4 July, 2018 4 July, 2018

A First Hand Account of the Jbay Open

I wake up to the ringing of my alarm, the windows of my house steamed up from the cold. JBay is freezing, unusually cold, it’s snowing on the mountains around Cape Town, and that same cold has penetrated Jeffreys Bay. But to be honest, we wouldn’t have it any other way, cold weather in JBay generally means cooking surf.

Sunrise rotation with Yago Dora. Image: Ewing

I check my phone, straight onto the WSL app, the move from the live stream on the WSL website to a live stream on Facebook has everyone up in arms! Half the world’s hipsters have vacated the platform on account of Zuckerberg’s sale of personal information to third party shareholders, and now the WSL is forcing all the homies to log back on.

I log onto the app and see a bunch of angry faces flying around the screen. I can see why people are pissed. That’s pretty damn annoying. Watching somebody bash a lip while an angry emoji darts past, nobody needs that. The App says ‘Next Call: 7.45’, it’s now 7.55 and they’re running 10 minutes late. How German of them. Just then Wade’s World (Wade Carmicheal) runs past the screen. All you see is beard and a blue rashie. Wade’s World is in the first heat, and if he’s wearing his blue rash vest, IT’S ON!

During the Ballito Pro, Monster Energy ran an air contest to conclude each day. When Captain Kai encouraged Wade’s World to enter the air contest, he said, “Nah mate, I don’t do airs.” And we were like fair enough. When you power surf like Wade, why the hell would you want to go to the air!? Image: Ewing

I hop into the car. It won’t start cause it’s too damn cold. “This car is too old” I think too myself. I kick start the vehicle. It revs to life. It’s before 8am in the morning and parking all along Da Game road is packed. A quiet town transformed to a sprawling metropolis. We arrive at Supertubes to witness the bearded Jesus-like sandel wearing Wade Carmicheal making Jeremy Flores pay for his sins. A 16.77 heat total to Flores’ 11.70. In Satan’s ‘devil wind’ excellent scores are difficult to acquire, and Wade just dropped two of them to squash Jeremy’s JBay dreams. For a rookie at Jbay, Wade’s World certainly knows how to surf the famed point break and has risen to the occasions where others have fallen to pieces. One such fall from glory was Willian Cardoso. Supers loves a high line, you wanna make a section, apply yourself to the high line. Willian ain’t the fastest surfer on planet earth, he’s probably closer to the slowest on tour. He’s like a heavy bodied 1970’s Diesel Mercedes Benz. Gathering speed is a hefty ordeal, but once that momentum has been attained, it will carry you from here to Cape Town. But Willian Cardoso forgets the highline, and his timing is completely off, he surfs like a piano that’s out of tune. And it doesn’t sound nice.

From one of the slowest to one of the fastest. Filipe goes from 0-100km/h faster than a red Ferrari. Image: Ewing

Almost every surfer you know in South Africa is in the JBay area. Doing anything even as an introvert is a mission, and if you’re extroverted, it’s virtually impossible. It’s like the post church meet and greet on a Christmas Sunday.  Just then Gabriel Medina’s entourage walks past, led by the rockstar himself. The entourage proceeds in a single file, filmers, photographers, family etc with step dad Charlie heading up the rear, making sure nobody ventures off. Gabriel is due to battle it out against Connor O’Leary in the last heat of round 3. It’s going to be battle of the ages. Goofy vs Goofy. 

Neymar may have taken the heat, but O’Leary stole our hearts. Image: Ewing

Before the heat Connor slowly makes his way down the beach. A casual walk, it’s confident, a man at ease and content. Neymar follows shortly after, oh sorry, or was that Gabriel? It’s hard to tell, their hairstyles are the same.  The heat commences and both surfers are out of frame, Gabriel hustled Connor up the point, and Connor ain’t giving in. Just then Gabriel streaks into frame with a backhand crack, and continues the thought process down the line for a 6.33. O’Leary responds with a 7.33. Connor backs his first wave up with a 6.97 but as the heat counts down, Gabby finds himself a banger! And he bangs that thing all the way down the line for a 9.30. One of the highest wave scores of round 3. Gabby takes no prisoners.

Gabby’s backhand has gone from strength to strength at Supertubes. We reckon it’s the best backhand surfing we’ve seen in a damn long time. He’ll surf against Filipe in the quarterfinals and we suggest you attend the show. Image: Ewing

It’s Jordy’s heat next and we’re on the beach taking Insta stories for our thriving Zigzag Instagram following. Jordy emerges from the path leading up to Cheron’s house, like a lion exiting the shade of an Acia tree in the Savannah. Jordy has a predator like aura about him. A male lion with a crazy mane. As Jordy enters the water through the keyhole, we see his compatriot, Mfeb high-lining a wave at Boneyards. Stylish AF. His afro flowing in the afternoon south west, he bottom turns round the section and paints the most stylish grab rail carve we’ve seen this year. Beautiful.


Everyone with any inkling of a vested interest in professional surfing is on the beach to watch Jordy take on Coffin and Parko. Like the battle of of the backhanders, this is going to be a battle of classic point break gurus. Connor and Joel get the first two waves of a two wave set leaving Jordy alone in the lineup. But Jordy being the predator he is, won’t lie and wait. He hunts round the lineup finding a 8.33 and backing it up with a 7.23. Parko has been looking particularly inspired during this event. His surfing freed up post retirement announcement. Spicy off-the-lips with classic Parkinson esque carves. But spicy Joel isn’t enough, and he’s eliminated by Conner and Jordy. It’s a sad defeat as it’s the last time we’ll see Joel compete at Jeffreys Bay, but his legacy on the righthand point break will live on for years to come.

Joel was looking spicy in his final heat at JBay. He fell just short of second place to Jordy. But between you and I, we reckon Conner was (highly) over scored. Image: Ewing

The day ends with the Corona high line initiative. It involves some the world’s best high lining their way down the Supers racetrack on a couple of eco twin fins made by Spider Murphy. Imagine Steph Gilmore and Mikey Feb taking a high line on a twin fin at Jbay. Could life get anymore stylish!? Well as the twin fins begin to sail off into the sunset, Gigs screams into the Mic,”Jet skis get to you surfers!! Get to your surfers immediately!!’ The jet skis race over and pick up the surfers only to realise that the suspicious guest in the lineup was a small seal. The high line commences and not 10 minutes have past before a reenactment of the previous drama unfolds, except this time the seal has been replaced by a monstrous G-white. Slowly tracking that seal up the point. The high line gets called off and we sip on some ice-cold Corona’s as the sun sets behind us. Ahhh isn’t this living?

Steph Gilmore on a eco twin fin at pumping JBay. Is this real? Or are we dreaming? Image: Ewing

As any fitting end to a day of professional surfing in Jeffreys Bay, we head to Ninas for pizza and beer. The sun is setting and the night’s about to begin. Where should we head after dinner? I heard Vans is showing a film at the Corona tent. Why not? It is the JBay Open after all. 

Enjoy this here carousel by ‘All Images Greg Ewing’ aka THE SHERIFF aka Greg Ewing.

1 Comment

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    7 July, 2018 at 10:18 am · Reply

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