Claiming = Winning - Stab Mag

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Can't be a coincidence. Photo: WSL

Claiming = Winning

Ethan Ewing proves the rule and Tatiana Weston-Webb breaks a 4-billion year curse!

news // Jul 15, 2022
Words by Pedro Ramos
Reading Time: 7 minutes

TGIF

It’s finissage time!

TLDR

  • Tatiana Weston-Webb becomes the first female goofyfooter to win J-Bay
  • Ethan Ewing throws his first claim and wins his first CT event
  • Jack Robinson secures a spot in the Final 5
  • Italo goes for broke and injures himself
A spectacular day to cap off a spectacular event. Photo: WSL

Overview

Following a runner-up finish in Brazil, Samuel Pupo meets Jack Robinson in the first Quarterfinal of the day. Luke Egan says something about the conditions favoring turns, not barrels. Out of earshot, Robinson gets barreled twice on the same wave for his first consequential score and eventual heat win. 

A pre-recorded piece ​​— voiced over by absentee Joe Turpel — announces Robinson as one of the Trestles finalists in September. 

No stranger to tapering cold water rights, Kanoa Igarashi warmed up slowly to the J-Bay walls against Italo Ferreira, who brought out the first fist pumps of the morning for a 6.00. 

The last time this board was seen unblemished. Photo: WSL

Kanoa’s leash breaks and his board appears to reach shore unscathed. A heartwarming scene of a grom picking up the board takes an unexpected turn when he abruptly drops it onto the jagged, barnacle-covered rocks. His pain was collectively felt by a global audience, proving that our connection goes beyond flags, coastlines, or literage preference. 

Whilst Kanoa runs around to the keyhole, Italo gets caught inside by the biggest set of the day, but eventually manages to connect a set wave from the point all the way to the inside section, for consecutive under-the-lip hacks. Double fist pumps for a 9.00.

Needing a 7.91, Kanoa took off on a wave that shouldn’t have given him what he was looking for, but ended up running for ages. Of note was a high-speed aggressive hack and inside barrel, which he claimed before landing a final section speedrun floater into the flats. More claiming. Advances fair and square with an 8.33.

On the beach, an injured Ferreira limps while nursing his lower back. Chances of a surfboard being stomped are very slim at this stage.

It’s not yet clear how serious the injury is, but Italo was reportedly suffering severe back spasms. Photo: WSL

Connor O’Leary loses to Yago Dora, one of the in-form surfers of the event. Yago’s impressive vertical attack to airdrop on the inside section speaks volumes to what is possible at J-Bay on your backhand. Regardless of scores, Yago’s no-grab air reverse, on a down-the-line point break wave with offshore winds, looked every bit intentional and controlled. It does leave you wondering how this season could’ve gone for him had he not been injured for the greater part of it.

As the sun came up, the kinks and bumps on the water surface evened out, and J-Bay looked more like herself for the morning’s most anticipated heat: an underwhelming clash between point maestros Ethan Ewing and Jordy Smith, who spent more time paddling or duckdiving than getting their rails wet. 

In the women’s first Semi, Tyler Wright dominated her heat, putting non-morning person Stephanie Gilmore back to bed. 

You hate to see it (unless you bet on Tati). Photo: WSL

The following Semifinal saw longtime fan of the tactical ambush, Tatiana Weston-Webb, trapping Carissa Moore with an interference call. The smile on her face couldn’t hide the relief of breezing past the ranking’s leader. All is fair in love and war, and in the words of 7-time world champ and Queen of Cool, Steph Gilmore: “This is a war, you have to find a way to win it, and do it at all cost.”.

Visibly rattled, Carissa couldn’t find her bearings and Tati advanced with a 9.60 heat total.

In the men’s Semis, Jack Robinson ended Kanoa Igarashi’s run in a heat that saw exciting rides and sub-par fist pumps. Jack came in for a board change, bailing the damaged one behind him to the delight of local groms, then sprinting barefoot over the same exposed rock shelf where Gabriel Medina chose to wear sneakers for comfort in 2019.

Ethan Ewing beat Yago Dora in Semifinal 2. His flawless opening ride (no claim) was a 9 in Kelly Slater’s opinion. The judges concurred and rewarded him with a 9.07. Yago put on a stellar performance, but the best man won. Ewing makes his first ever final in a wave tailor-made to his approach.

