Steve Pike

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

WHAT a week­end in surf­ing it has been. Out of nowhere, our sole South African on the Cham­pi­onship Tour, Jordy Smith found him­self in the mix for his first world ti­tle at the age of 28.

It started in dra­matic fash­ion when he came from be­hind in his Round 4 heat at the MEO Rip Curl Pro – the penul­ti­mate event on the WSL Cham­pi­onship Tour – to scoop a high-scor­ing wave that el­e­vated him di­rectly into the quar­ter-fi­nals.

That sin­gle fact was not that in­ter­est­ing but what was sig­nif­i­cant was once the event had reached the semi- fi­nal stage, all con­tenders – from Brazil­ian Gabriel Me­d­ina to Amer­i­can Kolohe Andino – were out of the ti­tle race.

Only the Js re­mained: Jordy and John John Florence, who had won their one-on-one clashes in the quar­ters.

The plucky grit from Jordy was laud­able. Af­ter pulling off that wave in the dy­ing sec­onds of Round 4, his quar­ter-fi­nal heat was even more dra­matic.

Again he left it late, hold­ing on with steely pa­tience un­til the right wave came with min­utes re­main­ing.

He hooked a ridicu­lously deep tube ride against Hawai­ian Se­bas­tian Zi­etz that gave him the first 10-point score of the event.

Zi­etz was com­fort­ably in the lead at that stage but as he pad­dled back out af­ter a small tube, he had to watch the big South African pull in fast and deep into a long bar­rel, only to get spat out the other end.

The maths be­came su­per sim­ple, even I could un­der­stand it.

If Florence made the fi­nal, Smith was go­ing to be the only surfer in the world who could send the ti­tle race to Hawaii – to the last event, the Bil­l­abong Pipe­line Pro. But Jordy had to win the event.

That made the live stream quite ex­cit­ing. Many South African surfers all over the coun­try were scream­ing their heads off as Jordy took on rookie Con­ner Cof­fin of the USA, in the semi-fi­nals.

Sadly, our World No 3 couldn’t match Cof­fin de­spite some ex­cel­lent surf­ing in the Su­per­tu­bos bar­rels.

But the drama was not over. It may have ended his world ti­tle as­pi­ra­tions, but it de­liv­ered the world ti­tle to John John.

The beach erupted in rap- tur­ous cel­e­bra­tion. John John had won the 2016 ti­tle, ren­der­ing Pipe­line a damp squib in terms of the ti­tle race. The re­sult there does not mat­ter now.

It was the first time a Hawai­ian had held the world surf­ing crown since the late Andy Irons in 2004.

Jordy was happy enough. “I would have loved to go to Hawaii to fight for the ti­tle but I’ll take it,” he said.

Next stop is the Bil­l­abong Pipe Masters held in Mem­ory of Irons from De­cem­ber 8-20. It will still be worth watch­ing though. Pipe­line al­ways de­liv­ers.

And for Jordy and his fans, there’s al­ways next year.

#CrankChaos

THE # CrankChaos Ma­luti MTB fes­ti­val takes place this week­end.

It’s about time we be­gan to em­u­late the off-sea­son ski re­sorts for moun­tain bik­ing. Afriski re­sort is host­ing a high-oc­tane jol that in­cludes five down­hill lines, an en­duro, XC marathon, slope-style rid­ing, cross-coun­try, down­hill elim­i­na­tor, plus out­rides for the more so­cial rid­ers, all across the ex­ten­sive trail net­work.

And the cool thing is that rid­ers can hook up to the T-Bar Lift for a 200m ver­ti­cal climb, and at the top, choose from a myr­iad of bike tracks to get down again. Sounds like lank fun! For more info: http:// www.crankchaos.com

Kom Skop

THE an­nual Kom­metjie Boardswap takes place to­day at Kom­metjie Pri­mary be­tween 3pm-9pm.

There will be bands, beer, food, surf art, karaoke, kids ac­tiv­i­ties, give­aways and a bunch of cool surf and skate movies.

Bring a board to swop. The event has a legacy of rais­ing funds to en­able Cape Town surfers to chase their dreams.

This year, KBS is back­ing Chris Ber­tish, who will soon be pad­dling across the At­lan- tic Ocean on a SUP. # TheSUPCross­ing

Weather Tip

FRESH southerly winds blow to­day with a hint of SW in them, so not ideal for both sides of the coast. There is a 4-5’ west swell run­ning, and cer­tain left­hand breaks may have a few waves. Other­wise Muizen­berg looks on­shore and small and mushy. To­mor­row, the winds are lighter, but still from the south, and now a big 6-8’ south swell will mean lots of surf in False Bay 3-4’ but again, mod­er­ate on­shore breezes there. Other side has a few at pro­tected spots de­spite the bad swell di­rec­tion.

CHAMP STYLES: John John Florence whips his way to the world ti­tle at the Rip Curl Pro Por­tu­gal.

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