Lakey Peterson (USA) and Filipe Toledo (BRA) won the Corona Open J-Bay with some of the best waves in the event. The popular seaside town of Jeffrey’s Bay was home to the 9th stop on the World Surf League 2023 Championship Tour, and didn’t disappoint with three-to-five foot surf at Supertubes.
A meaningful win for Peterson
Lakey Peterson is officially back to winning form as she claimed a career-fifth event title on the Championship Tour, her first win since 2019. A legitimate world title threat in 2018 and 2019, the powerful surfer from Santa Barbara suffered a lower-back injury early in 2021 and has since been fighting to find her winning formula again.
“This is my favorite event on the calendar, it’s just special,” Peterson said. “I’m dedicating this to my sister-in-law who we lost this time of year last year so there’s a lot of emotions, it’s really cool. We all work so hard and we’re so competitive but it’s really special when your peers want to celebrate you and they show up for you, it’s a pretty cool community and I don’t know many other sports like that.”
Peterson’s road to the final in South Africa was anything but a walk in the park as she faced some of the toughest draws this week. She successfully dispatched up-and-coming rookie Caitlin Simmers (USA), former runner-up in the world Caroline Marks (USA), and two-time World Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) before beating Molly Picklum (AUS) in the last heat.
“To crack the Quarters was amazing, and it’s bittersweet to get second but to do it against one of my best friends on tour, I’m super happy for her. I’m happy we both had a couple of opportunities to get some waves and put on a performance for the fans in South Africa because they’re super passionate here and we love giving them something to watch.”, said Picklum.
A tough final
Multiple falls and minor scores didn’t stop the American from believing and the powerful regular foot came back in the fight midway through with a 6.27 (out of a possible 10) before catching the best wave of the heat with an excellent 8.50 that secured her victory.
“I just kept working, just kept knocking on the door and trusting the process, it’s hard sometimes,” Peterson explained. “I love J-Bay and it just loved me right back today to be honest. It was a tricky day and it was easy to be on the wrong side of priority when the good waves came, so a bit of luck in there but I’m pretty proud of myself, this was my third final out here so third time’s a charm.”
3 wins for Toledo
The reigning World Champion, and current rankings leader Filipe Toledo continued to demonstrate his superiority with a near-perfect display of progressive, technical surfing in the final against defending event winner Ethan Ewing (AUS). This result marks the Brazilian’s 15th Championship Tour win, and the third win at the famed South African point break after back-to-back wins in 2017 and 2018.
“J-Bay sure has a big place in my heart, I love the vibes here and love the people,” Toledo said. “I couldn’t have done it without the help from my team, those in my corner so thanks to all of them. This is definitely a big confidence boost, knowing I clinched the Final 5, now going to Tahiti with the yellow jersey is extra special.”
His third win in 2023 further cemented Toledo’s spot atop the rankings as the tour heads to the last event of the season before the Rip Curl WSL Finals. Impeccable on the long rights of J-Bay where he surfed to an incredible 18.76 heat total (out of a possible 20) in the final, nothing could stop the Brazilian as he peaked right at the perfect time when it mattered most.
Making the Championship Tour rankings
On finals day surfers waited on confirmation whether they would have a shot at the World Title come the Rip Curl WSL Finals in September. Four of them received the good news, namely Griffin Colapinto (USA), Ethan Ewing (AUS), Molly Picklum (AUS), and Caroline Marks (USA).
Filipe Toledo also joins the group in provisionally qualifying for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 through his ranking on the WSL CT.
“I feel like now this is the top of the top that we can reach for in our sport,” Toledo added. “Winning a World Title there’s no words for that, but to compete as an Olympian is just extra special. I’ll do my best to go there and represent my country, my family and win another medal for Brazil.”
Women’s Championship Tour Rankings following Corona Open J-Bay:
1 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 57,745 points
2 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 55,980
3 – Caroline Marks (USA) 49,870
4 – Molly Picklum (AUS) 49,325
5 – Caitlin Simmers (USA) 41,270
Men’s Championship Tour Rankings following Corona Open J-Bay:
1 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 54,980 points
2 – Ethan Ewing (AUS) 47,815
3 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 47,540
4 – Joao Chianca (BRA) 42,960
5 – Yago Dora (BRA) 36,865
Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Final Results:
1 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 14.70
2 – Molly Picklum (AUS) 13.50
Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Final Results:
1 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.76
2 – Ethan Ewing (AUS) 12.60
The Corona Open J-Bay is proudly supported by Corona, Shiseido, YETI, Surfline, True Surf, Kouga Municipality, and Sealand Gear.