The Billabong Pro (BillabongUSA) is being held at the iconic Jeffreys Bay from July 9th – 19th.
Jeffreys Bay is the heart of South Africa’s surfing spots and offers some of the country’s best and most extreme waves. Well, normally it does, but today is another lay day for the competition because of abnormally dismal waves – 2-3ft or just about 1 metre only.
So why go all the way to Jeffreys Bay?
Well, for a start it has South Africa’s premier wave – the Supertube. Since ‘Supers’ as she is colloquially known, is the best wave on the coast, there can be quite a crowd. Getting out to it is a challenge and, if you have never been there before, it is best to watch how the locals do it otherwise you could end up being pounded. Locals have learnt to tolerate the invasion but they will not tolerate bad manners. However, if you wait your turn and show respect you will end up getting waves. It might take a few sessions but once your face is recognized and you earn a reputation for being respectful, you won’t have any problems.
A SW wind is best for Supers and because of the sand dunes, the break is protected no matter how hard the SW blows.The wave is best in the 4 – 8 ft category. On the better days the wave breaks from the top of the point and winds all the way along the reef, past the car park to an awesome barrel section. Then its kick out time before the wave closes out at Impossibles.
Further down the point, one comes across a fun barrely wave called Tubes. It is a short and sometimes intense ride but loads of fun. The wave is best in the 4 – 5 ft category and it is useful to know that on the bigger days there is a strong rip. Best when it’s offshore on a SW wind, it also likes a S or SW swell direction. There is relatively small take off section, which means Tubes cannot hold a large crowd.
Point was the first wave discovered by long boarders in the early 1960’s.
Not as protected as the other waves on strong SW day’s, but it does handle a large swell. The bowl offers some heavy take-offs, but after that the wave mellows out and becomes a bottom turn, cut back combination wave. On a really good day, barrels can be found here as well. A low tide means waves break right on the ledge and you can get fun waves here when it is too small to surf anywhere else. Point is best in the 3-8 ft range.
And then there’s Albatross. This wave is slightly out of town and works best on a NW wind and at low tide. It can be epic but it is usually better somewhere else – no doubt that’s why it’s called Albatross!
Boneyards is Boneyards for a reason – it breaks in very shallow water. It can be found at the top section of Supers and breaks both left and right. It works best with a light NW wind.
Magnatubes is probably the heaviest wave in Jeffreys Bay. It’s gnarly, unpredictable and sometimes just plain nasty! It’s best at 3-5ft, needs a NW, and likes high tide.
Kitchen Window, or ‘Kitchens’, is a mellow reef break which is very underrated. A light SW wind is best on a mid tide.
Main Beach is the least exciting of them all and generally closes out.
You might now understand why the Billabong Pro surf contest is held each July at Supertubes… Despite the inconsistent conditions today, improved swell models indicate a better outlook for the coming days.
And it’s not only surfers who enjoy Jeffreys Bay. Watch this lovely video from scubaduck, and with thanks to David Attenborough for his, as always, fine production.