Supertubes is a great wave, but it does seem to get people quite sensitive at times.
Whether it is a misunderstanding over wave ownership during a free session, or something a bit more serious when competition kicks off, it's known for bringing out the voice in many people.
And now, it's apparently a platform for some of the old guard retiring, with Parko making an emotional announcement yesterday and Kelly too, saying next year will be his last on tour.
Anyway, here are a couple of the more...interesting outbursts over the years.
Andy Irons rides over photographer
Not sure what year this was, but I had my boy with me. He was a baby then, and he turns 10 this year, so let’s say late 2000’s. Andy needed a good score, he picked a really high line on a wide set and rode straight over a water photographer kicking around down at the bottom.
He didn't fall off, but his line was deviated from, and he didn't pull off the huge final snap that was needed to get back in the game. He paddled up to the photographer and blasted off in his face. Poor dude swam in and left the contest site forthwith.
Bruce Irons Bellows
For some reason that morning – maybe it was because it was early – Bruce could not find rhythm at Supers. He caught the wrong waves, he hit the lip when he should have been driving, and he was driving when he should have been hanging around the pocket.
Being one of the most exciting surfers on tour at the time, the crowds were gathered, but the more that we watched the more he blew it.
Towards the end of the heat he needed a big score and made the cardinal mistake of going for a huge no grab air in the streaming offshore, to only get blown immediately off the back.
The ‘FUUUCK!” that came out of his mouth could be heard from Albatross to St Francis Bay, and fearing a Renato engagement and firing/fining saga, Bruce came in and ran past the tower and disappeared somewhere down Pepper Street, leaving his vest on the road for the beach marshal to pick up, not to be seen again for the remainder of the event.
Jeremy Flores storms the judges' tower
J-Flo wasn’t happy with the scores that were coming through and felt that he was being victimised. The scores were always close to what he needed, but never quite enough to put him in the lead. He let his frustration out by clapping to the judges from the lineup, but at the end of the heat he lost a bit of control and stormed the tower. There was a helluva bang, as something was thrown or dropped onto the metal platform, and a strong torrent of pretty cool-sounding French and English swear words filled the air in Pepper Street.
After a quick check-move on his emotional state, Jeremy did the right thing by apologising correctly and profusely, and adhering to all punishments metered out by the WSL, which actually put him in good stead going forward.
AI has to paddle out against Sean ‘The Nemesis’ Holmes, and is totally rattled
It was pretty weird, and goes to show how AI wore his heart on his sleeve, and everyone knew exactly what was going on with his emotions.
Holmesy had AI’s number fair and square at JBay, and no matter what he did, Andy couldn't’ beat the jinx that was sitting on him.
He always got Sean in the draw, and he always got rattled immediately, and then beaten. No shame, Holmesy was beating AI, Slater and anyone else who he came up against.
That year saw AI shouting down at Sean just after they paddled out. No one could hear exactly what AI was saying, not even Sean, but it wasn't friendly chat. Sean didn't engage, and sat there quietly, while Andy continued to rant and wave his finger. Sean won.
Kolohe loses a close heat to Slater, decided to fight his board.
This wasn’t that long ago. Kolohe was going as hard as he could, trying huge airs and rotators and anything to get ahead of King Kelly, but Slater seemed to know exactly what he needed to do to stay ahead of The Kid.
Another one who wears his heart on his sleeve, Kolohe has struggled to get a good result at JBay over the years and has often had bad luck in heats, just missing a set or running out of time.
He struggles to find flow, and in this heat it was almost as if he was trying too hard. That final Hail Mary on the rocks was his last ditch effort to sneak ahead of The Champ but it wasn't enough. Instead of returning his jersey after the heat loss he vented his frustration on that poor board, buckling it with his bare foot.
Fanning and Fletch have a moment, and all is ok with the world
It would be a hard reach to talk about emotions at JBay and not include the Mick Fanning shark encounter. We all watched it go down, certain that we were going to witness a shark attack live.
It was a pretty dreadful couple of seconds, and when Mick started swimming away, one of the local fishermen on the walkway said to no one, “Don't do that bru, don't turn away…”
All’s well that ends well, and let’s not revisit the abject dread we all went through. Fanning might not be here this year, but the popular Rip Curl bottle-washer Fletch will be here, diligently looking after his crew as he does, and giving those in need a hug. At this moment, just after Mick had survived, it’s hard to tell who needed the hug more.