21 June, 2018 21 June, 2018

4 Things We Learnt – SA Open of Surfing

The day started off terribly. A deathly glare only the strongest aviators could save you from, complimented by Satan’s very own; the devil wind. Yep, it sucked. But as things go along the east coast (and the world for that matter), the sun slowly rose overhead, the devil wind gave way to a gentle breeze, and just like that, we were in for a great day of surfing.

Vasco Ribeiro was the standout of the day, acquiring the highest heat score total of both round 1 and 2. Image: Thurtell


Do enjoy, 4 things we learnt from day 2 of the VW SA Open of Surfing pres by Hurley.

Cover image: Ian Thurtell

1.) Masencamp Don’t Care for Internationals:

We were going to call this paragraph: ‘Masencamp Knows How to Grovel’, but we decided against it. Because even though Masencamp’s student of the grovel, hell he probably sports a Phd from the University of Strand in that shit, what’s more important, is that Adin isn’t afraid of whatever overhyped competitor he’s up against. He approaches each heat with a steely determination. A determination that doesn’t concern itself with tricky conditions, or fancy names.

In life you get certain characters who stubbornly believe in their ideas. They get an idea in their heads, ‘a bee in their bonnet’, they’ll see that idea through no matter the cost. People around might consider them a touch insane, a bit dotty, trying to reach a goal that never sees fruition, endlessly circling the same mountain unable to locate the entrance to the city. But life needs these stubborn asses to show us what’s possible. Because one minute you sit in darkness, the next, you’re flipping the switch to a lightbulb. Adin has that kinda tenacity. A filthy perseverance, that will see him to the end no matter the obstacles. 

Adin rotating into the wind and onto a victory. Image: Thurtell

2.) Pipeline’s a Dangerous Place to Hold a Surf Contest:

I recently watched an Occ-Cast with Rob Machado, where Rob recalled how he surfed the Banzai Pipeline, during the Pipeline Masters, maxing out. Massive wash through sets! Life threatening stuff. The Banzai is the kinda place you could literally lose your life. In 2015 Bede Durbidge found himself on the wrong side of the Banzai. Perhaps he said something the Banzai didn’t approve of, and the Banzai responded by tossing Bede over the falls. It was a lengthy trip, and Bede paid for the first class ticket with a broken pelvis. Ouch. 

Joe Van Dijk making the most out of the small conditions. Image: Thurtell

Pipeline in PE is a different kind of dangerous.  The danger being that you could rock up to the beach, and instead of having to endure life threatening conditions in the name of competition, be faced with un-surfable waves. The City Surf Series however has been blessed with great surf. We’ve gone from one pumping point break to the next, where big open face carves and deep bottom turns are recompensed with high scores. But Pipeline’s been a refreshing change. I once witnessed the owner of a very well established fine cuisine restaurant buy the filthiest stinky pink Russian vienna in a dodgy down town Spar, and that’s when I realised, we all need a bit of shmet in our lives every now and then… Which feeds into point number 3:

3.) You Got to Go Big to Bring Home the Bacon Baby

When you’re dealing with big open faces, everything’s more calculated. If you position yourself correctly, take good waves, surf them well, you’ll ease your way through the first couple of heats… at least. But Pipeline’s a different story. The waves for the most part have been a bit of a lottery, and therefore it pays to go big. You could get good scores by waiting for a set that should run, and I say should because not all run, or you could takeoff on a closeout and bust a rotation for a similar number. And to add to that, the judges aren’t a million miles away, straining their eyes like grandfather clocks trying to study the intricacies of each manoeuvre. They’re up close, right up in your grill, and they’re able to see the finer details of each surfer’s wave. Safety off-the-lips will be punished with low scores. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Bacon requires risk. And if you’re vegan, well then you got to go big to acquire the cucumber. 

Luke Gordon. Not holding back. Image: Thurtell

4.) Mitch Crews is Back and He’s Badass.

Before the start of the SA Open, the swell of the year wrapped into Jeffreys Bay, furnishing Supertubes with 6-8ft rolling bombs. On one wave, Mitch crews took off deep, halfway to Boneyards, gave a couple speed pumps and came screaming past the crew of locals sitting further down the point. The forest of locals, unamused by his actions, gave him some stink eye, considered a burn, but gave him the benefit of the doubt and allowed him safe passage, uninterrupted. It was a badass move by Mitch Crews, but it paid off.

Frothing to see more of this man’s surfing. Image: Thurtell

After Mitch dropped off tour, he kinda disappeared for a while. Fell off tour, fell off the radar, but it seems Mitch is back, and he’s looking good. A touch wobbly in the earlier rounds, but we’re hoping he might bring some of that badass flair witnessed at Supertubes to the SA Open in the later rounds.

Enjoy this here video and gallery (by Ian Thurtell) of the day’s action.

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