Where: Jeffreys Bay, South Africa
Why: 300+ metres of worldclass barreling wave
When: 1960s onwards
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On the Eastern Cape of South Africa lies the ever expanding town of Jeffreys Bay. Home to over 20,000 people and countless travelling surfers, just off J-Bay's prodigious coastline lies one of the best point breaks on the planet.
“Supertubes” is the African promised lands for the surfing world, and it attracts the elite each year, usually around July when Jeffreys Bay plays host to the Billabong Pro ASP World Tour Competition. Crashing over the sandy rock break, Supertubes is considered the best wave out of a multitude that break up and down J-Bay's shores. Starting from the righthander's southern point lies the breaks of “Kitchen Windows”, “Magna Tubes”, “Boneyards”, then Supertubes itself, and continuing north around the bay... “Impossibles”, “Tubes”, “The Point” and “Albatros”.
Supertubes offers a ride of about 300 metres, yet it is possible that when all the conditions come together a wave can be ridden from Boneyards all the way through to The Point. That is an epic ride of around 1 kilometer in length. Working at its line perfect best between 8 to 20 foot, Supertubes offers warm waters of 23 C in summer and only really drops to about 16 C in winter. Positively barmy for European surfers. Yet it is Supertubes' consistency and length of ride during May to mid September that has captivated the whole of the surfing world.
Since the 1960s when the film “Endless Summer” visited St Francis' Bay near to J-Bay, surfers have been attracted to the area and explored its coastline... and so Supertubes was “officially” discovered. In 1981 the first surf contest was held at J-Bay, known as “The Beach Hotel Classic”. Over the next 15 years it popped up as the venue of choice for many surf competitions, yet it wasn't until 1996 that it finally made it to the ASP's World Dream Tour as its current entity-The Billabong Pro.
Calling in the world's best surfers, J-Bay invites the professional tour every July to compete in its ruler straight breaking waves. In July 09 Joel Parkinson won the contest, highly fitting since he had won the competition back in 1999 as a wildcard entry. Over the last 13 years the list of winners from J-Bay's contests reads as a list of the some of most exciting and greatest surfers of all time: Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Andy Irons, Jake Paterson and Taj Burrow.
In 2010 the Billabong Pro: Jeffreys Bay will be stop number 4 of 10 on the tour, and will be held between 15th-25th July. So watch this space this year for updates of who's in for a shot at winning and whether Parko can clinch it two times in a row.
Marvel at Joel Parkinson's super long wave at 2009's Billabong Pro contest by tuning in at 6 to 36 seconds in the video...