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Stab’s Eight J-Bay Picks For You To Bet The House On

Who will emerge from Jeffreys victorious?

style // Jul 13, 2017
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

While I sit at Tom Bradley about to board a plane to Salina Cruz, I figured there’s no better time to whip up my picks than now. After the bold ‘I told you so’ post Bells, I ate my words at Fiji. That was a massacre. But onwards and upwards! We’re at one of the most watched events all year, J-Bay. It’s also the halfway mark of the WSL, so after this, we’ll get to make some real world title claims and predictions.

What’s the swell going to do? Remember last year? Well, it should be a notch up from that. The good and bad thing is there’s some very hard offshores predicted which will take away some energy on both the lip and the face. Also, I’ve been getting a few requests to try to keep it in the $50 mill cap that fantasy surfer has, so I’ll try to appease you miserable fucks. Anyway, here’s how my fantasy surf team looks and why.

Jordy Smith.
Granted I put Jordy in 9/10 times, but who isn’t throwing down coin on the big fella in J-Bay? He has just come off a win at Ballito and hasn’t won J-Bay in five years, he’s due. Jordy has been having a good time while he’s home and is putting in serious time in the water. He landed back in South Africa after a 32-hour flight, grabbed some boards and drove through the night to J-Bay, surfed for six hours and then drove home for his event. If he can just focus on giving himself opportunities and dispersing water, he’ll be the man to beat.

John Florence.
John John did the best carves we’ve ever seen at Margs. After that performance, I think he became the most powerful surfer on tour and his boards with Pyzel look like they can be pushed as hard as John’s legs will allow them. John would be starting to feel the pressure after the last two events and I think that’s where he performs his best. John, like Jordy, tends to lose when he doesn’t give himself enough opportunities. With the howling wind, I think he’ll be tucking into little pits, carving and airing forward into the flats better than anyone.

Screen Shot 2017 07 12 at 2.00.42 PM

The only goofy footer to make the list! Will the judges continue showering backside snaps with love in South Africa? Photo: WSL / Kelly Cestari.

Owen Wright.
Owen did the best backside surfing I’ve seen at Winkipop this year, and he still lost. He’ll get scores on his backhand out at J-Bay and I think the judges want him to win. He has the right pace and the ability to hit the lip even when there isn’t one. Owen also rides his boards a bit longer which works well out at J-Bay when it comes to getting scores.

Mick Fanning.
Mick’s the most winning surfer out at Supertubes. Yes, I know he’s tied with Kelly but that’s because of the shark and let’s be honest he had Julian beat that year before he even paddled out, so it would’ve been five wins. Mick’s been having a pretty average year but I think he’ll turn it around in South Africa. Despite the shark attack, I think he has a really special connection with J-Bay. He looks after the locals, brings his friends out there and is usually the first guy out in the lineup each morning. I believe he’s one of the best ever out there, along with Jordy and Tom Curren.

Frederico Morais. 
My heart’s telling me no but my head’s telling me yes. I’m not a big fan of his surfing personally, but there’s no denying the guy knows how to use the rail and disperse water. He’s got incredible wave selection and for some reason every time he paddles out for a heat the waves start pumping. He got a huge result at Bells and has some serious BMI when it comes to the big boys.

Screen Shot 2017 07 12 at 2.07.05 PM

Zeke Lau is another surfer that’s been spending a little extra time in South Africa before J-Bay. Will the rookie be able to create results out at Supertubes? Photo: WSL / Kelly Cestari.

Zeke Lau.
Big Zeke’s going to channel his inner Sunny G and lay down some huge turns. Sometimes I think Zeke doesn’t have the best flow but I think he’ll look good out at J-Bay because the wave slows down enough to let him recover from his hacks. His biggest challenge will be getting enough practice out there to get tuned up and in the zone. He’s also got Jake the Snake in his corner who I watched dismantle everyone out at pumping Supers two years in a row.

Screen Shot 2017 07 12 at 2.10.58 PM

A power surfer like Conner on a reeling wall like J-Bay? Bank it. Photo: WSL / Kelly Cestari.

Conner Coffin.
Conner is one of the guys that went from getting scores to not being able to buy a score. I think the judges figured out he’s got a bit of faux power going on which I think they’re penalising him for. And let me explain myself before you get the wrong idea. Conner is a little fella, and with being a little fella comes not as much power as the big fellas. But he has the same technique on the rail as the best so, for a while, he was getting scored on it. But now the judges are watching the spray and not issuing him the same scores as they would Mick or Jordy. Anyway, here’s his chance to turn his year around and show that he deserves to be a staple on the WSL.

Screen Shot 2017 07 12 at 2.14.21 PM

Ethan’s another surfer that’s taken an early flight to South Africa to compete in the Ballito Pro, will he be able to turn his luck around at J-Bay? Photo: WSL / Kelly Cestari. 

Ethan Ewing.
Hasn’t had a good wave since his first wave as a World Tour surfer. Ethan had some huge claims after Snapper with people liking him to Andy Irons and Andy looked amazing out at J-Bay and I think Ethan will as well. He’s young and finding his feet and I think J-Bay could be the event where he gets his breakthrough result.


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