26 February, 2012 26 February, 2012

Jarvi in Oz: Quiksilver Pro Day 2 – the Wonder Years

‘Has the sand arrived?’ It’s the first thought that enters my mind as I wake up, soon followed by the usual barrage of babbling thoughts that hit you when you’re in a strange bed in a strange land after a few strange drinks in a strange bar with some strange people.

The usual ‘where am I?’ quickly followed by the ‘what happened last night?’ its collaterals ‘who stole all my money?’ and ‘who placed an empty pizza box next to my bad?’ and finishing off with the perennial ‘where the fuck is the toilet in this joint because I need it now?’ which leads us back to the sand deposits.

I’ve never surfed Snapper. The last time I was here the wave didn’t exist as it does now. I’m keen on having a look, and seeing what all the drama is about the sand.

After my morning ablutions and my orientation with my surrounding, I head on down. I walk up the hill to check out D-Bah first. It’s way before 6am and there are 40 guys on the far peak, and it looks shit. I keep walking. I head down on the path to Froggies and come up behind Snapper. There are a lot of people in the water. I see a lump of onshore mess approach them. It kind of slows down and someone scrambles for it. I’m barely focused, trying to figure out what the wave is doing before I witness it hit the bank, go below sea level, and watch someone get totally piped right next to the rock.

The swarms of people out there are scrambling, and the waves are quite good underneath the cross-shore ruffle. I decide to walk up and have a close look. I climb along the rocks almost all the way to the jump-off spot, and I figure it out. This is quite gnarly, and the only way you’re going to get a wave out there is if you’re a very, very good surfer. You’re also going to need to be superhumanly fit. Luck is going to play a big part. As is bravery, and lack of fear of the rocks. It looks like a total nightmare with waves hitting the bank so square. It’s not very big in height, but it’s looking totally impenetrable. This is too heavy. I realize that I can’t do it.

A group of groms arrive, and without looking, the launch into the maelstrom. Some get worked, some get to backline where they can face off with Mick Fanning an Occy for sets. A goup of girls arrive. They’re in little bikinis and they look quite petite and soft. They wait for a gap, and launch, with all of them getting out. This is fun to watch. Mick Fanning does a run around, and just launches behind, into the abyss. An old man dons a Gath, hits the gap and gets pounded as his lame old arms refuse to sprint paddle for him. He heads down the point; doesn’t make it out. I think it’s Craig Sims.

Dane Reynolds made the commentators excited. © ASP / Kirsten

The anticipated Taj Burrow vs Dane Reynolds heat is quite good, but made a mockery of by the commentators, determined to make this heat more than what it is, and to legitimately elevate Dane to Godhead status, which he kind of deserves, but that’s not the point. ‘You’re watching the greatest heat to ever take place in professional surfing,” the one commentator croaks, or words to that effect. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, this is some of the greatest surfing you are ever going to witness.” He continues, or superlatives similar. “Dane, you’re welcome to stay out and surf after your heat, the public will have a whip-around to pay your fines,” he drones on. They are just so enthralled by your surfing and so are we that we all want to perform fellatio on you when you come in…

He doesn’t say that last bit. He said nothing of the sort. That’s why there are no inverted commas around the last supposed comment, but you get my drift. If I was Dane I would want to hide after the ignominy of that sort of commentary, but I’m not Dane, and I like to hide anyway. I’m probably hiding now, as you read this, and I would like to categorically state that I did not get involved in any whip-around, reach-around or anything so related. Dane is eliminated, but still has the fastest ride recorded so far, with a top speed of 36.2 km/h, which has to be worth something, surely… Taj wins the heat despite the one-sided battle against the commentators.

Jordy hits the water in his round two heat against Taylor Knox. It’s a right-hand point-break is ol’ Snapper, which is always going to be good for a natural footed power surfer like Taylor, but it’s not entirely unlike a good low tide bank at New Pier as well. Jordy gets two off the bat and works them through to the inside, doing some massive power carves on the weaker sections. Taylor also swings into some solid S-turns and carves and some big hits. No one is lying down. Jordy has the upper hand, and gets a few more waves. He falls on one; he digs a rail on another. He hunts for more, but nothing good comes. Jordy has done enough and wins the heat. I reckon Jordy was on about 40% in that heat. His two scores were solid, and he ripped tore and lacerated, but I know Jordy. There’s more in the bag. So much more. One of Taylor’s nicknames’ is Bonehead and I can’t remember why. He loses the heat.

Most people agreed that Jordy wasn’t close to form, that there is more coming. Either way, he comes out the water and people flock to him, and he is like a shepherd, watching over that flock.

Travis surfs off after Jordy’s victory, and goes on to do the South African double, wining against Alejo Muniz fro Brazil. There are four of us watching together, two South Africans and two expats. We cheer together, and I seriously consider a midday Corona. Travis has that lightning fast backhand attack, perfectly suited to these zippy little right-handers. He strings together multiple whacks and also heads for round three with a nice little spike of confidence. You’ve gotto love the phrase – ‘multiple whacks.’

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