A sneaky little swell turns Supertubes on for the second day of the Corona Open JBay
It happens. The swell at first light was non-existent, and the event was put on hold for a couple of hours. On cue, as the call was made and everyone started disappearing, the first couple of lines started marching around the corner from Boneyards. Not massive, not firing, but highly contestable, and over the next two hours it improved with every set.
Spectators arriving at 10 am would have borne witness to Supertubes perfection reeling down the point, with a gaggle of pros and free surfers getting some absolute bombs, but no contests.
Jordy Smith paddled out and got totally barreled, and there were more bombs. By the time the second call was made, at 11 am, it was pumping pretty much. A good direction on what seemed like a localized swell, it was time to hit it.
The first few heats were the last few women’s seeding rounds, with wins banked by Paige Hareb, Lakey Peterson, and Caroline Marks. The goofy-footer was on fire in her heat.
Then it was on to the men’s elimination round. It’s still a strange format that many people struggle to enjoy, with only four surfers knocked out of the event after two full rounds of surfing. It appears to slow things down a bit. Spectators and surf fans don’t like to be confused. They like to be able to easily understand and comprehend formats, like a simple sudden death format, and anything else tends to confuse the average punter. We spent time today chatting to local spectators, and explaining the concept to them. Some of them got it. Some went to the beer cue after the detail got too much.
Jack Freestone was the undisputed winner of the first elimination heat, with Ryan Callinan and Beyrick De Vries fighting for non-elimination. A late flurry saw an exchange between Callinan and De Vries, and my patriotism saw De Vries doing enough, but the po-faced judges gave it to the ever-popular Callinan. Dog Marsh, ever-present and carefully observing, looked pleased.
The waves continued to pump. It was one of those days that, when certain sets came through at certain angles with certain angles of sun, it looks absolutely sublime. It was a scene of picture-perfect, picturesque perfection. It was warm as well. Middle of winter, and bikinis were out, Coronas were flowing and Red Bulls were getting crushed. Spirits were high. There might have been some dancing. It was a day at the beach down here.
Jeremy Flores smashed the second elimination heat. He was killing it, but Frederico Morais was looking good as well and in the lead for most of it. It was a last minute flurry at the end of the heat - that was blessed with firing surf throughout - that saw the French surfer put on a fierce and determined effort to wrestle the win from the Portuguese competitor who was event runner-up in 2017 to Toledo. Flores was stoked. When he gets that certain fury going, he is pretty much unstoppable.
The final elimination heat was an all-Brazilian affair, with three of the members of The Storm coming up against each other. There was no teamwork out there, but the waves were still delivering and there were some perfect speed-runs and some big hits. At the siren it was Peterson Crisanto who took the win from Cardoso, aka The Panda, and while Jaddy Andre went off to pack his bags.
There is talk that tomorrow might be a lay day, but with the current trend – of firing surf arriving unannounced every day – there’s no call to be made at any stage until the important people are standing in front of the waves tomorrow. And even then, they might struggle again to make the call.