Tuesday 20 March 2018 / 07:03 AM

Gear up for J-Bay

Righto frothers, it’s that time again – less than two weeks till the top 34 surfers in the world will be at it again, this time heading to the iconic Jeffreys Bay.

Situated on the Eastern Cape of South Africa, J-Bay – as it is more commonly known – currently holds the No.2 position among the world’s most famous surf spots. Regarded as one of the best right hand point breaks in the world, J-Bay offers both consistency and quality. Boasting eight different sections ranging from Kitchen Windows to Albatross, J-Bay has something for every rider. Its diversity will keep you out in the water for hours.

Easily the most exciting section of J-Bay is the “Super Tube” – a powerful wall of water that draws more swell energy from the upper reefs. Legend has it that if conditions are right, she will break for 300 metres or more. Let us all put our hands together and pray that we see this come July 10.

With a less-than-impressive swell in Fiji, and the fact we have the closest title race in 10 years, J-Bay is shaping up to be the most exciting stop on the tour this year.

Only 2,200 points separate world No.1 Gabriel Medina from second-placed Michel Bourez, with the battle for third and fourth in similar stead (Kelly Slater is third with 28,600 points, ahead of Aussie flyer Taj Burrow in fourth on 26,750). All four surfers are looking to break away from the remainder of the group.

Positions five through eight boast some of the most seasoned and professional surfers on the tour, including Aussie Joel Parkinson, Brazilian Adriano De Souza, newcomer Nat Young and, of course, the legend Mick Fanning, closely followed by Kolohe Andino and Josh Kerr respectively. It’s easy to understand the hype surrounding the event.

The big threat on this tour sits just outside the top 10 in – South African home-grown hero and tour vet Jordy Smith. A two-time winner of J-Bay, Jordy knows this break like the back of his hand. Jordy’s 2014 form has been electric. Although yet to attain an event victory, he has managed to conjure up nine heat wins. Like a fine bottle of wine, he’s just getting better with age.

Immediately prior to his exit from Cloudbreak, Jordy headed straight home to South Africa to prepare for J-Bay, competing in the warm-up event, the MR Price Pro Ballito. “I find surfing prime events a great opportunity to fine tune my surfing, especially in the lead-up to a world tour event,” Jordy admits. “It’s easier to stay focused when you surf every day. Too many lay days can be a distraction”.

With the support of the crowd, and his family and friends screaming from the cliff tops – along with his sheer determination for a win at home – Jordy has the potential to be the biggest threat to clinch the J-Bay crown.

With J-Bay’s numerous facets, Hawaiian excitement machine John John Florence is another one to look out for. Watching him adapt to whatever the conditions bring will be a treat to even the most experienced of surfers. Whether it’s his stunning aerial displays or just the most basic carve, John John’s seemingly effortless style will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Whatever the outcome may be, J-Bay is set to put on a spectacular show for riders and spectators alike. Surrounded by rolling cliff sides, J-Bay’s beauty extends far beyond its perfect waves.

Boasting endless sandy beach and pristine water, the view is nothing short of perfect. Throw in a few dolphins and the most exquisite sunset, you’ve got a scene worthy of a postcard.

So whether you follow the tour closely or the scenery catches your eye while flicking through channels, the J-Bay Open is one not to be missed.


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Peter Fegan

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