Even a tail-high rotor couldn’t free Yago from Ewing’s clutches. Photo: WSL

Come-ups

Peak performance: Ethan Ewing, SF H2 & Final
Hit replay: Ethan Ewing (17.04) vs. Yago Dora (16.87), SF H2
Monster maneuver: Yago’s down the line no-grab air reverse @ 03:23 in QF H3
One-liner: “Who are you pointing to?” – Slater questions Robbo’s claiming style 

What Tatiana failed to show in her heat against Carissa was certainly compensated in her final against Tyler Wright, who delivered, but was left with little to stop such a dominant performance. Tati’s 9-point ride was especially courageous and earned her the first-ever goofyfoot win by a female surfer at Jeffrey’s Bay, breaking a 4-billion year curse.

Surfing his third final this year, Jack Robinson was off to an aggressive start with an 8.83, which Ethan Ewing responded to with a precise and powerful two-turn combo for a 7.67. Ethan surfed out of his skin for a 9.13 where he let loose what might’ve been his first ever claim. His excitement was obvious, and Jack’s efforts — including a stealthy, minimal paddle take-off under priority — were insufficient to flip the result. Ethan solidifies his Final 5 position with only one event remaining before the title showdown at Lowers.

P.S.: It is well worth revisiting Ethan, Jack and Yago’s performances throughout the entire event.

Cleanest lines in the game. Perhaps ever? Photo: WSL

Let-downs

Caught behind: Uncreative claims
Blind mice: Score discrepancies across the judging panel
Say what?: “Don’t you just wanna scoop him up in your arms and wrap him in some cotton wool?” – Rosy Hodge referring to an injured Italo.

Not really Rosy, we don’t.

Claims should never become to the WSL what bandanas are to Stab Highway. Surfing is a lot of fun, and oftentimes containing one’s excitement after a ride is difficult. But for the sake of our youth, forced score-wrenching claims should have no place in competitive surfing. One cannot help but notice that Ethan Ewing’s first-ever aquatic spasm (that we know of) also coincided with his first win. A scary precedent.

Judges were stern but fair throughout the entire event. Still — under the presence of a head judge — it is somewhat confusing that there can be such a gap between individual judges’ scores, e.g. Yago Dora’s 8.70 in SF 2 saw Brazilian and South African judges awarding him an 8.2 and a 9.2 respectively. 

Jack almost always gets the score. Today he did not. Photo: WSL

Miscellanea

During the Men’s semifinals, Kelly Slater joined the commentary team, where he addressed matters such as wave quality this year: “waves have been substandard” (except for the event he won), betting on Fantasy Surfing, and the genesis of his vlog.

His technical knowledge and anecdotal accounts, accrued over a very long career in professional surfing, proved to be not only entertaining, but a very insightful addition to the commentary team.

In this day and age, he might just be a more valuable asset in the booth, rather than surfing heats he shows little interest in.

Jeff appreciation post, with a little Koa Rothman ad to boot. Photo: WSL

Gamble Ramble

The house always wins. 

Mikey C’s 5-event win streak made us believe that maybe, possibly, we could get one over on the Betonline.ag gods. This is surfing, after all — we must be able to pick heat winners better than some number nerds in Vegas. 

Well, Mikey started trending in the wrong direction in Brazil, and things have gotten much, much worse in South Africa. After winning just five bets in this entire comp, Mikey coughed up a significant chunk of his earnings from earlier in the season. 

What are the odds he’ll have anything left by Lowers? We’re giving him -125. 

Event winner picks:
– $20 on Kanoa Igarashi at +1400 LOST
– $30 on Stephanie Gilmore at +600 LOST
– $50 on Jordy Smith at +800 LOST

Day 3 picks
– $40 on Kanoa Igarash at +125 to win $50 WON

– $50 on Steph Gilmore at – 125 to win $40 LOST
– $40 on Connor O’Leary at +100 to win $40 LOST
– $100 on Ethan Ewing at -110 to win $90 WON

Day 3 earnings: -$50
Event earnings: -$249
2022 season earnings: $850

Here;s to an exceptional event, and two surfing first. Photo: WSL

Results

Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Final Results:
1 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 17.50
2 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.67 

Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Final Results:
1 – Ethan Ewing (AUS) 16.80 
2 – Jack Robinson (AUS) 16.30

Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Semifinal Results:
HEAT 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.26 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.00
HEAT 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 9.60 DEF. Carissa Moore (HAW) 5.50

Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Semifinal Results:
HEAT 1: Jack Robinson (AUS) 15.80 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.17
HEAT 2: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 17.04 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 16.87

Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Quarterfinal Results: 
HEAT 1: Jack Robinson (AUS) 12.83 DEF. Samuel Pupo (BRA) 7.83
HEAT 2: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 15.43 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.00
HEAT 3: Yago Dora (BRA) 15.00 DEF. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 10.83
HEAT 4: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 11.50 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 7.03

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