When the sun popped it’s burning nose over the horizon and lit up a conveyor belt of 6-8’ swells, it looked like one of the single most epic J-Bay days ever was about to unfold. A couple of hours later, and it was still absolutely perfect conditions, for windsurfing.
A North Easterly howling down the Mozambique channel threw up one foot chops (as big as the one’s being served in the nearby Spur Steak Ranch), turning the whole place into a giant lemon meringue foam cake.
It didn’t stop it becoming any less of a spectacle, with waves now having all sorts of new pitfalls to deal with like trapdoors, elevators, flights of stairs, ladders, and vine-like ropes of foam that threatened to take everyone down at the ankles with every turn.
Fanning entered the final via a bellringing semi with last year’s champ Taj. Mick opened the encounter with a flash of the filleting blade, opening up for the biggest arcs of the contest. How did he beat Taj? By going steeper and deeper than Taj and sticking it. In completely tawdry conditions Mick even posted a 9.17!?! But that’s where he peaked.
In the final, Mick fell three times, a result of being bone tired from surfing in whitewater-kayaking conditions all day. Kelly, on the other end of the seesaw, was pushing his turns just as steep and rad but was nailed to his board.
From the very start of this event, his co-ordination and complete mastery of his own centre of gravity has stepped into a realm that not even he has entered before: With each turn, pushing his board further away on the upswing and retrieving it back on the downswing, to the point where it’s completely absurd.
To the point, also, where a local 15-year-old left the trophy presentation show and explained to his dad: “No one on tour’s beaten him this year ... at this rate people will be turning up at surfing contests to see who comes second.”
Welcome to the winners' podium. The cream of February lies before you in four spectacular Atlantic sessions, big barrels being the theme.
The symbiosis of surfer and winter. The Astray Collective and Finisterre bring you a short narrated by Matt Smith and produced by Mickey Smith
Local Canarian, Lazi Ruedegger, finds some golden moments between the storms.
Nelscott Reef will today host the fifth stop of the Big Wave World Tour, kicking off with a women's superheat.
The European Association of Surfing Doctors announces its third annual conference, to be held at Mullaghmore on September 9.