We’re still waiting for a day of all-time Supertubes for the Corona Open J-Bay, but in the meantime, we settled for slightly lully but groomed, contestable 2-3ft waves today – for all intents and purposes, these would still be highly desirable waves anywhere else in the world. Our hearts ached as we lost two South Africans, but luckily there are two left that we can pin all our hopes and aspirations on (no pressure, though). We witnessed some firey surfing today and here are four athletes that especially turned our heads.
All images, the mighty, ‘Hawkman’ Ian Thurtell.
Lakey Peterson – The CEO has left the building
Last year Lakey looked good out at Jeffreys Bay. Hell, she even made the finals, so we’d be a bunch of fools if we said we didn’t enjoy the way she surfed. That being said, we did have one critique. Lakey looked a touch rushed on the open walls offered by Supertubes: a bit front footed, like a CEO who constantly had something to do. Stretched thin by shareholder expectations trying to squeeze out as much profit from the business as possible. One minute responding to an email, next minute on the phone with clients, then a meeting with the board of directors, a dog chasing its own tail. And for what? Life after death? But on Lakey’s return to the hallowed walls of Jeffreys Bay, things had changed. She seemed…how can we put this? Present.
On Lakey’s opening wave of heat 5, she managed her speed with expert proficiency, timing her turns to perfection, never looking hurried or front-footed in the small, tricky, grindy conditions. Unfazed by the long stretched out walls of Supers. Lakey opened up with an 8.33. She canned her opening ride like a 1960s school principal issuing some naughty groms with a couple of jacks to keep them in line. Lakey laid down multiple hammers on the open face.
Caroline Marks – If Mark Occhilupo was a teenage girl
Oh, how we love Caroline Marks! Damn her backhand is fire! Burning red hot! I bet a couple of the male goofy-footed CT surfers would be sweating bullets if they drew her in a heat at any right-hand point break. I bet some nights they wake up in a cold sweat from a nightmare where they’re in a heat against Caroline, needing a score as the beach commentator issues a heat count down; 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and Caroline takes the heat win. – Shooo, thank goodness it was only a dream.
Caroline didn’t blow us out of the water today at J-Bay, but there were some hints of glory. At Supertubes, on the backhand, you need to cover ground on your bottom turn. Much like Occy. Ideally, you wanna be able to bottom turn around sections and straight into the lip. It’s no simple beach break up and down. And if anyone can traverse sections with a bottom turn, it’s Miss Marks. Caroline’s backhand bottom turn is like an 18 wheeler truck. Or like a Metro Rail train (when it’s actually running). Once it gathers momentum, ain’t nothing gonna stop it. She sets the rail and drives for days. And when she hits the lip she shifts all that weight onto her front foot and slides oh so effortlessly across the face. Her bottom turn to top turn combo is a match made in heaven. We dig it! In fact, we freaking love it. Lakey Peterson and Stephanie Gilmore are definitely the two ladies to watch out for on the women’s side of the draw, but if Caroline figures Supers out, damn, she’ll be a serious threat for the win.
Jack Freestone – Freestone found the blitz
What’s going on with Jack? The homies on fire! Jack’s had a weird year he’s done well everywhere except on the CT. On the CT he’s acquired four equal seventeenths and one equal ninth, but it’s outside the CT where he’s really made his mark. He won the Red Bull Airborne event over at Keramas and gained a second place finish at the Ballito Pro, Durban. It’s as if he has a mental block or something.
Jack has a classic Australian surfing style. Everything neatly organised, like a good secretary; different folders for emails, a special drawer for stationary and a large leather-bound diary to record all future happenings. If Jack Freestone could be compared to a band, it would be the Beatles: a bunch of school kids with a bowl cut playing music everyone can enjoy. But today, Freestone found the blitz and lit a fire under his own ass. He looked energetic on the open face and surfed with power, flow and grit. And that alley-oop, it even had Jordy frothing in the competitor’s booth. If Jack’s surfing today had to be compared to a band, it would still be The Beatles, but The Beatles’ later albums, where they had all grown up, ditched the bowl cuts, grown some beards, chest hair and played music not suited to screaming teenagers.
Jeremy Flores – Excellent Scores, No Barrels
Jeremy’s on a freaking tear this year. For starters, he’s got a finals placing at Keramas! Who would’ve expected that? Probably not even himself. Today Jeremy posted a mid-seven and an excellent ride at J-Bay and guess what: there were no barrels. Normally with Jeremy, you correlate high scores with a treacherous shallow reef, barreling conditions; think 6-8ft Teahupo or 8-10ft Backdoor Pipeline. But these days it seems you can rely on Jeremy to gain high scores laying it on the rail.
The angrier Jeremy gets, the better he surfs. Whereas last year and the year before that spike of emotion would’ve caused Jeremy to get frustrated and throw his toys out the cot, now Jeremy gets angry and only surfs better. Maybe Jeremy should travel with a suitcase of bad croissants and take a bite of one before every heat, that should make him just about angry enough to go ham in every heat he surfs.