13 July, 2019 13 July, 2019

Corona Open J-Bay – Day 3

WSL events run like clockwork if they say it’s a 7.30am call for an 8:05 am start, best you believe when Trav Logie decides competition is ON, that hooter will sound at 8:05 am on the dot. Let the games begin. The WSL waits for no man, even the GOAT. I’m running late, my old rusty merc refusing to start in the icy East Coast dewy morning. Eventually, the diesel ignites, the engine roars to life. I bang that thing into first and race to the contest site. I arrive at the contest site to witness Jordy drop one of the bigger carves we’ve seen the entire event. A huge full rail arc to tail release as the lazy sun rises from the horizon. Jordy canes the rest of the wave complimenting the opening carve with a massive drop tail floater and two huuuge off-the-lips. The judges issue him and 8.00. Like a python that’s found its prey, Jordy constricts and strangles the life out of his competitor, Soli Bailey, by dropping another high score; 7.17. Feeling sleepy? Not anymore. Even the sun rose quicker after Jordy’s performance.

Jordy Smith is looking fire. He’s the last remaining South African in the drew and we’re putting our chips behind him for the win. Image: Thurtell

The Zigzag crew makes its way down the beach and down the point, Calvin Thompson, is filming… we’re keeping him company. Next to impress, Gabriel Medina. Up against Griffin Colapinto, Medina has his work cut out for him. Colapinto posts the first noteworthy score, a 6.5 for classic lines and a Parko like approach but Gabriel is unfazed.  He reels Colapinto in like stinky Snoek on the Weskus courtesy of some of the best backhand surfing of the day. Where others struggled in the bump and chop, Gabby rides over it like a Land Rover Defender on an off-road trail in the Himalayan mountains. His legs like mighty shock absorbers, going straight up vertical and riding through the foam like he was taking a casual stroll on a Sunday afternoon in his Brazilian Ville.

When Medina smells blood, his eyes roll back and he turns into a monster. With JJf out of competition, we can expect Gabby to start going berserk. Image: Thurtell

It’s about time for breakfast, the Hi-Fi surf action zapping our energy and stimulating our appetite. Just then Kolohe Andino comes running up the beach after a lengthy ride, his father Dino Andino storms over to him from the dunes and bellows, “Ride a proper wave”, as he sprints past. – Kolohe Andino had found himself on a bunch of small insiders at pumping Superstubes to his father’s utmost dismay. Message received and the next wave Kolohe finds, a banger, he obays the lip by striking it multiple times for a 6.33 to dispose of  Adrianno de Souza.

“Take a proper wave!” – screamed Dino Andino with a frown on his face. Kolohe obliged, found himself a set and turned in a 6.33. Image: Thurtell

We head across the road to Nina’s – a cornerstone of J-Bay. They’re running a breakfast special, thirty bucks for a breakfast roll and a cappuccino. Ya kidding me!? People from Cape Town think it’s a scam. Some sort of pyramid scheme. That’s what you pay for a pie the size of your thumb at Muizenberg beach. That’s what you pay the DA to park your car in the City Bowl for 5 minutes.

We return to the beach to witness the Chainsaw vs the Ballerina. Toledo vs February. Mikey looking so wonderfully stylish, layback carves and beautiful lines but he makes a couple of errors and the chainsaw capitalises dropping two sevens to make the heat.

The double arm drop wallet. Nothing wrong with that? Image: Thurtell

What’s going on with Sebastian Zietz? Did something happen that we don’t know about? The price of nappies skyrocket over in Hawaii or something? Supertubes is a long wave, you have to bide your time and stay focused throughout the entire ride. You can’t let your instinct takeover, you must fight the impulse and remain centred, like a plus-sized Buddha doing yoga on a Lotus. Sebastian struggles to concentrate at the best of times, often overcooking his third turn but today Zietz felt the burden of those new diapers on the wallet and he dropped that thing all over the Supertubes lineup like a cat on a mescaline trip.

Next to impress, Kanoa Igarashi. Damn. For the longest time, I didn’t fancy this homie’s surfing. Too safe, flicky and grom-like. Like a soccer-mom car with seat-belts and airbags everywhere. But Kanoa has taken off the seatbelts in his mom car, dropped the suspension, put in a couple of turbos, a free-flow exhaust system and started to ride that thing like he’s been chased by the pigs after a bank robbery. If we could compare Kanoa’s surfing to anything it would be Muji. A Japanese store. Muji is like a really really great version of Woolworths. In fact, it makes Woolworths look like a piece of crap. They sell the most amazing things in Muji, from beautiful white button-up shirts, to refillable pens and the most gorgeous kitchen utensils. And it’s all beautiful. Like small pieces of art. No unnecessary stylistic risks, nothing kitsch everything in its right place. We know Kanoa’s grown up under stars and stripes, but his surfing is all rising sun.

Muji makes Woolworths look like Pep. Image: Thurtell

As the wind swung south and Jack Freestone managed to absolutely bomb his heat against teammate Italo Ferreira (How do you manage to not surf waves at pumping Supertubes with four people out? – only the good lord knows.) and I say goodbye to another person on my Fantasy Surfer Team, the ladies were called to battle.

First up; Stephanie Gilmore. And didn’t Gilmore look gorgeous out at Supertubes? The long walls of Supertubes so elegantly complimenting her style. Gilmore has a beautifully natural affinity with J-Bay, she has great wave selection and places her turns perfectly every time. Where it feels like others grind their way to heat wins and scores, Steph makes it look oh so easy. Steph didn’t do the best surfing we’d seen from her today, but we bet there’s amazing surfing to come.

Steph Gilmore in her psychedelic purple wettie. Image: Thurtell

While Steph and Silvana battled it out for a place in the Quarterfinals, Caroline Marks made her way up the beach. And with her, a hoard of tween girls screaming her name. Her face lit up as she herself seemed surprised by the fact that her reputation precedes her. On Wednesday we said we hadn’t seen the best of Caroline Marks just yet and we were absolutely right. Today, Caroline took those backhand cracks to a new level. Dropping two excellent rides to bury Paige Hareb in a combo as deep as the Kimberely Big Hole. We mentioned yesterday how it’s so important to cover ground on your backhand bottom turn at Supers and today, on Caroline’s 8.67, we witnessed how important that is. Caroline covers huge amounts of ground on her bottom-turn and she drives into the lip to release the fins. It’s by far the best backhand attack at Supers from the women’s division and we can’t wait to see what she had in-store for us as the contest continues.

Steph Gilmore during the Corona Highline. Image: Thurtell

The day ended with the Corona Highline, where we got to witness some of our fave surfers MFeb and Stephanie Gilmore and more highline their way down Supertubes on self-made retro equipment.

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