Hey J-Bayby Craig Jarvis / 13.07.2009
It’s that time of the year again when the travelling circus known as the World Championship Tour of Surfing sets up camp in J-Bay. You can expect sponsored man-children behaving badly, looser than average groupies, snooty surf wannabes, posers, gangsters, pros, surf-obsessed families with dogs, egos, chest thumping, calamari, beers, reggae music, rock music, the smell of ganja and braais, an assortment of funny accents all set to the backdrop of some blistering hot surfing on South Africa’s unparalleled pointbreak. Apparently the sand is back and the waves in J-Bay are all time. Join us as Mahala gives you the low down on the high jinks from the Billabong Pro in Jay Bay!
It has been a few years since Sean Holmes has surfed in the Billabong Pro, but judging from the cheers and whistles from the beach, it’s like he never left. Having said that, the cheering would probably have greeted anyone who surfed such a heat as Sean’s this morning. The waves were three to five-foot and Sean went berzerko, leaving Hawaiian Dustin Barca in the dust, despite a phenomenal last wave that saw him sit in the tube almost to The Point take-off spot (which is a long, long way, non-surfer dude). Sean went on to post the highest heat score of the day with an emphatic 15.93, once again vindicating his wild-card inclusion. There isn’t really any doubt as to his credentials, just ask Andy Irons, who was soundly beaten twice by the Wilderness kid. Barca was not impressed, but to be fair he took the loss like a man, which is more than can be said for some of AI’s tantrums in the past.
So we have: Sean Holmes in, Davey Weare out, Greg Emslie in, Ryan Payne out, Jordy Smith in (seeded) and Ryan Payne out. Not totally good but not totally bad either. And on to the gossip.
The deal is that we’re not allowed to talk about it. The rumours of a breakaway tour have become stronger, but probably just because the media love a gossip, like we’re doing right now. The new tour is apparently, (don’t quote Mahala on this, it’s a rumour) going to be spearheaded by Slater, it’s going to be sponsored by non-surfing brands and is going to offer US$1.5M per event. Serious coin, and the sort that many believe surfers deserve. It is going to, according to rumour, consist of 16 surfers, and the criteria for a contest is perfect waves. Sound too good to be true? Well, apparently the ASP are shitting themselves, and so they should. More tomorrow from J-Bay
Images courtesy Kolesky/SanDisk