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Cold Water

Cold Water

by Rock Bottom, images by Craig Kolesky / 04.08.2010

South Africa is blessed with the kind of surfing talent that on any given day and at any given contest we can just throw some random local surfers into the line up and have them beating the world’s best. Who also happens to be a South African. What can we say? Our cup runneth over. At the Oneill Cold Water classic in Cape Town last week, a retired family man, Greg Emslie, and a Kom-skom manchild, Matt Bromely, took out current world number one Jordy Smith. OK that some-random-local-surfers line may not be entirely true. But Jordy did get sort of smoked. Sort of. Maybe the magic crystals his current squeeze, the pneumatic Tanit Phoenix, brought to him before his heats during the Billabong Pro hadn’t fully recharged in the sea during the full moon at the beginning of the week, or maybe he got caught out by the “tricky” (read wretched sideshore) conditions. All I can report is that the world number 1 went down. For the rest of the event we got to see Jordy on land, hanging about, shaking hands and signing autographs, tagged closely by his New Best Friend, who, it is widely rumoured, claimed to be “the best surfer on the WQS and a big wave surfer of note” but is better known to all as “Laces” (because he’s so far up Jordy’s ass all you can see sticking out is his shoelaces). But I digress. There was no shame in Jordy getting knocked out of the competition before the quarter-finals, it was the same fate that befell many of the top seeds, thanks mainly to some rather odd choices of venue by the contest directors. Not that the contest directors had much to choose from. It was just another week of kak Cape Town weather. Cape Town is a difficult place to have a surf contest.

The Kom Caravan

After a good start, the first day was held in almost contestable conditions at Noordhoek, which consisted of late entries and lower than the low seeds, the comp was then taken to an uncontestable Outer Kom for the second round. Outer Kom was once considered a world class break by the older Cape Town crew back in the late 70’s. They also used to surf competitions in woollen rugby jerseys and smeared themselves with vaseline or whale blubber to stay warm. Today it probably really should not be considered a contest venue. I don’t even think anyone surfs the place anymore. Maybe just aspiring big wave surfers ready to take the next step after progressing from Muizenberg. And the old crew from the late 70’s, who’ve never travelled.

14 year old Benji Brand contesting at the Kom

Only once top seeds like Stuart Kennedy, who is in contention to take out the $50 000 O’Neil Coldwater series prize, seasoned Ozzy veteran Jarred Howse, and Mr Price Pro runner up and contender to become ASP Africa champ, Casey Grant, lost their first heats at the famous 70’s World Class Surf Break did the contest directors finally decide to call it quits for the day. Stuart Kennedy got to watch the rest of the comp and possibly his $50 000 bonus slipping into someone else’s hands. Like maybe Royden Bryson.

For the final two days the directors didn’t cut their noses to spite their face, rather they just hid their faces under hoodies and went ahead running the rest of the comp at the all too well known, dull and dreadful, Long Beach. The contest venue list was long. Outer Kom was on the list. Crayfish Factory was on the list. There was even talk of both Elands and Kalk Bay. Long Beach was not on the contests venue list. It is that bad. Royden Bryson will tell you it is bad. Jordy Smith will tell you it’s bad. Greg Emslie will tell you it’s bad. Even the locals don’t rate it too highly. Amazingly it was the only surfable/contestable wave in the whole of Cape Town. Is Cape Town that bad?

This turn was not enough for Jordy Smith

Jordy and Royden lost out early to shifting fade-outs and quick close out peaks with gale force side to offshore winds. Royden watched his lead in the O’Neil Cold Water Classic and that $50 000 bonus checque get blown out to sea on that stiff breeze. Jordy probably just didn’t care. He’s got bigger fish to slice up and serve as sushi on the World Championship Tour. Royden did care. Stuart Kennedy still cares.

There is only so much you can write about a contest at Long Beach. Retired family man Greg Emslie won with a wave he did two turns on in the last minute. Australian Dion Aktinson came second.

Still it’s a good thing for Cape Town to have a big pro surfing event, even if the weather and the waves don’t really come to the party. Hopefully it’ll help improve the general state of surfing in the old colony. Maybe next year the Cold Water Classic will go West. As long as the three locals up West don’t mind.

Davey Brand escapes a Kom lip

1970s Contest Venue

Quentin Tshabalala showing some style

Wrong Beach

Roosta spraying a fine rooster-tail

Another close-out floater. Woot!

Ricky Basnett's signature move. The Cutback!

All images © Kolesky/Nikon.

12   4
  1. dylan says:

    Laces. Bwahahaha.

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  2. Paul Botha says:

    What a crock of unadulterated crap! Not surpising the author didn’t put his name to this – nevermind Rock Bottom – Bottom Feeder would be more appropriate!

