Who Will Win At J-Bay in 2019?

Next stop on the WSL championship tour is Jeffreys Bay, South Africa!

J-Bay is a mirror image of itself. It’s a place where one minute you’re on the best wave of your life and the next you’re fighting off a great white shark. The bay is lined with beachfront mansions and yet a short walk down the road leads to a township known as “The Location” where the poorest of the poor live in shacks cobbled together from scrap timber and corrugated iron.

The symmetry of J-Bay even emerges in the results of previous events where we’ve had 3 back-to-back winners in a row:

  • 2010: Jordy
  • 2011: Jordy
  • 2014: Mick
  • 2016: Mick
  • 2017: Filipe
  • 2018: Filipe

So what will this year have in store and who will win?

We’ve broken down who we think will come 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in both the men’s and women’s events below.

Starting with the men…

3rd)

Kolohe Andino

Country: USA

Current Ranking: #2

Result at J-Bay in 2018: 13th

Kolohe is very much the quiet achiever of the men’s tour. He has been going about his business with style and professionalism and is now sitting in 2nd place overall with little fuss. Kolohe is one of the most technically proficient on tour and will absolutely tear apart the smooth walls of J-Bay.

Key Strengths:

  • Kolohe’s father, Dino Andino, was a prolific professional surfer in the 90’s and so Kolohe spent his childhood surrounded by the world’s best surfers.
  • His technique is textbook perfect and so he can always fall back on clean snaps and cutbacks if the waves get tricky.
  • Has already claimed three podium finishes in 2019.

Possible Weakness:

  • Has never won a WSL event so may be lacking a little confidence.
  Kolohe AndinoSource: Instagram

2nd)

Jordy Smith

Country: South Africa

Current Ranking: #4

Result at J-Bay in 2018: 3rd

Jordy is a class act both in and out of the water. The perennial professional, you can never write Jordy off for any event on the world tour. His big frame and powerful carves are well suited to J-Bay conditions. With the support of the home crowd behind him, it’s hard not to predict a podium finish for Jordy.

 Key Strengths:

  • Jordy has claimed the winner’s trophy at J-Bay on two previous occasions.
  • At 6 feet and 3 inches, Jordy can tear apart even the biggest ocean monster waves;
  • Will be hungry for his first event win after already finishing on the podium 3 times this year.

Possible Weakness:

  • Hasn’t won an event since Bells Beach back in 2017 so hasn’t had that winning feeling in a while.
 Jordy SmithSource: Instagram

1st)

Julian Wilson

Country: Australia

Current Ranking: #9

Result at J-Bay in 2018: 5th

Julian has been the prodigy of Australian surfing ever since he joined the tour in 2011. Julian’s air game is very reliable even when under pressure in a high stakes tour heat. J-Bay wasn’t traditionally known as a wave suitable for airs until Filipe Toldeo completely through the mould out the window with his two alley-oops in one wave to score a perfect 10 in 2017 (watch it here). So Julian’s air game could become useful at J-Bay if the judges start scoring airs favourably.

Coming within a whisker of being world champion last year, Julian knows exactly what it takes to win an event.

Key Strengths:

  • His professional attitude and desire to be world champion means Julian brings sheer determination to every event.
  • While his air game may not have as much flair as some of his Brazilian competitors, Julian consistently lands airs in high pressure situations.
  • After his 5th place finish in Rio, Julian is now back in the top 10 and looking in top form.

Possible Weakness:

  • Hasn’t won a WSL event in 2019 so may be lacking a little confidence.
 Julian WilsonSource: Instagram

And in the women…

3rd)

Sally Fitzgibbons

Country: Australia

Current Ranking: #1

Result at J-Bay in 2018: 13th

We here at Flatrock are massive Sally Fitzgibbons fans. Sally puts absolutely everything in to her training and preparation and so it comes as no surprise to see her ranked at world number 1.

Key Strengths:

  • Being from Gerroa in southern NSW, Sally is accustomed to cold water and big, open ocean waves. So she’ll be very suited to the J-Bay conditions;
  • She will take huge confidence out of her 1st place finish in Rio last month.

Possible Weakness:

  • Sally loves to get barrelled and is always seeking out the tube. However, as we saw in her final against Steph Gilmore in Bali earlier this year, in her desperate bid to get barrelled, Sally missed plenty of other opportunities to score points with manoeuvres on the face of the wave.
 Sally FitzgibbonSource: Instagram

2nd)

Caroline Marks

Country: USA

Current Ranking: #5

Result at J-Bay in 2018: 9th

At age 17, Caroline is the youngest competitor on tour. With two podium finishes already this year, Caroline is a clear contender for the world title in 2019.

Key Strengths:

  • Caroline is full of confidence after her inaugural WSL tournament win at the Gold Coast.
  • Being a goofy footer she may be able to show something a little bit different to the judges being on her backhand on any right-hand waves at J-Bay.
  • At only 17 years of age Caroline is full of energy.

Possible Weakness:

  • Caroline’s lack of experience may cause her to make errors of judgement during her heats.
 Caroline MarksSource: Instagram

1st)

Carissa Moore

Country: Hawaii, USA

Current Ranking: #2

Result at J-Bay in 2018: 9th

Carissa Moore is a true pioneer in women’s surfing. At just 15 years of age Carissa was such a prodigy that she competed in a men’s qualifying tournament event and in her first ever heat scored a perfect 10. Fast forward to 2019 and Carissa has achieved so much in the sport of surfing including 3 world titles, that she is now a force to be reckoned with at any event.

 Key Strengths:

  • Being a born and bred Hawaiian means that Carissa doesn’t shy away from big, heavy waves.
  • With 3 world titles under her belt Carissa knows how to get herself in to the right frame of mind to win.

Possible Weakness:

  • Hasn’t registered an event win in 2019 yet so may be lacking that killer instinct at this point in time.
 Carissa MooreSource: Instagram

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