And So It Beginsby Luke Mason, images Roy Harley and ASP/Billabong / 16.07.2011
The world’s best surfers are here. Cameramen hunt hungrily. Fans line the beaches, giddy and star-struck as the surfing’s elite focus their energies on this legendary wave machine. The eyes of the surfing world are glued to internet screens from Japanese cubicles to smartphones in San Diego. Dolphins swim down the point completely unconcerned. Beautiful women prowl the contest area, hoping to get their nails into something with a picture perfect backhand snap. The festival atmosphere is alive again! The Billabong show of Billabong town; J-Bay powders its cheeks and pouts in the limelight. It’s all happening, well, everything but the surf.
The main event scrambled into gear yesterday morning with the first round surfers hitting an Indian Ocean snoring in post-coital exhaustion. For the last couple months, swell after swell has pounded the South African coastline, filling every nook and cranny with the bone-rattling stoke of perfect surf. It has been the best winter of surf in recent memory, any South African surfer with his head screwed on will pay testament to the wave glut of the sardine season 2011. But as Murphy would have it, and as far as South Africa’s premier surfing event is concerned, winter seems to have peaked too soon. Against all expectations, the swell forecasts look pretty glum. Will we get the 3 days of surfing needed to run the event? For the first time in ages, Supertubes looks set to under-deliver.
It’s a macabre image, 2-3 foot on the sets, an onshore already tickling, closing the door on the most promising surf day for the next week of competition. Contest organisers and surfers alike watch the swell charts nervously, hoping Mother Nature will snap out of her stupor. There are whispers of waves tomorrow, but beyond that, the general feeling is that we’ll have to find something else to do until Thursday next week. None-the-less the surfing this morning has been far from the lacklustre slop chopping I expected. Every swell to put in the extra effort and actually break has been absolutely annihilated by surfing’s Jedi Knights. Jordy Smith and Mick Fanning are looking really good. Kelly hasn’t pitched. Wild card Sean Holmes surfed well for his second place, Sean Payne less so. Check out the site for more info, results and the live webcast. The lack of waves will bring out the backstage beasts. We got a music festival to entertain this weekend. So watch out for that… Waves or not, it’s gonna be crazy week. We’ll keep you posted.