The Big Bang
It was the heat to end ‘em all – Jordy, Dane, a sand clogged J Bay and relentless six footers. Here’s how it unfolded.
By Jed Smith
It was inevitable they would eventually meet under such circumstances. A natural anomaly, relentless swell and the tour’s premiere performance wave combined today to provide surfing’s most liberated artistes with the ultimate canvas. Using kerrupts, cart wheeling club sandwiches and the complete surfing repertoire, they painted us a vision of the future.
The interest in the Dane/Jordy heat was unrivalled. Minutes before it commenced, commentators announced their online fan blog was jamming with messages of love and hate. In the competitor’s area, pros, retired pros and surfing’s powerbrokers milled to watch.
The lead up had been contrasting for the two. While Jordy had dropped clip after clip of free surfing bliss, igniting debate about his mantle as the greatest surfer on the planet, Dane was patchy. His performances on the tour were poor and on a recent trip to the Mentawais for Julian’s movie, he was reported to have spent large periods surfing on fishes and quads, accumulating footage that will never see daylight.
Dane appeared less relaxed than the previous day. He arrived a heat and a half early, with his patented coffee mug in hand (It’s his thing. The man likes a cup of java before a heat) and girlfriend. He left five minutes into Fanning’s heat to get changed. When he returned he had a different board to the day before, (the one with the octopus texta’d on it as opposed to the ‘Ventura Surf Shop’ scribble). He chatted with a photographer and left, passing the 300 hundred in the grandstands to a muted response.
Jordy hadn’t been seen since the morning when he’d surfed Impossibles during the Curren/Occy heat. He picked up his singlet a while after Dane, entering the marshalling area with a broad grin. He traded banter with the officials, slapped someone a low five, donned his singlet and left.
As he passed the grandstands, he received the grandest reception of the contest. Despite having relocated to California, Jordy remains adored. He’s there best since Tomson and an archetypal South African in many ways (Loves women, many of them, swishes shots like mouthwash and parties with gusto. As do many of them, so I’ve noticed).
Dane had been in the water a while by the time Jordy made his way out the keyhole. On his way, Jordy slipped on the rocks. Before the then biggest set of the day pinned him against them.
As the heat began, Kelly appeared in his wetsuit. He was due to surf the next heat and stalled as long as he could to watch. As Dane threw away heat winners with wild club sandwiches, Kelly laughed and shook his head in disbelief. I watched the heat alongside Dane’s long time friend and fellow Venturan, Nate Curran. As well as former pro, turned coach of the Hobgoods, Chris Gallagher, Kieran Perrow, Luke Egan and commentator Ronnie Blakey. I had them analyse the waves that mattered.
Jordy’s first– 8.5
Nate: “It was a good wave but he fell at the end. He had priority. It was the right decision. It was the first good wave of the heat and he blew it up.”
Dane’s first – 7.83
Kieran: “Dane doesn’t look as sharp as he normally does.”
Nate: “…but he finished well.”
The opening exchange –
Chris Gallagher: “Jordy’s turns were better but Dane’s barrels were better. The scores would be pretty close. Dane doesn’t look like he had a warm up.”
Louie: “Jordy’s turns were better plus his barrel was pretty sick at the start. I’d think it would better Jordy’s.”
Dane’s tube to ambitious club sandwich – 4.00
Chris Gallagher: “Got a little excited on that one.”
Louie: “He’s trying to rewrite the record books.”
Nate “Dane is going 130%, like usual. That’s Dane, he sees it and he wants to go.”
Nate: “That was freakin’ mental. He just got barrelled the whole way across the bay.”
Louie: “That was a ten for sure. He has actually pulled it back a bit, which is good. It’s working.”
Ronnie Blakey: “It’s the best day of competition we’ve seen this year, for sure and this is the one everyone wanted to see. We wanted to see a video section unfolding in front of our eyes and that’s what we got.”
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