This Is What’s Been Happening At J-Bay

Indecision time
J-Bay has been awfully flighty these past few days. At sunrise on Saturday I watched Mick Fanning get tubed twice on one wave in conditions reminiscent of his final versus Joel Parkinson last year. That perfection was short lived. 15 minutes later the wind swung around from the north (devil wind) and destroyed everything, forcing the contest on hold till 1 p.m. During the waiting pattern, the wind switched back offshore and for a few hours the majority of the ‘CT enjoyed 4-foot Supers. Just before the afternoon call to run Round 2 the wind went turned back devil — again, and the comp was officially called off for the day. Then, around 3 p.m., the wind (once again) went back offshore. Torturous, ain’t it? While pictures show moments of wow from yesterday: namely Parko and Julian Wilson laying rail during an evening freesurf, those pictures don’t tell the entire story. I don’t envy commissioner Kieren Perrow’s job. And it isn’t getting any easier…

The forecast?
Hard to say. The charts show 12 feet plus and the winds are currently howling offshore, but word around the contest is the swell is from too west of a direction and is mostly bypassing the point. Most likely, we’re on tomorrow and Tuesday (possibly even running overlapping heats) as the swell fills in and changes direction just enough to give us contestable waves. After that all bets are off. Another swell is on the maps for the last two days of the waiting period, but, as I’m learning, the only constant in this part of the world is change. Hopefully the Roaring 40s are feeling generous. Remember: the conditions were never forecasted to be epic for last years final. Until they were.

The weekend off
Maybe J-Bay is accustomed to that 9-5 grind? Jeffrey granted the surfers a work-free weekend. So what’d the CT do in their spare time? Drank coffee, mostly. Lots of it. A delicious cup cost one dollar around here and it’s impossible not to drink, like, 5 every single day when it’s this cold outside. Perfect for every activity. Coffee and safari parks. Coffee and tennis. Coffee and Uno. (Team Hurley is addicted to Uno; Michel Bourez even had to catch a wave in trunks after a loss.) Coffee and checking it hard. With the event “on hold” the surfers in Round 2 couldn’t completely check out these past two days, and at any given time down at the comp site you could find them having a look at the ocean (coffee in hand, of course) in all of its changing moods.

In the gallery above you’ll find downtime action from two days off, through the lenses of Corey Wilson and Jimmicane. — Zander Morton