After a pair of lay days, there’s some promising swell expected to head into Jeffreys Bay tonight and into Saturday, which will hopefully allow for the completion of the J-Bay Open this weekend. Just 12 surfers remain in the hunt and though Keanu Asing is the only one left from Hawaii, there are some highly anticipated matchups to keep an eye on.
Round four will showcase Gabriel Medina, Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater against one another in a non-elimination heat. The 15 world titles between them — with Slater owning 11 — makes this one of the most accomplished trios in the sport.
Asing will take on Michel Bourez, who is returning from a back injury and picked up a come-from-behind win over Bede Durbidge in round three, as well as Alejo Muniz, who just won the Ballito Pro before the start of J-Bay. One more heat win would give Asing the best result of his Championship Tour career and he’s already guaranteed at least an equal ninth.
But while the action at J-Bay has been a bit on the slow side, the Qualifying Series has seen a few rounds completed at the Murasaki Shonan Open in Kanagawa, Japan. Kauai’s Dylan Goodale, who happens to be one of the most entertaining follows on Instagram, is into the final 32 at Shonan and headlines a group of six young Hawaii surfers remaining. Goodale has been on more of the free surf circuit this year and is only in his second QS contest of the season.
He took a heat win in the fourth round, unfortunately knocking out Ulu Napeahi in the process. He’ll be taking on another Hawaii surfer in round five when his foursome includes Ian Gentil, as well as France’s Tristan Guilbaud and Japan’s Ryota Matsushita.
Kauai’s Kaimana Jaquias was unable to join Goodale in round five, taking a third place behind Ian Crane and Japan’s Yujiro Tsuji in the fourth round for an equal 33rd result.
But Kylen Yamakawa, Kekoa Cazimero, Kaito Kino and Makai McNamara all remain in the hunt when action resumes, hoping to add a few more points to their qualification resume as the 2015 season progresses. American Kanoa Igarashi must be considered one of the favorites to pick up the title. He entered the event ranked 26th on the QS leaderboard after a fifth-place finish at the Ballito Pro.
And there just may be some big wave craziness heading to South America next week. The WSL Big Wave Tour officially put out the yellow alert for the Billabong Pico Alto in Peru. Surfline’s swell model shows 20 to 30-foot faces with the largest sets coming in at 35 to 40 feet.
Defending event champion and Big Wave world champ Makuakai Rothman already has a significant summer schedule lined up, but he could get things off to a sweet start if he can notch another title in Peru. Next month, he’ll be grabbing his guitar and heading to the mainland to do a few concerts on the east coast with Donavon Frankenreiter.