Anyone order four courses of white horses? Yeah nah not me mate but someone did, cause that’s all you could see on the horizon. If I could some up today in one word, it’d be – standby. Everything was a waiting game from the start. The 7 am call got pushed to 8, then from 8 to 9 before finally the 4th day of the men’s comp here at the Ballito Pro pres. by O’Neill was called on!
With the wind almost removing the eyelids from my face and shirt off my back the tide finally dropped a touch to allow what resembled a wave to show face. The conditions, the polar opposite of what we’d become accustomed to over the last 4 days. The entire day an uphill battle for everyone on and around the beach. The energy was low but morale was high with banter flying around the booth.
Alright, so what was happening in the water? Well, if the first two heats of the day were a chicken breast, they’d be dry and spiced with nothing. The ocean was the chef, the surfers the ingredients, so we’ll chalk that one up to the conditions. However, sometimes a bad chef cranks out a decent chow! I mean I surprise even myself, albeit not often, in the kitchen with what I can muster as a woeful cook and I’m pretty sure that only happens when I source primo ingredients. Today, Barron Mamiya was a primo ingredient.
Somehow the Hawaiian managed to pull a 9.17 out of nowhere. I stand to be corrected, but willing to go on record, that it was the first 9 of the event! Who’d of thought today of all days would hack out such a score? With some meager scores falling his way and the heat nearing a close, Barron tracked down a rogue set coming off the shoulder finding a section to take off on, sending him flying down the beach. Rumour is Mango airlines are giving the man a set of complimentary wings for what he did out there. So not only a Monster Cash Up winner but an unlicensed small craft pilot. If you’d taken a guess of where he placed following that saucy creativity and put down 1st…. here’s the part where you can give yourself a pat on the back.
Jordy Smith, Mihimana Braye, Kyuss King and Jack Marshall, the heat that piqued my interest taking place right on lunch. So while I powered through my salad conversing with two gentlemen, affectionately known as fruit and veg, about the priority system, Jordy had climbed into the lead with the Tahitian, Braye, holding on to 2nd place. The waves as in the previous heats were pretty lousy. There was a tension in the air around Mr. Smith. Did he even want the win considering prep time for J-Bay was right around the corner?
The way the heat ended, I think the answer would be that he wants the win. And damn, did the O’Neill poster man deliver. Ever seen a cat playing with a mouse before ripping the poor things head off? Well, Jordy was the cat in this heat, toying with the other man-sized mice with the finishing decapitating move coming in at a 9.57. If Jordy was a chef, he’d have earned a Michelin star the way he slow roasted that wave to get the highest score of the day. Beautiful top to bottom surfing. If the wave had meat, it would have fallen right off the bone. See you tomorrow Jordy!
With Jordy safely through to the next round, it was time to focus our attention on heat 10. Why this heat? Davey Van Zyl. With J-Bay nipping at the heels, Davey would have no doubt been thinking ‘Wildcard’. Do well enough at the pro and he could have banked a spot amongst the worlds best on a wave we have no doubt he’d eviscerate. Halfway through a sneaky little behind the scenes walkabout of the competitor’s area, lead by charismatic Dutchie, the weather like an angry toddler, started to gooi toys well out the cot. The beach going from a couple hundred to just a handful of hardcore surf enthusiasts, the ocean looking gnarly.
Back to Davey, who required just short of a 6 to advance over O’Neill Massin and the extremely gifted Jesse Mendes. The wind was making life difficult for the guys in the water. Most people would have required an extra set of arms to paddle against it with some opting to come in and run around the beach to find the channel. Davey, the human Labrador, did what he could to level up, really digging deep, but was unable to lock in a high enough score in what was the closest heat of the day.
Twelve hours of surfing remain with 2 South Africans left to fly the flag here on home turf. Be sure to make your way to the beach tomorrow and don’t forget to bring the gees. Let’s all get behind the manne and make sure a local lifts that trophy, see you there!