The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) recently announced a change to its 2014 World Championship Tour (WCT) schedule: They have added a stop at the iconic South African right pointbreak Jeffreys Bay. A screamer of a wave, J-Bay, as it's called, was once a staple of the WCT but was demoted to a qualifying event a few years back.
"It's only fitting that one of the world's premier waves provides the canvas for the world's premier surfers again," said ASP Chief Executive Paul Speaker in a release. "Jeffreys Bay has an incredible heritage with the sport, and the local community has been instrumental in returning the ASP Top 34 to South Africa this season. We're very thankful and we look forward to the 2014 installment of the event."
What Speaker failed to mention was the event that won't be taking place this year—the Oakley Pro Bali. Won last year by Joel Parkinson, the Oakley Pro Bali was marked by insanely progressive surfing on an island steeped in surfing lore. And while it's a bummer to see the event called off, Jeffreys Bay is more than a suitable replacement and has the WCT surfers pretty pumped.
"I am really excited that the event is back on. It's by far the best stop on the tour for quality of high-performance surfing. It's arguably the best righthand point in the world and deserves a spot on the WCT,” said two-time Jeffreys Bay winner Jordy Smith in a release. “I’m proud to be a South African and to have one of the WCT spots be in our backyard. It means a lot to our country and the town of Jeffreys Bay. I’m sure the people are going to be really happy to see the event return."
Of course the South African guy is stoked to compete in his backyard, but what about the other guys on tour?
"Such exciting news about going back to J-Bay," said current ASP world champion Mick Fanning in a release. "The wave is one of my all-time favorites and the place in general is awesome. The people, the animals, the whole area is one of my favorite places on Earth. Can’t wait!"
The Jeffreys Bay event will likely be different from Bali in two primary ways. For one, the progressive, aerial-first types of guys on the WCT are going to suffer, while the more power-based, "meat and potatoes" guys are going to excel. The second primary difference involves the live webcast. Those of us on the West Coast of the U.S. and in Hawaii are going to have to wake up well before dawn to catch the action in South Africa, whereas the Bali event, which came on live at around noon California time, made for an unproductive work day but one hell of a show.
2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour Schedule
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: March 1 – 12, 2014
Margaret River Pro: April 2 – 13, 2014
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: April 16 – 27, 2014
Billabong Rio Pro: May 7 – 18, 2014
Fiji Pro: June 1 – 13, 2014
J-Bay Open: July 10 – 20, 2014
Billabong Pro Tahiti: August 15 – 26, 2014
Hurley Pro at Trestles: September 9 – 20, 2014
Quiksilver Pro France: September 25 – October 6, 2014
Rip Curl Pro Portugal: October 12 – 23, 2014
Billabong Pipeline Masters: December 8 – 20, 2014
Between Bali and Jeffreys Bay, which locale would you prefer to see on the 2014 World Championship Tour? Leave your feedback in the comment section below!
More surfing stories on GrindTV