Mr Smith dazzles at the point break made famous by 'The Endless Summer'.
As a precursor to the Corona Open JBay, the rare old lady that is Bruce’s Beauties came alive last week, slap bang in the middle of school holidays. Some people have been surfing in South Africa for years and years, and have never had a chance to see her break, let alone get to surf Bruce’s. This session changed all that for many, with a crew of visiting surfers on it.
Most swells that hit the area are from the southwest or from the west. These are the swells that travel up the coast from Cape Town and head up, eventually banging into the reef at Supertubes, forming the world-renowned almond shaped barrels that all know and love. Those swells do not even touch Bruce’s. A solid ten-foot west swell will be absolutely flat at Bruce’s. She needs a specific direction to come alive, a certain number of degrees from a certain direction before she starts showing herself.
On top of this swell conundrum, Bruce’s and the rest of St Francis Bay has suffered from a serious lack of sand, with the beaches so badly eroded that at high tide there is no beach left. The point used to be alongside a sand dune, and anyone who has seen Endless Summer will remember the surfers climbing the dune to find the wave, the absolute highlight of the movie.
The late Bruce Brown, the man after whom the wave is named, filmed it in 1963 and the movie was released in 1966, starting a worldwide exodus of surfers heading out to find nirvana in St Francis Bay. Gradually the area became more and more popular as a seaside and surfing escape, and over time the sand dune was reclaimed, and the land was developed. The developers used up every single piece of land, and no sand blow-through gaps were left, the one thing that could have fed the point with nourishing sand.
On top of that, the St Francis Bay harbour, Port St Francis was developed and completed in 1997, blocking off the last sand dune access to the water. Although developed further up the point, that access was also crucial as a feeder to Bruce’s. Either way, there is no sand at the point, and now she only breaks at low tide, and as the tide moves in the wave turns into a wonky backwash-riddled wave that breaks too close to the rocks.
So it’s quite understandable that so many people have never ridden Bruce’s before, and the rumour goes that Jordy was one of them.
On 27 June Jordy was in town, preparing for the Corona Open JBay, when Bruce’s came alive for the first time in many months. Even Killers, the rare section further up the point that hardly ever breaks, was doing its thing. Jordy scored, along with a bunch of locals and everyone else on holiday in this resort town.
With John John out of the game and with Jordy sitting near the top of the Jeep leaderboard, this is quite possibly Jordy’s time. He is fit and focused and on his game. Jordy is currently competing in the Ballito Pro QS 10,000 in Durban, an event that he has won twice, in 2010 and in 2017. Jordy is always strong in his home country and his performance at Bruce’s showed just that.
Video by Nick Christy