13 February, 2014 13 February, 2014

J-Bay Open Of Surfing Gets An Upgrade To 5A

One of last year’s raddest events, the Jeffeys Bay Open of Surfing, is back on for 2014.

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Taking centre stage at the J-Bay WinterFest, which sprung up in lieu of the Billabong Pro Dream Tour event that took place annually in July, the surfing showpiece has now been awarded a 5A PST rating.

That’s the highest rating a local surf event can attain, and it opens the event up for even more Saffa shredders to compete at our country’s best pointbreak.

Last year’s winner, Greg Emslie, was in rhythm with Supertubes.

The J-Bay WinterFest will also feature competitions for various other sporting codes, like skateboarding, motor racing and even fishing, and is expected to attract an influx of spectators to the Eastern Cape town – which over the years has come to rely on tourists during holiday season to keep many businesses operating. Good news all round.

Here are some highlights from last year’s J-Bay Open of Surfing to get you amped for this year’s event, which has been set to run from 10 – 20 July.

Also, check out our gallery featuring highlights and special moments from last year’s event.

Official press release below.



2013 J-Bay Open of Surfing winners, Nikita Robb and Greg Emslie, will be looking to defend their titles.

The organisers of the J-Bay WinterFest have announced that the 2014 festival will be held from 10 – 20 July this year.

The exciting news is that the J-Bay Open of Surfing has been upgraded to a 5A PST (Professional Surf Tour) event, which is the highest rating a local surf event can attain.

The expanded J-Bay Open will include a junior division that will run from 10 – 13 July and serve as trails for the main event, which will take place from 16 – 20 July.

The contest has been sanctioned by Surfing South Africa, who is totally supportive of the efforts of the JBU Surf Club to host a top quality surf event in Jeffreys Bay.

The demise of the Billabong Pro would have had a severe impact on the economy of Jeffreys Bay had the local surf community not decided to stage a winter festival during July, with a surf contest as the anchor event.

There is no WCT event in South Africa anymore, making it harder for professional surfers like Jordy Smith to win a world title, as they have no home ground advantage and have to travel to World Tour events in other parts of the world.

Losing the Billabong Pro had an impact on Jeffreys Bay in terms of the media exposure the event gave to the town.

20 – 30 international media crews used to descend on Jeffreys Bay and the surrounding areas and gave massive exposure to the Eastern Cape.

Local ripper, Steven Sawyer, will be hoping to make the most of his ‘home court advantage’.

However, the J-Bay WinterFest, with multiple sports codes, has attracted a different tourist market to town and many businesses reported better turnovers during July last year, when compared to the previous July.

“The aim of the WinterFest was to ensure that Jeffreys Bay would never again be dependent on one sport code in the winter holidays, which is what happened when the Billabong Pro still existed,” said Koffie Jacobs, the organiser of the festival.

“When the ASP pulled the Billabong Pro from their tour, we got the JBU club members together and once we realised that just between ourselves we could hold a multiple sports festival with every code being on the extreme side, we knew we had a formula that would work,” added Jacobs.

Last year’s WinterFest saw a highly popular skate event that included a night longboarding division, a Mountain Bike race and an Enduro through the outlaying farms.

A trail run through the Kabeljous Nature Reserve was held, as well as an open water swim in icy 12 degree water in Marina Martinique and a very popular fishing competition at Kabeljous beach.

The VW Rally, after a long absence from Jeffreys Bay, ended off the 2013 WinterFest.

The VW Rally is part of the JBay WinterFest.

The J-Bay Open of Surfing was the anchor event of the WinterFest last year and the upgrade to a 5A PST rating will see more surfers being given the opportunity of surfing Supertubes.

Many of J-Bay’s up and coming youngsters will be in the mix in the Junior division, giving the J-Bay Open much more of a local flavour.

The goal of the WinterFest, which has the full backing of the Kouga Council, is to bring families to town and offer them plenty of activities to participate in and to provide entertainment for all.

Jolly Dolphin will be holding a Music Festival this year so participants as well as spectators can play hard during the day and party by night.

Any sports codes wanting more information about the J-Bay WinterFest can contact koffie@silverbullet.co.za


  1. Kobus
    13 February, 2014 at 7:40 pm · Reply

    From creating some order in the line up by Supers 20 years ago to pulling it off when Billabong bailed the JBU is the real deal

  2. Llewellyn Whittaker
    14 February, 2014 at 4:23 am · Reply

    How exciting for SA Surfers!!!!!1

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