Jeffreys Bay - The second round of the Supertubes at the Billabong Pro was was competed in great one to two metre surf on Thursday before an onshore breeze started to crumble the faces of the waves and organisers decided to postpone the start the third round.
On an immaculate winter's day when the temperature reached 23 degrees, the sun shone, dolphins cruised through the break and a pod of whales gamboled just outside the surfline, the world's best surfers produced a classic show for the scantily dressed spectators on the beach and the hundreds of thousands of avid surf fans watching online and on Fuel TV globally.
Michel Bourez from Tahiti, nicknamed 'The Spartan' for his powerful physique and surfing style, decimated the long lines of water peeling down the rock-lined point. Punching square bottom turns and throwing sheets of spray as he arched off the lip of the waves, Bourez racked up both the highest single ride score of the event to date, a near perfect 9.30 out of 10, and the highest two-ride heat tally of 17.07 out of 20, to leave Brazilian opponent Raoni Monteiro trailing in his wake.
"That was a really good heat for me," said Bourez, who appeared to have recovered fully from an injury sustained at the last event in Rio de Janeiro.
"My Firewire (surfboard) is working really well. I've been riding it since I arrived in J-Bay and it seems to get better with each surf. It was an important heat for me. I've been building confidence since my injury in Rio and I'm hoping to break through Round 5 at this event."
In a battle of former runners-up, Damien Hobgood defeated fellow American Taylor Knox, while Adam Melling (AUS), last year's losing finalist, showed that was no fluke by producing another strong performance, including an 8.27 point ride, to relegate Brett Simpson (USA) to an early exit from the event.
"With the way the ASP World Rankings are now this becomes an important event for me," Melling said.
"I need a big result here to keep my place up on the rankings and that's certainly the goal."
Heitor Alves (BRA) and Matt Wilkinson (AUS) scored victories for the goofy-foot contingent (those riding with their right foot in front), overcoming Pat Gudauskas (USA) and Chris Davidson (AUS) respectively. Kieren Perrow (AUS), who represents the surfers in decision-making forums, put an end to 2001 ASP World Champion CJ Hobgood's 2011 campaign at Jeffreys Bay.