Five Of The Most Monumental J-Bay Performances
Glimpse into the South African rearview.
Jordy Smith’s Perfect Ride, 2014
Here’s a free lesson on controlled power and dynamic surfing. Round one of the 2014 J-Bay Open, conditions are exceptional and Jordy Smith already has enough points on the board to guarantee immunity from round two elimination. The clock dips below the five minute mark and the swell pulses. Jordy scratches in and begins unloading. He combines smooth transitional floats with sweeping scoops, a tube and multiple world class power hacks. This was Jordy, and competitive surfing at their best.
Tom Curren’s First Ever Wave At J-Bay, 1992
It’s the early nineties and Tom Curren is making his first voyage to the South African gem. With him is the late and great surf videographer, Sonny Miller, a vibrantly coloured suit and a mysto yellow-railed craft, the dimensions and origin of which have been debated over the decades since. Sonny, testing his camera, captures a random warrior on a short wave before Tom paddles into his maiden ride. With an unridden board and an unfamiliar location, he orchestrates a flawless run down the point. Often paired with Jordys’s wave for comparative reasons, this ride deserves praise for its subtleties, Mr Smith’s for its progressive performance. We adore both kettles of fish.
Mick Fanning Returns, 2016
So the encounter happened. Mick took time away from jersey life, travelled, enjoyed himself and eventually, decided he wanted to “right the wrongs” and revisit the scene. He turned up early for a pre-event swell to meet with his fear before the first siren. “A little bit of anxiety came up, a few different emotions,” he said after the first session. “But once I got the wetsuit on and the board ready and paddled out, it was pretty much fine.” “He ripped the shit out of the first wave,” recounted lensman Corey Wilson. “Then came back to the beach to do the runaround with the biggest smile.” Shortly after Mick injured his ankle. He rested, returned, then went on to win the event.
Derek Hynd, Friction Free Post-Encounter, 2015
Shortly after Mick Fanning was forcibly removed from his board by a shark during the final of the 2015 J-Bay Open, Derek Hynd paddled out at the point on a 11’6″ finless board. “I watched it on the net,” Derek said of Mick Fanning’s ordeal. “You thought that might be a good time to go surf?” replied Peter King from behind his lens. “No, not at all. I waited an hour.” We’re awarding points for confidence as well as novel abilities on this one.
Mark Occhilipo, The Last Goofy To Win, 1984
He was at the pinnacle of his performance, and just 17 years-old. Almost out of nowhere, the outspoken Australian was blowing minds on tour and redefining backhand surfing. After dazzling in exceptional overhead conditions during the opening rounds of the J-Bay event, Occ jabbed and slashed his way through to the finals and became the last man to win here on his backhand. Later he commented that due to the wave’s tight tube and running sections being a goofy put you at a disadvantage against the naturals.
Heath Joske, Nostalgic Flare, 2012
J-Bay was a six-star event, and it was met with four days of perfect conditions. During the peak of aggressive, high performance surfing, a bearded, unsponsored Heath Joske took to the wall and proceeded to decorate it in the most visually pleasing fashion. Instead of chasing points and attacking, he stood tall, drew out his turns, even dropping a soul arch to light up the surrounding audience. We’ve watched his elegant approach too many times.
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