16 July, 2016 16 July, 2016

Fanning For The Win

We awoke from a lay day slumber to find small, sleepy corduroy lines peeling down the point. Spectators and surf addicts had had days to make their bets, analyze the action and shake off some steam on the bumping J-Bay dancefloors. Six long lay days and finally, by 07:40 AM, the 2016 J-Bay Open was underway once more with one of the most exciting quarter final match ups. With only six heats to get through, it was no surprise to see a packed Supertubes from the second the first buzzer rang…

By Gina Smith

The first heat of the day saw Josh Kerr vs Kelly Slater. Despite a great performance throughout the event, Kerr was the dark horse compared to King Kelly. Yet it was Kerr who managed to hold onto an early lead.


Slater slides into another unforgettable J-Bay sunrise

Next up was Julian Wilson vs Gabriel Medina. Medina opened his account with a series of backhand slashes earning him an 8.33. But he was left without a good back up ride in an inconsistent heat. Julian didn’t need a high score as he took a wave in the dying seconds of the heat with Gabriel answering back on the wave behind. You could almost see the Aussie flag billowing in the background as Julian had a campaign moment on the rocks, fist pumping through the salt air when he got the score.

Julian Wilson

Julian Wilson slashes through his quarter final heat vs Medina

Julian Wilson fist pumps for victory

Julian Wilson fist pumps for victory

In the last quarter final match up, Filipe Toledo whipped out his innovative bag of tricks against Mick Fanning’s flawless rail game. But the good old-fashioned power surfing saw Mick take the lead. Leaving us with the question ‘which way is surfing going?’ Progression versus power? But more on that later…

Filipe Toledo

Filipe Toledo puts on another good show

Much hype has been surrounding a very on form John Florence this year, and for good reason. He was well supported in the first semi-final, taking the win with a pair of eight’s in comparison to Josh Kerr’s pair of seven’s.

John Florence

A focused John Florence enters the water with his A-game


Josh Kerr – picturesque

The next semi final was an emotionally charged déjà vu affair with Mick Fanning vs Julian Wilson. It was unfinished business for the two after last year’s infamous ‘shark’ final which shook the surf world. It took a lot of willpower for Julian and Mick to return to J-Bay after such an intense encounter.


Mick warms up with the dolphins

“There was a real emotional build up coming back here this year,” said Mick, “that semi-final with Julian was really special and it was wonderful to have a heat with him again. Definitely some emotions went into it paddling out and it was just really special having a surf with him out there and both of us come in safe…”

It was a good battle, but Mick was destined for glory taking the win with just two rides, an 8.0 and a 9.1.


Flawless Fanning power

Whilst this was Mick’s fifth J-Bay Open final it must be noted that this was John Florence’s first. Mick came flying out the gates with a 7.17, but a composed Florence threw in an air reverse and raised Fanning by an 8.5. Game on…

John Florence

John Florence blows us out the water, again

The Jeffrey’s Bay walls are designed for speed, power and flow and nothing looks better on them than those wrapping carves, hooks and floaters. Mick selected the wave of the day to prove exactly that. The crowed went wild at his beautiful display of surfing that earned him a massive 9.93.


All eyes on the 2016 J-Bay Open champ, Mick Fanning

The heat came down to the surfer’s last two rides. Whilst both surfers appeared to be equally supported, spectators got the shivers when we saw Mick Fanning take the win. Although Mick will be taking a personal year this year, only competing in selected contests, the crowd was stoked to see him in Jeffrey’s Bay again. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, Mick firmly stated that the world title race and results are far less important to him now and he is looking to just enjoy his surfing and focus on that lekker feeling.

Mick, together with all the pros, has reinvigorated the surf stoke in us all and the 2016 J-Bay Open has left us with sun kissed faces, juicy new surf stories, and an exciting twist in the World Title race… Isn’t this why we love it?


John and Mick: Champagne / Corona showers until next year J-Bay…

*Lead Image: Mick Fanning takes the win. All Images © Ian Thurtell

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