A freak occurrence at J Bay has this year's Billabong pro set to really get lacquer. Everyone says so.
By Jed Smith
Golden sand gives J Bay a sparkle.
Jeffrey's Bay is in the midst of a natural anomaly, which long time J Bay surfers predict will result in one of the great contests in recent times.
Two weeks ago a large swell of eight to ten feet struck the region stripping thousands of tonnes of sand from the beaches to J Bay's west. That sand has all been deposited along the famous wave.
Greg Long and Grant 'Twiggy' Baker were here to surf the swell and reportedly scored unheralded tubes at Boneyards, the section at the top of the point. The depositing of sand along the point has become non-existent in recent years. It used to happen regularly in J Bay's early days, but since the surrounding area has been developed sand has been unable to be shifted onto the point.
Contest director, Snips Parsons has been coming here since the early 80's and has never seen anything resembling it. "It's nuts. I've never seen it like this, I just hope we get the swell and winds so these guys can do their thing."
The sand plugs the gaps in the reef making the wave hollower and consistently longer. On a waist high day, rides were consistently going the length of supertubes, while one local said the spinning, sandy tubes being whirled out "looks like a two foot Kirra." J Bay usually doesn't even barrel at this size.
An all-star cast including Parko, Fanning, Taj, Tom Curren and Jordy amongst others enjoyed the conditions.
Jordy appeared on the beach in a blue wetsuit with two boards underarm and drew all and sundry's attention. Surfers, cameraman and the public were trained on the giant 20 year old, now sporting a growing mane of chocolate curls, as he made his way to the water. His first wave was a shin high one that wrapped the point. He got off a couple of lazy turns before on his next wave, a slightly bigger one, he jammed an impeccable of mini-oop. His rotation has such purpose and the landing, a grandiose slap of the board sending spray out the sides of his rails, was pure poetry.
He is oblivious to the attention. In the water, he is loud, amusing and unaffected. As Rabbit arched past in classic pose, he screamed at him, "Oh yeah Bugs! He loves Snapper, you know he loves Snapper." The sand build up was working its way into everyone's subconscious.
Kieran Perrow was also out there and expressed shock at the sand build up. "I've never seen it like this," he said, before telling me that he arrived two weeks ago for the tail end of that swell and had one of his best surfs at the spot. "It was five foot and fucken crazy. So hollow, so many barrels." Though he said the sand was disappearing fast and had significantly evaporated since he arrived.
According to South African surfer and J Bay regular Davy Weare, it won't matter. There's still more than he's ever seen and it's definitely going to hang around for the contest. "Oh yeah, it's gonna be a lot more hollow. There will be heaps more barrels." Splendid.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE FROM JED SMITH THROUGHOUT THE 2009 BILLABONG PRO J-BAY JULY 9-19