JEFFREYS BAY, Eastern Cape, South Africa (Tuesday, July 11, 2022) – The Corona Open J-Bay, Stop No. 9 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2023 Championship Tour (CT), will be all about perfect waves and the high-pressure scenarios of clinching a spot in the WSL Final 5. The event holds a competition window from Thursday, July 13, through Saturday, July 22, 2023.
Time is running out for the contenders to rise up the rankings as only two events remain ahead of the Rip Curl WSL Finals. A changing of the guard is evident as new names fill in the Top 5 spots. The long, fast wave of Jeffreys Bay will be a test of stamina and performance and could shake up the rankings once again.
Fresh and Familiar Faces Hold Top Five Spots Going into J-Bay
Going into J-Bay, the current Top 5 men and women consist of new contenders and familiar faces. Reigning World Champion and current World No. 1 Filipe Toledo (BRA), and defending event winner Ethan Ewing (AUS) made the Final 5 last year and are close to doing so again.
After his first career CT event win in Brazil, Yago Dora (BRA) climbed all the way up to No. 5 on the rankings and is now in World Title contention. Joao Chianca (BRA) has been having a breakthrough year and is currently sitting at No. 4. This will be his first CT event at J-Bay.
After making three-consecutive Final appearances, Griffin Colapinto (USA) had an early round loss in Brazil, which moved him to second on the rankings. With two events left before the Rip Curl WSL Finals, he is within reach of clinching a spot in the WSL Final 5 for the first time. Colapinto will first be up against Liam O’Brien (AUS) and 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in Heat 3 of the men’s Opening Round.
“I feel like my surfing suits J-Bay really well so I’m super excited,” said Colapinto. “I’ve grown up on right-hand point breaks. So from surfing a lot of similar waves, I feel like J-Bay is one of my strong suits. I’m just enjoying all the moments and hopefully, I do well.”
Five-time World Champion and current World No. 1 Carissa Moore (HAW) is the only woman in the current Top 5 who has participated in the Rip Curl WSL Finals. Two-Time World Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) sits closely behind her in second place. This is the first time Wright has been in World Title contention in the last five years. Rising stars Caroline Marks (USA), Molly Picklum (AUS), and Caitlin Simmers (USA), make up 3rd, 4th, and 5th on the rankings, respectively.
At the beginning of the season, Simmer’s goal was to make the Mid-season Cut. She is now in the Top 5 after winning her second CT event of the season in Brazil and could have a shot at a World Title. This will be her maiden CT event at J-Bay. She will make her debut in the first heat of the women’s Opening Round alongside Picklum and Gabriela Bryan (HAW).
“It feels good to be in the Top 5 and have some more confidence going into this event, I kind of needed it,” said Simmers. “It takes a lot to never be home but it’s rewarding when you do well. I just want to do some high-lines and enjoy it. I’ve seen a lot of good waves there, the place looks super insane. Hopefully, we get good waves. I’m looking forward to it.”
WSL One Ocean and Partners Host Cleanup, Environmental Education, and Surf Therapy Session Ahead of Corona Open J-Bay
For the Corona Open J-Bay, WSL teamed up with WSL PURE grantee JBay Surf Alliance and Sentinel Ocean Alliance for a beach cleanup, environmental education, and surf therapy session. The J-Bay Surf Alliance is a collaborative program working towards creating a cleaner, more positive future by combining mental health support, physical activity, and environmental stewardship. With the support of the grant from WSL PURE, JBay Surf Alliance is creating a powerful synergy that promotes healing, empowers communities, and safeguards precious coastal treasures for future generations.
For more information about WSL One Ocean, please visit WSLOneOcean.org.
Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Opening Round Matchups:
Heat 1: Molly Picklum (AUS) vs. Caitlin Simmers (USA) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW)
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Sarah Baum (RSA)
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
Heat 4: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW)
Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Opening Round Matchups:
Heat 1: Joao Chianca (BRA) vs. Barron Mamiya (HAW) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
Heat 2: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Rio Waida (INA)
Heat 3: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Liam O’Brien (AUS) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Adin Masencamp (RSA)
Heat 5: Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Ian Gentil (HAW)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Callum Robson (AUS)
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Matthew McGillivray (RSA)
Heat 8: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) vs. Jordy Smith (RSA)
Watch LIVE: Corona Open J-Bay
The Corona Open J-Bay holds a competition window from July 13, through July 22, 2023. Once called on, the competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Check out more ways to watch from the WSL’s broadcast partners. For fans watching in Brazil, coverage of the competition’s Quarterfinals and beyond will continue exclusively on WorldSurfLeague.com and SporTV.
The Corona Open J-Bay is proudly supported by Kouga Municipality, Corona, Shiseido, YETI, Surfline, Ture Surf, Kouga Municipality, and Sealand Gear.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.