Johannesburg – South Africa's Jordy Smith was eliminated from the J-Bay Open as the sixth leg of the 2014 ASP World Championship Tour ran through rounds three and four in Jeffreys Bay.
He was joined on the sidelines by 11th time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater of the US and current ASP World number-two Tahitian Michel Bourez as variable winds and big tidal changes affected the three to five foot (1 to 1.5 metre) waves.
Smith Ä whose first-round heroics still stand as the highest heat total of the competition so far Ä had a shaky start to his encounter with former ASP World Champion CJ Hobgood.
The two-time defending event champion posted a couple of throwaway scores after the American had opened with mid-range rides.
A 5.13 and an 8.0 score midway through the heat briefly gave Smith the lead but a pair of 7.0's by Hobgood left the South African needing a 6.17 going into the final minutes.
A crucial final exchange followed and it was the American, who came out on top with Smith left a mid-range score short of the win and bowing out of the event in equal 13th place.
“Jordy (Smith) takes off on a wave and the whole beach erupts, and I was just trying to keep myself motivated. I'm stoked,” said Hobgood.
Australian goofy-footer Matt Wilkinson, fresh from a second-place finish at the ASP Qualification Series Prime event, the Pro Ballito, caused the first big upset of the day when defeated Kelly Slater in their round-three clash.
A pair of nine-point rides from the Australian were sufficient to put the four-time J-Bay event winner in a combination situation.
After uncharacteristically slipping off his board in the closing minutes, Slater left the competition in equal 13th place.
Wilkinson went on to win his round-four heat against Adriano de Souza of Brazil and American Kolohe Andino to earn a place in the quarterfinals.
“It's so hard to beat anyone out here at J-Bay,” said Wilkinson.
“I knew I needed to catch good waves against Kelly and I'm stoked to make it through.”
Two-time J-Bay Open winner Joel Parkinson battled fellow Australian Adam Melling in the first heat of the day and chalked up his sixth victory out of 10 duels with his compatriot.
Parkinson went on to claim victory once again in the fourth round against compatriots Josh Kerr and Taj Burrow with his 18th WCT heat win of the 2014 season securing a pass directly to the quarterfinals.
Brazil's Alejo Muniz grabbed his first quarterfinal berth of the 2014 season by overcoming current Michel Bourez in round three.
He then outscored three-time and reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning of Australia and Hobgood in round four.
The fourth quarterfinal slot went to Australian Owen Wright, who upset Hawaiian John John Florence in his first clash of the day.
Wright then claimed victory in an all-goofyfoot matchup with current ASP World number-one Gabriel Medina of Brazil and Hawaiian standout Fredrick Patacchia. – Sapa