    The O’Neill CWC SA is billed as the ‘wildest event in pro surfing’ and, like the 2009 edition, this year’s event certainly lived up to that tag. There was no whinging from Kennedy, Howse, Grant, Bryson or Smith when they were eliminated in wild conditions – coping with the conditions is what the event is all about.

    What kind of brain-dead sensationalist expounds on Jordy’s girlfriend and other trash-talk like ‘Laces’ when there were moments of magic produced by Benji Brand, 14, top scoring at the Outer, the local school sending their pupils to the beach to watch the World No. 1 in action, Jordy giving them his attention and motivating the next generation of rippers and Emslie’s outstanding come-from-behind victories in both the semis and the final.

    As for the inaccuracies – wetsuits have been widely used here since the late 60’s, so there was nobody surfing the Outer in ‘woolen jumpers’ or ‘smeared with whale-blubber’ in the late 70’s. And the Spur Surfabout at the Outer was the best contest outside of Hawaii in 1985.

    Grow up and smell the kelp – life is great! Only self-serving sycophants like Gerry Springer need to denigrate others to feel good.

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  3. Rook says:

    Just a thought… is Paul Botha perhaps involved with the Oneill Cold Water Classic in some way or the other. Doesn’t his company do their PR?

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  4. Andy says:

    Hey Paul
    thanks for giving us another perspective. I saw Benji’s heat and it was by far the highlight of the competition for me. Just so you know Rock Bottom is the pseudonym of a South African professional surfer. The reason he writes under a pseudonym is so that he can fully express himself and his opinions and experiences, serious or frivolous, on all aspects of the South African surf industry, without any fall out from brands or sponsors affecting his career. An unrestricted insider’s perspective, if you will.

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  5. Kyle says:

    @ Paul: Its Jerry Springer not Gerry.

    Kiff article. Go Laces!

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  6. BigWaveSteve says:

    My name’s not Laces.

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  7. Scuba Steve says:

    That wasn’t me. BigWaveSteve, isn’t me. And it’s not laces either.

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  8. Surfer boy says:

    I enjoyed the article, people do take this to serious. Who was that guy hanging with Jordy, is he a Pro surfer?

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  9. true story says:

    You know the type of guy who’d claim to punch a shark and expect you to believe it? If not, you should meet my man Steve.

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  10. John says:

    I heard him telling someone he is sponsored by Nixon, Billabong and VZ.

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  11. It's all gouda says:

    Ag man ous, stop being so heavy on Steve. Surfing needs him and every lineup has a Steve of their own. Without the kooks you can’t have the cool-guys. And just because this particular kook has managed to charm his way into Jordy’s inner circle doesn’t mean that the knives need to come out. Either Jordy will see him for what he is and cut him loose, or a lonely ou will have a friend, which is nice because he doesn’t have any.

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  12. murph says:

    What I find laughable is how the very same guys who laughed Steve off the patch pre-Jordy, are now chommying up to him in order to get closer to Jordy.

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  13. vanessa says:

    this is utter crap! steve is the most underated capetonian surfer ever. he told me, so there!!!

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  14. lolzies says:

    I can see steve printing this article out and putting it in his portfolio alongside a Son Surf Club runner up certificate.

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  15. The Tooth says:

    I’m still adjusting to him being called “Laces”…way to funny!

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  16. Stringy Steve says:

    I love jordy xxxxxx, please stop calling me “Laces” its “Butt String” aka “Manpom (man tampon).

    I also love and know all famous musicians, DJ’s, Brand managers, models, the American President, the shark from Jaws aka JAWS…….the list goes on…..

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  17. cape town surfer says:


    ‘wildest event in pro surfing’ ….the contest was held at LONG BEACH….hardly anything wild about that.

    I thought the event exposed Cape Town surf for what it was….kak.

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  18. Yes everyone... says:

    …listen to cape town surfer, it’s kak there. It’s cold, windy, full of close outs and woolly peaks, lank sharks and the locals are dooses. Don’t go, trust me.

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  19. competitor says:

    u rght cape town is kak
    only thing wild is the parties,,rest is wind and waves that are shite

    they dont get good dont fool urselves

    laces rips and rules

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  20. Bodyboarder 4 Life says:

    Thats why i love and live in the Southern Cape

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  21. Pablo says:

    That’s right, kapstadt waves are kak, pap, cold, crowded, did I mention kak?
    Don’t even bother bringing your board when you come jol here, or better yet, stay in Durb’s or in the southern cape or wherever there are good waves, cos you won’t find any here…

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  22. SI says:

    Lol by the way you people bicker i would say it’s not “the locals” that are dooses – It’s surfers in general. Can’t we all just get along and stop “slating” people who are doing their own thing ^_^?

    Nice article.

