13 July, 2023 13 July, 2023

Day 1 at the Corona Open J-Bay

My goodness, how good is to be back in J-Bay?! To drive down the potholed strewn, face brick flanked main road that is Da Gama. Take a turn off Da Gama seaward and you’ll encounter world class righthand point breaks from Albatross to Kitchen Windows. This is where it’s at. And to be honest, right now, there’s nowhere else in the world we’d rather be. It truly is a surfers’ paradise. Why there aren’t more international surfers including J-bay in their surf trip schedule? Only the Lord knows. Maybe they’re afraid of sharks. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Via the coconut wire we heard that today was a possible start. Even though the forecast deviated from this suggestion. Regardless, even on a relatively lacklustre day of forecasted swell, Supertubes delivered. The waves remained a solid 3-4 foot from sunrise until the wind swung to a less favourable direction (right in time for Matt and Jordy to take centre stage).

Anyway, here’s a little taster of what went down.

Yago Dora is a Player

I used to live in Muizenberg where there’s no clearcut hierarchy of wave value. All waves are kinda average. It encourages you to be a player (And we mean this in the most upstanding way). To play the field. Take a wave here, an insider there, maybe this closeout on the way out. Playing encourages improvisation and experimentation. 

We enjoyed the pleasure of surfing with Yago Dora before the comp last year. And while Jacko Robinson waited for set waves, Yago kept swinging on insiders and closeouts. Within the hierarchy of valued waves, his selection wasn’t exactly sort after. Low wave value means you can fall on wave and nobody really cares. And thus Yago played. He tried airs. Fin throws. And experimented with new angles into and out of the lip.

Heat 5 of round 1 we witnessed the fruits of all those years spent playing. The waves were tricky. Sets were hard to come by. And Yago was in his element, taking off on waves in weird locales down the point and busting massive full rote tail-high rotations. And oh my word, were they thrilling to witness. Yago, flying high above the lip – landing in knee deep water to the applause of the grandstand. Yago defeated Connor O and Ian G with a whopping 16.27 heat total. We want more Yago!

Supertubes is a Relationship – Griffin Colapinto

Ever heard of psychologist Jordan Peterson? He’s become sort of like a thought leader in contemporary society. Wrote a couple books. Bit of a genius. In one of his Youtube clips, Jordan talks about the balance of positive and negative interactions you desire with your partner in order to enjoy a healthy, long-lasting relationship. “That’s obvious”, you say. All interactions should be positive. Wrong. Research suggests that if interactions with your better (or worser) half falls under five positive interactions to one negative, your relationship will dissolve. Consequently, if it exceeds eleven positive interactions to one negative your relationship is also doomed. Why? Well, because your relationship is a dance. A good partner challenges you. Inciting you to become be a better human. To view things from an alternate perspective. 

Surfing Supertubes is much like endeavouring in a relationship. You must listen. You must move with the wave. Speed up when she speeds up. Slow down when she slows down. You have to view life from the wave’s perspective. Be in rhythm with it. A man who did that to supreme excellence was Griffin Colapinto. Griffin exited the gates firing. First wave = 7.67. And it was a wave he timed to a tee. A smorgasbord of power turns. No turn over cooked. Walking the fine line of chaos and order. While Kelly fumbled around trying to lay down a half decent turn, Colapinto found another runner which he blitzed with a pair of air reverses and several attacks to the lip for the heat win.

No Marketing Strategy Needed – Filipe Toledo

Have you spent much time cruising around Cape Town? You get these bars/cafes/restaurants – and they are just perfectly curated. It’s like a dude with a whole bunch of cash to burn, went to some sort of agency and they came up with a theme for the eatery. It all came in a neatly packaged PDF document, outlining overall look and feel, colour palette, fonts, the type of music that should be playing, what the waters/waitresses should look like and what influencers should arrive at the opening function. Even though it looks cool – there’s a certain staleness to it. A touch too much AI in the text. Then you get restaurants like Olympia Cafe on Kalk Bay. The faded paint isn’t part of their look and feel. It just is. The rickety wooden chairs and oil splatters on the walls – they just are. You can’t curate that kind of authenticity. That’s like Filipe. 

Some guys enter heats with a full strategy. Discussing these in-depth plans with their coaches. Watching the wind and tide. And at 11:45 the wind might switch so maybe think about moving north, blah blah blah. Filipe, he’s like Olympia Cafe. He’s performances aren’t overly curated. There’s a level of authenticity to it all. He goes out, smashes waves and wins heats. 

In Filipe’s round one clash with Igarashi and Masencamp, he sat furthest down the line. Didn’t hustle for priority and took off on his first wave 25 minutes into the heat. But damn, did he smash that thing, dropping an a 8.50 and a 6.77 to overtake Kanoa and Adin in the final minutes. Case closed. 

Airs are sacrilege? – John John Florence

There was a time, in the not to distant past, where you could win heats by simply taking off on good waves and surfing them well. Don’t believe me, go have a look at Bede Durbidge. Or hell, check out what Mick Fanning was able to do. I’m sure Mick Fanning won a title without liberating his fins. And even more so Supertubes. 10, 15 years ago an air at Supertubes would’ve been considered sacrilege. Safe to say, those days are over. Now you need a fairly solid fin liberation plan to make it out the repo charge rounds. 

Last week Saturday, J-Bay pumped. Supers fired from sunrise to sunset. 6-8 foot. Massive barrels though Impossibles with huge turn sections. There wasn’t an air to speak of. John John, (who had already arrived) spent the day laying down some of the most outrageously gorgeous carves. They were so powerful. So on edge. A class above his peers.  Today the waves were rippable, small, the wind non-existent and taking to the air… (almost) compulsory. And 2 x John adapted well. After Italo ‘fly-boy’ Ferreira busted a massive inverted backside full rote, JJF took to the skies with his own version of the manoeuvre to skip the repo charge and find his way straight into the round of 16. It’s becoming evidently clear, that a solid fin liberation game is pertinent to making heats in the big leagues.

Stay tuned for more write ups to follow.

Written by – Cyle Myers

Images by – Kody McGregor / Beatriz Ryder

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