As surf scenery goes, there's nothing like waking up to sunrise at Jeffreys Bay when the waves are firing. Watching perfect rights peel down the legendary point at first light is truly a sight to behold, and variations of it have been flooding social feeds for the past few days as we wait for competition to begin at the Corona Open J-Bay.
If you're WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow, having a solid forecast on tap is a great problem to have, but it can actually increase the pressure to make the right call. Perrow, along with Head Judge Richie Porta, Deputy Commissioner Renato Hickel, Surfer Rep Ace Buchan and local advisor Eric Stedman, begin their days in the pre-dawn light assessing the conditions before arriving at the day's verdict: Calling the event on, off, or on hold, in the hope of better conditions later in the day.
The first three days of the waiting period have been somewhat wave-rich, which undoubtedly gets the bird-in-the-hand juices flowing. But so far, two things have persuaded Perrow, Porta and the others to hold off on running: Afternoon winds, and a favorable long-range forecast.
"What's out there right now is pumping, but this morning the wind was wrong and then the devil wind will click around in another hour or so and will be onshore again," Porta explained. "We knew there was going to be a window from 10 to 12, which is what's happened, but that would have made four heats and the fifth would have been in bad conditions."
And sure enough, the wind has done exactly that, transforming the lineup into mushy, three-foot lines that close out several times along the point. The crew here turns to both the official forecasting partner Surfline, as well as local advisor Eric Stedman for this detailed info.
Stedman has monitored and checked conditions on this very point for the better part of the last 30 years, and has developed an incredible knowledge of the local wind and weather patterns.
"At 6:30 a.m this morning, Eric described exactly how the day would turn out, and was perfectly accurate," said Porta. "Yesterday, today and the day before, we would have died for these waves last year. But there's so much surf coming, all the forecasts are telling us that we've got more than four days of way better surf coming, and that's why we're not running."
Naturally, these off days are making for some great practice sessions.
Check out the full forecast from Surfline right here and get ready for what's coming.