Sport

Women idle as men hit big surf

Defending champion Jordy Smith has been surfing brilliantly at the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay at Supertubes in South Africa.
Defending champion Jordy Smith has been surfing brilliantly at the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay at Supertubes in South Africa. Kelly Cestari

J-BAY pumps for the men but the women are still waiting for waves at Biarritz in the world title races.

The Billabong Pro at Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa, has been pumping, with 10-point rides and perfect waves for the six-star World Qualifying Series event.

Gold Coasters Nathan Hedge and Jack Freestone were on fire in the early rounds but were eliminated on day two of the competition.

Local powerhouse Jordy Smith, who won this competition as a World Championship Tour event last year, is warming as the favourite, with the event expected to wrap up overnight.

Next whistle stop on the ASP World Qualifying tour is the annual US Open at Huntington Beach, California.

As a Prime Rated WQS, Huntington has attracted the likes of Kelly Slater, who is defending champion, plus Coolangatta's Joel Parkinson.

Parko will then head to Hawaii for his maiden Molokai to Oahu Paddle Race from July 29.

The second-last event on the women's ASP World Championship tour, the Roxy Pro at Biarritz, France, has been wave-starved so far, although organisers are expecting a possible start over the weekend.

For the third consecutive day, event officials had to call off competition because of a lack of swell at the main venue of La Côte des Basques in Biarritz.

Wind-affected one- to two-foot surf is breaking on the classic beach break set-up of the event's site today and with a confirmed four- to five-foot northwest swell coming, things are looking up in south-west France.

"We waited all day and there's been a little increase in the swell but it's still not much," ASP Women's World Tour manager Jessi Miley-Dyer said.

"We're looking at bigger waves over the weekend. It's always interesting coming into the last events. Here we obviously have the world title race but we also have girls fighting for rookie of the year and also girls fighting for their careers and qualification, so there's going to be a few little stories played out in the next couple of days and I'm looking forward to watching it."

With a world title on the line in Biarritz, everybody is itching to put on the coloured jersey and battle it out in the water.

Stephanie Gilmore, who is leading the rankings, has a chance to claim her fifth world title this year at the Roxy Pro.

Australia's favourite female surfer had time to acclimatise to the French rhythm during the first three days of the waiting period and is looking forward to paddling out in round one.

"I'm not complaining that we've had a couple days off," Gilmore said.

"It's been nice to get into the French lifestyle and enjoy the place, but yes, it's been a little frustrating. I haven't even free-surfed because it's been so small.

"I have my family here, so we've been doing some tourist stuff, driving around the countryside and having a look at everything. We have been trying our best to stay away from the patisseries but it's just too hard, so we've been enjoying the food and the coffee - you know, the good things."

The women's world title race is between Gilmore and fellow Aussie Sally Fitzgibbons.

Gilmore has a chance to claim her fifth ASP world women's crown with the following scenarios:

If Gilmore wins the Roxy Pro Biarritz, Fitzgibbons needs to finish second to send the world title race to the Nike US Open.

If Gilmore is second at Biarritz, the title race will go to the Nike US Open.

If Gilmore is third in Biarritz, Carissa Moore and Courtney Conlogue (USA), 19, will need to win the Roxy Pro Biarritz to join the race with Gilmore and Fitzgibbons. The race will then be decided at the Nike US Open.

Topics:  asp world tour, billabong pro, sports, surfing, tweed



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