Spectators at home are rubbing square eyes. They have been fixed to the WSL live stream all day. The beachgoers are dusting off the sand that has now lodged into every crevice. The grand stand die-hards are stretching their hamstrings after sitting too long and sinking one too many Coronas. Today felt like it could have been one of the longest in WSL surfing.
By Gina Smith
Crowds flooded the beach to lap up phenomenal surfing and the surprisingly warm winter sun. Today we were launched from the midway mark of Round 3, to an exciting non-elimination Round 4. Narrowly escaping the dark, the day ended with Round 5. Round 5 being the last chance effort to make the quarterfinals.
Today was packed with exciting heats. One of the highlights for the Saffa’s was the ‘super heat’ between Jordy, John John and Kerzy. Jordy’s powerful turns did not fail to please but John John’s huge air on his opening ride scored and 8.5, soaring him into a winning finish. Usually quick to go to the air as well, is Filipe Toledo. But this time it was his new and improved rail game that earned him his best ever result in J-Bay.
After such an action packed day former WCT competitor, Greg Emslie, shared his wrap up with us during a break from the beach commentary.
“It’s got to be said that the standout was Jordy Smith, the local boy. Just such insane surfing from him. So fast, so solid and he’s looking like he can go all the way here! He’s back in full force for sure.”
In the next few heats we saw an evenly matched show down between the veterans and the young guns. It was a Round 3 match up between the ultra smooth Julian Wilson and Joel Parkinson. Followed by the quick and explosive Mick Fanning and Kanoa Igarashi. It was one to the young guns and one to the veterans with Julian and Mick winning their heats.
Emslie continued to sum up the action of the other heats and top performers: “Jordy aside we have seen good surfing from all our surfers. Kelly Slater looks like he is gaining momentum with lots of flow and speed and he’s nailing the big maneuvers. And Mick Fanning is just looking flawless out here.”
Today highlighted the commitment and thick skin (albeit partly neoprene) of the surfers, with many bashes on the bricks. Medina went for broke on a smaller wave, landing a bold backhand air and coming close to the teeth of the mussels. “It just goes to show how dangerous he is. You can never write him off,” said Emslie.
Despite watching countless awkward rock tumbles, slashed feet, bloodied faces and a full day of exceptional surfing – the upcoming heats are looking even more thrilling.
Day 4 has ended and we have our quarterfinalists. So pray for you Fantasy Team members, latch onto your buddy with the fastest WiFi or get yourself to J-Bay. For these may just be some of the most exciting match ups…
John meets Jordy, Slater takes on Kerr, Julian will dual Medina and Fanning meets Toledo.
Until tomorrow, feast your eyes and feed your mindsurf.
Loving these airs? It’s not very often you see surfers above the lip on a Supertubes wall. We thought we’d pause and let Emslie share some insight on this phenomenon:
“The airs we saw today were conducive to the conditions with lights winds and several sections. With the level of surfing nowadays the guys didn’t have a choice but to mix it up. We have seen everything today – some really big turns and big airs. Not too many tubes but an amazing mix of good solid surfing, which I have really enjoyed.”
*Lead Image: Gabriel Medina. All Images © Ian Thurtell