filipe Toledo. Toledo was knocked out in the quarters in both contests in Indonesia but remains very consistent for the year. Despite two CT victories this year Italo Ferreira is still third in the rankings. After winning the event in Bali, Ferreira was knocked out in the third round by countrymen Michael Rodriques.
This will mark the 20th anniversary in which J-Bay has been part of the ASP/WSL. In the past this event has been dominated by the US and Australia, but things have shifted in the past five years with two back to back wins by local hero Jordy Smith. Last year also marked the first win by a Brazilian with Filipe Toledo creating history. Without a doubt Kelly Slater has been the most consistent J-Bay with four victories with his last coming way back in 2008. With Kelly Slater part time surfing on tour and the retirement of Mick Fanning, a new generation has began at J-Bay with the likes of Wilson, Ferreira and Toledo now running favourites to take out the J-Bay event.
Jeffrey's Bay can be a test of stamina with possible half a kilometre rides that combines with hollow sections and perfect right handed faces. This year Julian Wilson is favourite to win this event, Wilson has one CT win this year and came runners-up with the event in Uluwatu. He has been the most consistent surfer so far this year and perfectly suits J-Bay with his strength and versatile. Wilson will team up against veteran Joel Parkinson and wildcard Matthew McGillivray in round one. The way the top ranked surfers are surfing at the moment it's hard to see a roughy coming through and spoiling the party especially at an establishment like Jeffrey's Bay. If likely Michel Bourez is having a great year ranked in sixth place, the Polynesian native has been knocked out in the fifth round the last two years. Gabriel Medina is again a quiet achiever this year, now in fourth position the goofy footer is yet to win J-Bay but has made the quarters and the semifinals in the last two years.
With the event kicking off in the next couple of days make sure you tune into the Corona J-Bay Open.
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