Fanning shows no signs of fear in opening round J-Bay victory

Mick Fanning showed no signs of fear as he stormed into round three of the J-Bay Open on Wednesday.

The Gold Coast Champion was first to hit the water at Supertubes in South Africa, in what was the first time donning the competitors jersey since the infamous shark encounter at the same event last year.

Despite battling an ankle complaint, the three-time World Champion looked confident and claimed a solid victory over Alejo Muniz and Conner Coffin.


Fanning found a classic Jeffreys Bay wave, one of the longest rides of the day, for a 7.50 to secure his win, while his opponents were unable to find the back-up scores required to challenge the Australian.

“It’s been a big week actually,” said Fanning.

“I got here early but then hurt my ankle so had to sit on the sidelines and watch the amazing waves go through. The medical staff have worked wonders and I’ve got it taped up. I feel good when I’m up and riding and each day my ankle gets better and better. It’s great to get back out there.”

Fellow Australian Julian Wilson looked untouchable in the penultimate heat of Round 1 and delivered the day’s biggest scores.

Wilson showed skillful wave selection and earned two excellent nine-point rides for a combination of barrels and carves. His near-perfect 18.77 heat total sees him move directly to Round 3, while his opponents Nat Young and Gold Coast rookie Jack Freestone will surf again in elimination Round 2 when competition resumes.

“It’s so nice out there today, there’s plenty of swell on the opening day and it’s incredible to be back,” said Wilson.

“It’s one of the best heats I’ve had all year and the conditions are really nice. I’m just enjoying the waves here and it feels good to have a strong heat.”

2016 CT Rookies Davey Cathels and Kanoa Igarashi delivered big upsets today, both winning through their Round 1 heats and advancing directly to Round 3.

Cathels defeated No. 1 on the Jeep Leaderboard and fellow Aussie Matt Wilkinson in Round 1 sending him to elimination Round 2 where he managed to secure victory.

While Igarashi beat Hawaiian superstar John John Florence in Round 1 but he also managed to secure a spot in round 3 later in the day.

Organisers are hopeful they can finish the final heats of round 2 later today.

Surfline, official forecaster for the World Surf League, are calling for:

Medium size SW swell mix prevails Wednesday along with very strong offshore flow, before trending down Thursday and into Friday morning as wind eases significantly. A potentially larger SW swell could move in for the weekend of the 9th-10th, although wind conditions do look more problematic with at least some periods of onshore flow. At this point the early to middle part of next week looks pretty slow, with some fun to possibly mid size SW swell around the last three days of the waiting period.

J-Bay Open Round 2 Upcoming Match-Ups:
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 6: Nat Young (USA) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 8: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 9: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 12: Dusty Payne (HAW) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS)