Some tens are better than others.
The cancellation of the CT event this year at JBay was a massive loss. Despite the waves pumping, and an excellent season of surf thus far, the Corona Open JBay brings such a vibe to the town, along with the JBay Winterfest.
There are many moments over the years that have taken the JBay venue and event into an almost-otherworldly place. Tom Curren's first wave, Jordy's first win, Occy's massive victory in '84, Joel's rookie win, Luke Egan's win in the Dream Sequence, Sean Holmes performances, and so many more.
One wave that shattered the norms and literally changed surfing history was Toledo's early morning round-four ride in 2017. Granted. It was the year that rained ten-point scores, which subsequently saw a permanent change in the WSL head judge position, but Toledo's wave was a ten in anyone’s book. It defied logic, it defied every rule of probability. It even seemed to defy every convention and preconception that has ever been formulated about the way Jbay could be surfed.
Prior to Toledo’s tradition-shattering ride, the three biggest innovators were probably Occy, Curren, and Jordy. Slater, Burrow, Andy Irons, Parko, Medina, Sean Holmes, and numerous others were all absolutely scintillating at Supers. However, it was that aforementioned amazing trio of surfers who actually did the most creative and innovative surfing out at Supers, in my opinion.
Toledo was pumping down the line on a medium-sized, devil- wind-ruffled Supertubes bomb. Unexpectedly, he launched into a huge, hands-free alley-oop like some kind of solar-tickling Icarus figure. Unlike Icarus, he landed perfectly and continued along his way. That single move, when watched in slow motion and analyzed, was a 10-point ride in itself.
Toledo's surfing genius knew no bounds that year, and his second full-rotation alley-oop on the same wave was more critical, riskier, and more extreme. The landing wasn't as perfect as the first, but you would be totally splitting hairs there. The fact that he rode out of it with speed to burn and his eyes set on more turns was almost grotesque. He had just turned the judging on its head and redefined the performance approach to Jbay. With that single wave, he had eclipsed every high-performance wave or move ever performed at Supertubes.
To continue the total outrage, he went on to perform six more moves, from forehand gouges to cutbacks to floaters and re-entries. En route, he totally wiped clear the previous high-performance scoring criteria at the wave, whatever those criteria were. On a ten-point scale, it was a straight 20 points and raised many doubts as to the validity of the scale then.
Should ten points be awarded that easily? At that fabled 2017 Jbay event, Toledo picked up one in the second round, and Julian Wilson scored a 10-point ride, along with John John Florence, Frederico Morais, and Jordy Smith. The South African went one better and was awarded a perfect 20-points in his heat, along with another 10-point ride during a re-surfed heat.
Does it really matter? One of the best waves in the world, in epic form, with the best surfers in the world competing on it. Shit's going to go down. It could easily be compared to an arena like Olympic Gymnastics, where a 10-point score was deemed impossible until 1976. In that year Romanian Nadia Comaneci became the first person to score a perfect 10 at the Olympic Games in Montreal. After that, the floodgates opened slightly with 10-point scores. It happens. The four-minute mile was impossible until Bannister decided it wasn't. Now it's not that rare an occurrence.
Perhaps Feeling somewhat left out of the ten-party, one of the skippers of a water safety boat, Oliver Tonkin, decided to make earn himself a little fame. He proceeded to ride a beastly eight-foot wave on one of the boats, earning possibly the biggest roar from the crowds the whole damn day. It was bold and could have gone horribly wrong in a ‘Kook of the Day’ kind of way, but it didn’t and the beach commentators gave him 10 points for the ride as well.