Parko finishes off at Supers, while De Souza and Colapinto also suffer losses.
It was a Groudhog Day in reverse, as another day of perfection greeted the competitors on day three of the Corona Open JBay. It looked small, and high tide as we all started arriving at the contest site, but as soon as the sun started to rise, the waves rose accordingly, and there were perfect four to six-foot line reeling down the endless point.
The Aussie Start
With the devil wind ruffling the sets, the opening couple of heats were going to be about power, and overcoming the chatter. Wade Carmichael was the first to stamp his authority, literally, by cracking some huge lips and pulling off some massive floaters down at the bottom section. Jeremy Flores had been looking good so far but the heavy hitting of Carmichael sent the Reunion surfer home.
One of the most exciting heats, on paper, was Jeep Leaderboard ratings leader Julian Wilson against the powerful goofy-footer Wiggolly Dantas. In a fairly low scoring heat Wiggolly made a few little mistakes, and Wilson took charge with timeless combos and some explosive lip moves towards the back end of the heat.
One of the heats we had all been waiting for was the Mikey Wright vs Griffin Colapinto encounter. Both surfers had been looking good so far in the contest, and both of the kids are incredibly popular young guys. On paper there was nothing in it, but out in the water, with incredibly perfect waves pouring through, Colapinto took over. Mikey made a mistake on an early bomb, dug a rail, and we all groaned as one of the waves of the day peeled down the point with no-one on it. Griffin surfed solid and precise, found the barrels and hammered the end sections. Then the set of the day came through and the wildcard went on the first one. A huge, extended one-legged layback-hack saw him recover to the cheers of the crowd and then get caught behind to the groans of the crowd. Griffin picked up the wave behind it. Slightly bigger, a little bit faster, and he took full advantage of it, racking up a full repertoire of moves including tube time and a huge carve under the lip at the Impossibles section for a deserved 9.57 and the heat victory.
The first heat of round four was a mix of some of the finest surfers to ever have paddled out at Supers. Joel Parkinson, with a rookie win (1999) and a second win in 2009, Jordy Smith with a win in 2010 and another in 2011, and Rincon surfer Conner Coffin, who is perfectly suited to ripping the long and perfect walls of Supers. It was a close heat, with all surfers perfectly matched with style and approach. All three of them make the waves look easy, and all have very pleasing yet highly functional styles. It was cutthroat though, as the fourth round is no longer non-elimination, and is instead sudden death. Third place in this heat means home time, either Goldie, Durban or Cali. They were all seriously pumped, for different reasons. Joel on his last year on the Pro Tour and his last JBay event on a CT level; Jordy at his favourite break, in front of a screaming crowd, and Coffin who has plenty to prove and is dying to do just that. The positions shifted continuously, with all Coffin, Parko and Smith all occupying the winner’s spot throughout the 40-minute heat. A last-minute flurry of waves saw all three of them pick up bombs, and as the judges scratched their heads and tried to separate the three, we watched endless perfect waves reeling down the point. As the scores dropped no one knew what was coming and who was going to get the nod over three classic rail surfers, and in the end it was Coffin who climbed into the lead, followed closely by Smith, with Parko surfing his last heat at JBay.
Wade Carmichael in the next heat totally over-amped, and caught a wave in the dead time, unable to control himself among the perfect waves, and rode it down to the bottom before kicking out and repositioning himself further down the point. Carmichael proved that he is a Supers kind of surfer, throwing down huge turns on the bigger sets, and advanced with Wilson, while last year’s runner – up Fred Morais was eliminated.
Filipe Toledo once again rewrote how to attack a Supers wall with a 9.5 score for 6 searing lip attacks and went through to the quarters along with Sebastian Zietz, with Adriano de Souza falling by the wayside in heat three, and Kanoa Igarashi surfed out of his skin for a heat total of 18.04, dragging Gabriel Medina through with him and Griffin Colapinto being eliminated, and putting the nail in the coffin with a little paddle battle with Medina in the dying seconds of the heat that saw him marked with an interference.
Today looks like the best day of the week so far, with a solid push in the swell, and light winds. It looks like another early start, and with just the quarters, semis and finals to go, there’s a good chance that we could see a winner in the men’s division tomorrow.