J-Bay is one of those few locales that can take an unruly open-ocean swell and transform it into corduroy perfection. Serving up everything from an easy entry and racing wall to ruler-edged tube sections that appear to stretch on forever, J-Bay truly has it all. Watching the tour's upper echelon— Slater, Smith, Parko, Fanning— maximize every opportunity with minimum excess can be a mesmerizing show. However, watching a lesser surfer struggle to find their line or flow as they butcher a beautiful canvas can leave you questioning the future of our sport. Of the young crew, not many look prepared to match the veterans at a wave like Jeffrey's. My Fantasy Surfer team is composed of a mix of surfers that have either proven themselves here before or have impressed me this year at other spots.
Market Price: $10,000,000
You gotta know when to grind. So far this year, Kelly has been getting some tough lessons in grinding by rookie sensation Italo Ferreria. Instead of waiting for the chips to fall in his favor, Kelly looks to be in need of some good old-fashioned hard work to get back in rhythm and back on the podium.
Market Price: $7,250,000
Jordy shouldn't be content being a top-10 surfer, hell, even a top five; he's better than that. Better than most of us will ever know. But this year, Jordy hasn't provided the results we have expected. At least there is J-Bay, a lineup where the big Saffa has found his footing in the past. It would be lovely to see him come back to form at home next week and take the win here.
Market Price: $8,500,000
There's an age-old adage in surfing that goes like this: the easier you make it look, the better it is. Parko wins that contest every time. Less is always more. Go Parko.
Market Price: $1,500,000
Did anyone else notice that Dane’s turns at Cloudbreak were like some GMO hybrid of AI and Chris Ward in their peaks? I must've watched his highlight reel from the comp more than a dozen times. To boot, he was even surfing smart heats! Not that lightning has much of a reputation for striking twice, but if Dane takes a similar approach to J-Bay, he could really be changing the face of the 2015 World Title race via his wildcard performances. While we're at it, could we get Tom Curren in on these wildcards as well? Tom at J-Bay would really open peoples' minds.
Market Price: $8,250,000
Julian has begun to reap the benefits of a lifetime of dedicating himself to a goal. As far as venues are concerned, J-Bay is yet another wave that the Aussie has come to know and perform well enough at to challenge anyone, anytime, in any condition.
Market Price: $3,000,000
Dusty put fear in the eyes of anyone he drew in a heat this year. A wave like J-Bay gives the rest of the Tour even more of a reason to be scared of one of the WSL's top talents.
Market Price: $9,250,000
After putting on one the most impressive performances in the history of the sport at Cloudbreak, Owen flew back to Australia and took on large Winkipop, like a man possessed to prepare for J-Bay. Owen for World Champion 2015!