Stab Magazine | Fanning Owns The J-Bay Open
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Fanning Owns The J-Bay Open

Story by Craig Jarvis Mick Fanning is your 2014 J-Bay Open champion after a gruelling day of surfing in pumping 8-foot Supers surf. It’s going to be hard to surpass the J-Bay Open. Put the best surfers in the world out amongst some of the best waves in the world, on the day of the year, and you’re […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Story by Craig Jarvis

Mick Fanning is your 2014 J-Bay Open champion after a gruelling day of surfing in pumping 8-foot Supers surf.

It’s going to be hard to surpass the J-Bay Open. Put the best surfers in the world out amongst some of the best waves in the world, on the day of the year, and you’re going to get inspiration. Still, Mick had to grind his way through to the final, surfing 4 heats on his way to a win. “It’s what we train for, big days like today,” said an elated Mick, breaking down his day. “You kick out of a wave and you see lines as far as you look. We are just so lucky to have scored waves like this, to be able to surf waves like this in an event.”

Mick opened the final with a 9-point ride, just after the siren, and it was game on. Parko was in it the whole way, getting multiple barrels and looking smooth, but it was Mick who dominated and played a tactical game for the win. “Yeah, I made some mistakes in the final,” said Joel. “Mick was ripping, and is such a good tactician. Well done to him.”

After much online chatter hyping the arrival of the swell, the day started depressingly slowly. We could see the sets before first-light, slowly moving down the point. Surfers were filing out the keyhole on dark. The rain was pouring. The offshore wind was sending plumes of spray into the air. The sun started rising, and before we knew it the 4-foot sets became 8-foot sets, hundreds of dolphins surfed down the point, and the biggest whale ever seen in the area came cruising into the line-up. It was the morning of the fucking earth.

When the contest got going however, it was underwhelming. The 5th round surfers weren’t getting it right, going for close-outs, getting stuck at the top, choosing the low road and not making sections. Poor wave selection combined with a bit of a high tide, rain-affected lump and eight-foot rides were being awarded three and four-point scores. Then Fanning paddled out against Freddy P, chose a higher line, was less frantic, more considered. Longer turns. Smoother carves. The experienced Fanning showed the way.

Parko and Adriano had a fun encounter in their first quarter. Parko started off the heat by sitting way up the top, after everyone had been surfing the Carpark section. Despite sets landing on his head from the outset, his positioning worked in his favour.

Taj fell to the giant-killer in Wilko, as endless waves, most of them empty, poured down the point. It was the best day the new ASP had seen, and Wilko was all smiles about it. “It’s one of the best waves in the world and it’s as good as it gets out there,” said Wilko after his win. “You take off and it’s so fast and it just feels so good. There’s no better feeling. It’s by far the best I’ve ever seen it here.”

The next Australian goofy-footer to stand to attention was Owen Wright, who took out world number 1 seed Gabriel Medina in their quarter. “There are just so many good waves out there,” said Owen. “I just wanted to calm it all down and get the good waves.”

J-Bay of old was back, as were the gents who rode them, with Occy and Curren surfing in the Heritage Series. A bootied-up Curren was looking smooth, carving and cruising along the walls. He snuck into a medium set and after a few set-up carves, it opened up and he backdoored a deep section. Unbelievably, he emerged after a good few seconds, and even more unbelievably he claimed it, with many people calling it his first claim ever. He was gifted 8 points for the ride and 2 for the claim, won the heat and had Occy combo’d throughout. “I got a little bit carried away there,” Tom deadpanned of his claim afterwards.

Despite an inspired performance from Wilko in the first semi-final, it was all about Parko. With a 10-point ride and an 8.83 secured, the first finalist was an Australian natural-footed, former champion.

In the second semi Mick had the best body language out there, following up from his earlier smooth performances. Owen was hungry for a return to his 2011 career-high and fought hard, picked up a solid set towards the end to fight out of combo, but it was all Mick’s show. The second finalist was an Australian natural-footed, former champion.

The final belonged to Mick, his barrels, and his rail turns were sublime and the 10,000-strong crowd stood staring like slack-jawed yokels at the freak of nature that is Supertubes as she put on the best display of the year, while the rest of the world watched through their screens. It’s going to be hard to beat the whole setup, the waves, the vibe, and the situation. J-Bay just took over the ASP and is going to own it for a while.

 

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