10 July, 2016 10 July, 2016

Jordy VS John: Well That Was Kak

The unforeseen lines rolling through the Supertubes lineup in the early hours of this morning, kicked off the much-anticipated John vs. Jordy Quarterfinal. The action and excitement however, died together with the swell. Ultimately, selling us a dummy.

To the puzzled spectators it seemed obvious to call the contest off when a flat ocean saw a restart of the heat after 15 minutes of no rides. But the show went on. Regardless of who you wanted to make the heat, everyone was on edge with the ups and downs of an anti-climatic session.

Jordy eventually found a decent ride on the challenging waves, taking the lead with a 6.33 in the early stage of the heat. After a series of throw away scores, a frustrated John took to the air landing a solid air reverse, earning him a 7.33 (see image above).

John heads in. Image © Ian Thurtell

John heads in. Image © Ian Thurtell

“So today was really bizarre. I mean we woke up surprised that there were even waves,” said former South African WCT competitor and current WSL Presenter, Rosy Hodge. “All the competitors were stoked to get in the water and were really excited about surfing today. It was interesting because everyone was looking forward to the John John vs. Jordy heat and as soon as the hooter went, it just went dead flat and it was such a bummer.”

Tension was high as the average surf did little to help either surfer perform. It was like watching a magnificent artist attempt to paint a masterpiece – on gravel.

A set in the dying minutes of the heat saw both surfers up and riding for that crucial back up score. The heat ended and both surfers were on the beach waiting for the decision of the judges to score their average rides.


Jordy pictured shortly after hearing the results. Image © Ian Thurtell

The air seemed to evaporate as spectators and surfers watched the replay with baited breaths. The announcement was made. It was John who got the score he needed, overtaking Jordy by just 0.20.

Ultimately, only one of the two phenomenal surfers was going to come out of the water with their J-Bay Open campaign in tact. But many of the spectators felt this could have been unfair given the conditions.

It could be argued that Jordy was underscored on his 4.71. And John John’s low scoring buzzer beater win left spectators with a feeling of ‘well that was kak heat.’

Poor conditions aside, at the end of the day, it was John who performed the most progressive move out there, surfing his back up wave as best he could.


“That was the best 3.37 of my life,” said John after the scores were announced. Image © Ian Thurtell

It would appear the brunt lies with the official call to run today and it just so happens that the local boy Jordy unfortunately may have been hit the hardest from that decision.

Kelly Slater, who was supposed to surf the next quarterfinals, was seen taking off his contest vest whilst an unaware Josh Kerr paddled out for his heat. The conditions were so obviously poor and sure enough the contest was called off for the day.

“I was surprised that we were surfing in the first place,” Slater said. “The waves weren’t very good. John and Jordy didn’t have a very competitive heat, I mean they were close but they weren’t able to really to open up and do anything on their waves. The waves were pretty poor, I didn’t want to surf neither did Gabriel, Mick or the others so that kind of made the decision easier for me to go to Kieran [WSL Commissioner] with the support of those guys.”


Jordy hunting for the required small score in the last 35 seconds of his quarter-final heat vs John. Image Sourced.

We all want to see the remaining quarter-finals run in better conditions but it just adds salt to the wounds that the other surfers will get a better chance. Spectators watched an understandably unhappy Jordy Smith’s every move with puppy dog eyes and hushed whispers spread along the boardwalk and grandstands. Despite the attention, Jordy appeared to graciously accept the gamble that is surfing – for the cameras at least.

We continued to watch as Jordy hit the water for a free-surf where he channeled his energy into some mind-blowing surfing, keeping up the stoke.


Jordy in the free surf after today’s bumming morning. Image © Ian Thurtell

*Lead Image © John John’s winning air. Image © Ian Thurtell


  1. Tonya Goldberg
    10 July, 2016 at 11:47 am · Reply

    I watched the whole heat and it was anti-climactic to say the least…till about the last 5 minutes when I was on my feet squealing and shouting with every tic of the clock…but hands down, John Florence took the crap hand they were both dealt this morning and parlayed it into a deserved win with some super strategic competitive surfing. They had the same opportunities–or mostly lack of them–and John pulled it out of the hat, no doubt!

    • brad coetzee
      10 July, 2016 at 1:34 pm · Reply

      wut? he won by .20, you talk like it was a walk over.

  2. patflan
    10 July, 2016 at 12:57 pm · Reply

    Mistakes and righteous indignation. We’re all guilty. Conspiracy theory or favouritism I doubt. Could have been great but that’s how it rolls. Get over it.

  3. Mark Jacobs
    11 July, 2016 at 9:28 am · Reply

    It’s less about conspiracy theories or favouritism as it is plain negligence. Fair enough, the waves may have looked ‘contestable’ early on before the start. But after 15 minutes without even a semblance of a wave and a decidedly increased wind up the face, Kieren should have made the call and called it off.
    If, as Kelly says, he and Gabs and Mick had already expressed their unwillingness to run, it further justifies that call. But Mr Perrow didn’t do that, and what was one of the most anticipated heats of the event, became an anti-climatic

    embarrassment to J-Bay and the WSL.

  4. Brynn Jones
    11 July, 2016 at 10:09 am · Reply

    Yeah mother nature kicked Kieren and the WSL in the balls ….they should have pulled the plug on this heat.We just wanted a decent biffo bottom line.

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