When it comes to their most valuable piece of equipment -- surfboards -- most pro surfers are not very adventurous. Most would be hard pressed to veer too far away from their standard stock-in-trade, generally a 6-foot, round-pin thruster. Which is what made the Corona Highline specialty event especially cool to watch.
Broadcast exclusively on Facebook Live following the final heat of Round One of the Corona Open J-Bay, the specialty four-man heat included Jordy Smith, Matt Wilkinson, Conner Coffin and Sebastian Zietz, with a heat winner to be determined via a hashtag vote online. Local shaper Hugh Tompson from Natural Curve surfboards cooked up four identical, retro fish twin fins inspired by local legend and former Championship Tour surfer, Derek Hynd (he's an Aussie expat). It was Hynd who originally inspired Tom Curren to experiment with fish twin shapes, and others, during their days together on Rip Curl's groundbreaking Search program.
The specific design dynamics of Tompson's riff on the traditional Steve Lis fish allowed the boys to draw some unique lines and express themselves as they lit into the reeling, and empty, Supers lineup. The three regularfooters laid into stylish grab-rail carves, while Wilko leaned hard into some deep, backhand bottom turn-to-bank-off-the-top combos. Though it wasn't necessarily reflected in the voting, Conner Coffin stole the show. The slightest surfer of the bunch, Coffin was freestylin' on his fish like a modern-day logger -- throwing down Cheater 5's across speedy sections, slashing hard mid-face, even squaring up to Hang 10 before getting waded in the trough when his two fins washed out.
In the end, hometown hero Jordy Smith won the popular vote, followed by Seabass, Wilko and Coffin.