Stab Magazine | Mostly Jordy Smith on day one at the J-Bay Open

Mostly Jordy Smith on day one at the J-Bay Open

Story by Craig Jarvis Geez it felt good to be back at J-Bay. The waves for day one were phenomenal, Kelly was in attendance for a change (there were no waves in Fiji) and he was ripping, and Jordy upped the performance bar yet again. A day of firing surf at Supers is a lot […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Story by Craig Jarvis

Geez it felt good to be back at J-Bay. The waves for day one were phenomenal, Kelly was in attendance for a change (there were no waves in Fiji) and he was ripping, and Jordy upped the performance bar yet again. A day of firing surf at Supers is a lot to digest, so many golden moments, so many turns, so much of brilliance. Here’s six of the best from day one…

1. Kelly Slater’s Perspective.
Despite the lack of stickers on his board, Kelly Slater was still in total synch with Supers, and with his local fans. Arriving late last night, Kelly paddled out today and just started doing amazing stuff. His first wave was a smooth racetrack, and his next wave was a clean and totally spontaneous air that he pulled off successfully before attempting a second alley oop and falling.

Kelly, local pals. Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar

Kelly, local pals. Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar

“I was a bit tired when I came in, but it’s all good now,” said Kelly after his heat against local wild card Dylan Lightfoot and rookie Mitch Crews. “It’s good to be back in J-Bay though. I haven’t been back for a few years now. The last time we had a World Tour event here was in 2011, but I missed that one, remember, so I haven’t been back since 2010.”

Always one to notice his surroundings, Kelly picked up on a few new things on the horizon when flying in. “I saw all these lights when I flew in last night, and I was like, ’What’s that?’ Then I realised that it was all the lights from the windfarm. It was pretty freaky, all these lights going off,” said Kelly. “Still, better than nuclear.”

2. The Calmness of the Wildcard.
Dylan Lightfoot got into the event by winning the JBU Supertrial presented b RVCA a few weeks ago. This meant that he got pitted against Kelly, and Mitch crews. He was unflappable. “I wasn’t nervous out there at all,” said Dylan. “I was just a bit bummed that I didn’t get any barrels out there.”

Dylan Lightfoot didn't look like a wildcard. Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar

Dylan Lightfoot didn’t look like a wildcard. Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar

Kelly noticed. “Dylan seemed focused,” he Kelly. “I only saw him do two turns as he surfed past me on the one wave, but he looked in control and focused.” Dylan put in a valiant effort against world ranked number one Gabriel Medina in round two but was eliminated by the goofyfooter.

3. Endless waves.
It looked good at first light, showing a little bit more than forecasted, and the surfers were sent out for the first round at a sprightly 7:45am. The sun came out, the wind held its breath and the waves continued to reel down the point. And reel. And reel. How good is J-Bay when it gets going? It still blows the mind. The wind puffed a little from the north-east and the doomsday crew said that the event would be finished for the day in a few minutes, then the wind went away again and the waves continued to pour through. Eventually the onshore came up, and after a few heats in the second round the onshore was up and it was over for the day, with 16 heats under the belt.

A little slice o' heaven. Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar

A little slice o’ heaven. Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar

4. Build It And They Will Come
There was pressure in getting the event site ready for the contest on time and the crew were getting smashed by the rain on the day before the contest started. Remembering that there hasn’t been infrastructure around since 2011, it was a mammoth task. Event organiser Koffie Jacobs and his team pulled it off, the webcast kicked in seamlessly this morning, tea and high fives were served all round and for all intents and purposes it was an A Grade day of competition. J-Bay was back, and it was good.

5. Taj Burrow and J-Bay
As long as we can remember, Taj’s smiling face has been tied in to perfect Supers waves and photos of him ripping. “I love it here, it’s one of the greatest places to be for a surfer,” said a stoked Taj. “It’s been a few years since I’ve been here, and it feels good to be back.”

Taj smashed it in his first heat, despite the dreaded devil wind blowing up the point. “It was a but bumpy out there, and I was nursing a few of my turns, but I started pushing a bit harder towards the end of the heat. Who’s my money on this year? Yeah, me (laughs), and Mick, Joel and Jordy.”

6. The Jordy Thing
It’s hard to not enthuse on just how electric Jordy was out there. His heat just had so many things going in it, and every one of them was just about the big lug. At the end of that heat we had the first ten point ride, the highest heat score of 19.8, the top three scoring waves of the event, a crew of worried pros and a cheering squad of local supporters who sensed that something big was on the cards for the local champ again. Apart from wowing the crowd, Jordy had those people in the know, those who actually know how hard it is to surf supers, totally mesmerised. Every one of his turns were critical, he used every inch of his rail in the tightest of turns, he read each of his waves perfectly. He snapped a leash and did the run around, and he ended up throwing away a 9.5.

Jordy. Just, wow. Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar

Jordy. Just, wow. Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar

“I wasn’t nervous at all,” said Jordy, “the waves are so good and I just wanted to win with confidence, y’know? I wanted to give it everything. I got that one wave and punched through the barrel, it was a big chandelier, and a bit foamy, but when I came out I thought I had the best score. Then I snapped my leash and did that run around and got that final wave. It was such a bomb. Stoked to get the 10-pointer, and feeling really good right now.”

Jordy looks set to win, set to get his hat trick, and he looks like he is having so much fun in the process. The best thing about the whole Jordy thing is that everyone, surfers included, seems to be stoked for him. Now there’s a thing.


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