Stab Magazine | Stab's picks for the 2015 J-Bay Open
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Stab’s picks for the 2015 J-Bay Open

Words by Damien Fahrenfort J-Bay, my earliest memory of pro surfing. I begged my dad to take me up to watch the event. I was a small kid on the beach, mesmerised by the surfing of Matt Hoy, Munga Barry and Sunny Garcia. It was vicious head snaps, barrel dodging and Hail-Mary floaters on the […]

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

Words by Damien Fahrenfort

J-Bay, my earliest memory of pro surfing. I begged my dad to take me up to watch the event. I was a small kid on the beach, mesmerised by the surfing of Matt Hoy, Munga Barry and Sunny Garcia. It was vicious head snaps, barrel dodging and Hail-Mary floaters on the bricks. The competition used to be fierce, you could hear the competitors shout at each other from the shoreline. During an intense heat a severed board came washing in after Matt Hoy didn’t come out of the barrel. There was a frenzy between the groms to get a half, scouting where we thought it would land. We scaled the rocks. I won a half and it had Hoy’s signature spray on the bottom. Ecstatic, I ran up to Matt after the heat to get it signed and he told me to get fucked. He had just lost and was in no mood to chat. A few days later Hoyo spotted me running around on the final day of surfing. Feeling guilty he yelled at me to come over to the competitor’s area. I was sheepish and had sworn him off, but still walked over. He apologized, explained to me how much he hated losing and then gave me a tour of the contest area. Matt introduced me to a young Taj and all my other heroes. From that day on I haven’t missed a heat at J-Bay. Here are my picks:

Jordy_Kolesky

A kinked knee won’t stop Jordy from laying down hacks like this. Photo: WSL/Kirstin

Jordy Smith.
Busted knee or not, who’s going to beat Jordy? Not CJ again… I’m calling Jords’ slightly crooked knee a good thing. It will keep him away from the dreaded layback that always costs him heats. It would be quite easy for Jordy to just carve his way to victory, but he likes to complicate it by doing airs and making the crowd scream. Not this time though, with the amount of swell on the way we should see a performance from Jordy consistent with his strengths.

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J-Bay has many moods, and Joel is versed in all of ’em. Photo: WSL/Kirstin

Joel Parkinson.
Joel, like Kelly, is really overdue for a win. It’s been a while for him and he’s one of the greatest surfers ever at J-bay. His knowledge of what waves are good out there is better than anyone’s… even Kelly’s. Joel starts far up the point and waits for the best waves, usually the second wave of the set. He’s comfortable and he has the community of J-Bay behind him, not just because of his wins and history at J-bay, but because he looks after a lot of the locals and less fortunate people.

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It’s been a while since Dane wore a jersey at J-Bay, but frontside knifework like this is inevitable. Photo: WSL/Kirstin

Dane Reynolds.
Just because he’s in the contest. He surfed well at Cloudbreak but I still don’t think we saw Dane at his best. J-bay is better suited to him. Dane needs to do well in a couple of days when the waves aren’t pumping. If he gets through those early rounds I think we’ll be in for a treat. In case you were wondering what he’s riding: Dive in here.

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Ace’s return to his roots is danger for others. WSL/Kirstin

Ace Buchan.
Ace hasn’t been having the best year, or the worst. He tears J-bay apart and is half South-African after all. The Aces and Bedes of the tour have had a tough run the last few years with the talented new storm in the game. But this year they’re getting it back together. I think they started trying to surf like the new school which hindered their scores. But now they seem to be sticking to what they’re good at and getting better results. Side note: Remember the wave Ace claimed so hard at J-bay he fell off? That was awesome.

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Owen knows how to take advantage of momentum. And, his has been steadily building for months. Photo: WSL/AVG

Owen Wright.
According to Jordy, Owen’s been looking sharp. His surfing has been tight and Jords says his boards look really good. Usually I wouldn’t pick a guy that just pulled two 20-point heats and a win for the next event but Owen seems to do well in sets. His last victory back at the Quik Pro NYC came with two runner up positions, before and after it. Owen is going to be really good in the big, drawn-out walls of J-Bay. Where most guys surf flat, Owen leverages through his bottom turn and keeps his surfing tight, much like Wilko last year.

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It’s about that time for Mr Slater. Photo: WSL/Struntz

Kelly Slater.
I was torn between Kelly and Adriano for this pick. Kelly hasn’t won in over 18 months so he’s due. But the way he’s been going this year, who knows? I also heard word that De Souza has been falling a lot out at Supers which doesn’t mean much in the big scheme of things, but it’s notable. When they put that jersey on something always seems to click. I think with the swell on the way and the horrible feeling Kelly recently endured watching Owen make history after his loss to Italo, he will be fired up for this event. Kelly’s known for not freesurfing before the J-Bay contest and going into his heat fresh. It’ll be interesting to see if he breaks tradition this time around.

Side note: Seabass is out with a blown knee, Jeremy is out with a head injury, and John John is still out with ankle problems.

J-Bay Open Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS), Slade Prestwich (ZAF)
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Fredrick Patacchia (USA)
Heat 9: John John Florence (HAW), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 10: Nat Young (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 11: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 12: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Matt Banting (AUS)

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