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A Shark Calls Off J-Bay

“A couple of judges and a ski saw a shark breach twice out the back of the lineup,” said WSL Commish, Kieren Perrow.

news // Jul 19, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

It was just after 4 pm in Africa. Julian Wilson, Jordy Smith and Filipe Toledo surfed a round four heat at the 2017 Corona Open J-Bay. With just over ten minutes left in the affair, somebody attempted the day’s only air. It was a shark about 100 yards outside the lineup. “A couple of judges and a ski saw a shark breach twice about 100 yards outside the lineup,” confirmed WSL Commish, Kieren Perrow. 

JBayOpen AlanvanGysen 1410

This feels like a very anticlimactic July 19th, 2015.

The heat was immediately called off. Julian, Jordy and Filipe all made it — via wave or water safety — to the beach safely. Upon review, it was suspected to be a mako shark, which are not known to be particularly aggressive towards humans. A pow-wow was had and it was decided to not take any risks and call it off for the day. See ya in the morning, folks. 

JBayOpen AlanvanGysen 1516

Filipe Toledo had heard sharks are attracted to yellow. Is he mocking them with that chartreuse hairdo?

Now, what do they do with the heat? If the conditions look very similar in the morning, they’ll start back up with the same time on the clock and the same scores. If not, they’ll re-surf the same heat. Jordy was in the lead with a high score of a 7.17 — not huge, but not a bad way to start a 10-minute heat in which nobody else has a substantial score. 

JBayOpen AlanvanGysen 1499

Conner Coffin and the only visual explanation of a shark breach possible.

Also, something to note: If Kelly Slater wasn’t injured, he would have surfed his heat, which would have pushed the entire schedule back a heat. If that was the case, Mick Fanning would have been in the water when the shark breached.

JBayOpen AlanvanGysen 1521

“Julian Wilson’s mom with his brother Bart are here and got to see all the ‘action’,” says photog Alan van Gysen.

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