"I predict we will see four tens by the end of the day," said the 1977 World Champion Shaun Tomson at the start of today's Corona Open J-Bay. The South African was providing sideline commentary and with the surf already flawless, and predicted to build, you could see that, with four decades of lineup experience, he was computing an algorithm for perfection. It turned out his algorithm was spot on. With four 10-point rides and some of the best waves ever seen in competition, today also had a very good claim to be one of the standout days in professional surfing history.
However even Tomson's Nostradamus like talents could not have foreseen the manner in which those tens dropped. It was the local favorite Jordy Smith who posted two in his Round Three matchup with Leo Fioravanti to log only the tenth "perfect heat" in professional surfing. That works out around one every four years, while not exactly in the rocking horse poo realm, it still shows just how rare a feat it is.
"It's phenomenal to be here in J-Bay and have that opportunity," Smith said afterwards. "I just got the bombs and that one opened up and let my big rig right through it." The World No. 3 was referring to the second of the two waves, the better one, if that were possible. It featured a long draining tube followed by an enormous lip line closeout floater that put him in the record books.
Then with the floodgates broken, Julian Wilson posted another in the very next heat. It was a combination of searing turns and a long foamball riding tube that netted the Australian double figures. When he finished Wilson put both hands in the air, indicating to the judges what he thought the wave was worth. "What a magic week," he said afterwards. "A hole-in-one on the golf course and that was such a beautiful wave. It was the best wave I've ever had at J-Bay."
It was perhaps no surprise that it was John John Florence who was left to fulfill Tomson's prophecy. In his Round Four clash he too combined radical power turns, a long barrel and an emphatic finish to score his first 10-point ride of 2017. However, he felt no need to tell the judges what the wave was worth, it was self apparent. "That was the easiest 10-point wave the judges will ever score," said Jadson Andre, watching on with a smile that looked like a split watermelon. That Florence didn't win the heat will no doubt take the edge off that single wave, but for spectators it capped one of the most entertaining days in surfing history. It was raining tens, and all you could say is; hallelujah.