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  23. wysdom says:

    ya, cape town is crap, its contest directors think the sun shines out of their arse, the waves suck, the waters cold, the wind howls and its a kak place to have contests as it’s inconsistent as hell, there are sharks, the locals are hectic, there is nothing to do, so why dont you all just stay away so I can enjoy those kif days when its glassy and six foot at the dunes with nobody but me and my buddy out there.

    And when you see me sitting out at that break (or any other break for that matter) on my own, dont paddle in after me, i am surfing there on my own because there are only enough waves there for one, not for 20 sheeple shrurfers.

    Point is, that was a good article, honest straight up. Laces and all 🙂 maak my lag!
    So, surfing is uncool, especially swanker contest bullshit. Dont get into surfing, its difficult, there are too many shark biscuits out there, too many groms and all of the kooks have let out the secret spots so that there are none left. That is, besides the ones I know, so dont follow me out when I am on my own, see above.

    And yes, cape town surf is kak, is kak (please repeat endlessly until you believe it – put it your ipod and play it endlessly until you BELIEVE it…….)
    And despite the denial above @Paulbotha, we did use rugby jersies to keep us warm, over our whale blubber, because thats all there was until about 1970. Jeezlike ou, take a joke and dont get anal…….
    Truth is sometimes it cooks, sometimes its kak, but repeat to yourself, its mostly kak, so stay at home and dont drop in………

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  24. John says:

    HA HA HA HA, Laces….”PRO SURFER” thats so bloody funny……since when is he a Pro Surfer

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  25. 783SURFER says:

    I am so stokd my buddy forwarded me the link to this site.
    I surfed in the contest and the conditions were definately challenging, but i think its what oneill wants. Longbeach is kuk…but i saw every ou and his son down at the beach for the final day. It was un conditions and awesome to watch and be apart of.

    If i had the money i would put on more of these contests. Gives the locals a chance to make some $$$$ as i did.

    Good on ya oneill.
    See you all in the kak waves of 783

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  26. Dan says:

    Cape Town Surf Kak? I got barrelled off my nogan at a relatively known spot while the pros battled away at umanageably sideshore kom. Im glad the buggers never cared to take a peak over the hill while a small group of us got secretly slotted.

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  27. wysdom says:

    Dan, soosh broe, dont tune them.
    Just tell everyone the surf is kak here. Moenie spog ‘ie.

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  28. Scuba Steve says:

    I am a Pro Surfer!!!!!! I made $300 at the WQS in Durban for getting dead last in my first heat. That is way more than I have made from modeling this year. Yup, I’m a model in addition to being a Pro Surfer, full package baby! Anyway since I’ve made more money surfing than anything else that makes me PRO!!!!

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  29. Anton says:

    Tanit Phoenix is so hot!!! What is this dude talking about, why does he have to slate Tanit in this article, I think its awesome she even came to support the guys. She’s friends with Roosta, Neil, Royden and some of the other dudes.. I wish she had pitched up in her bikini, sexy girl…

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  30. can-it says:

    Hot yes. Doff definitely. How else would you explain her hanging out with such scumbags?

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  31. roosta says:

    ah that’s a bit rough…
    either way Laces legend lives on!

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  32. dom says:

    Tanit is friends with Jordy’s sister, and she is not dating him, he eluded to the press that she is! As far as I hear Tanit Phoenix is dating an American.. She is in LA right now shooting lead for FEMME FATALES.. as far as I know, this image Jordy tried to portray to the international media that Tanit Phoenix is his girl, created a massive disturbance and Tanit does not hang with him at all! She is a classy girl, an amazing actress! She will be on the FHM cover of JANUARY 2011! Jordy you messed up, bad luck boet!

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  33. Pleb2 says:

    I just googled her, woah! Tanit Phoenix has 4 films(international) coming out this year… I reckon Jordy tried to jump on that train and create a stir… what a douche! hahahahaha.. he may be able to surf, but he’s got nothing to attract Tanit Phoenix! I reckon she hung out with him at O’neil out of support for his sister… That makes her a good soul…

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  34. Vicktor says:

    What an idiot!!! Telling people he is dating Tanit Phoenix… I hope she gave him a stif clap to the upper lip for that! He needs more than that though, a good smack upside his fat skull

    Bet he is embarrassed, hahahahahahahaha.. idiot

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  35. Andy says:

    nought Vicktor I just think people jumped to that conclusion because they were hanging out

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  36. Sam says:

    Tanit Phoenix is not dating Jordy smith.. they were only hanging out as ‘friends’, although I got the inside scoop that he desperately wanted her to be his bird..
    she turned him down.. she is a beautiful person, amazing actress! super Sexy.. and way to much class for Jordy

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  37. Reed says:

    Jordy Smith is a an ass..he thought he could get ‘in there’ with Tanit Phoenix.. haha.. he got NO WHERE! and to top it off he lost her friendship due to his arrogant attitude… As a surfer he is good, as a good guy-he is an ass.. no class, such a shame.. he is as stupid as they come

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