Splitting her time between the beach breaks of Hossegor and rifling points of Reunion Island, Johanne Defay is undoubtedly one of the best barrel riders on the women's Championship Tour. With three CT wins under her belt, and two victories in barreling conditions (Uluwatu and Fiji), Defay has no problem stalling an extra couple seconds in the tube during critical moments.
As we look forward to the upcoming Jeep Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe, we browsed the archives and dove into some of the best waves to come out of Lemoore. The one that stood out on the women's side was the near-impossible drainer from Defay at the 2019 Freshwater Pro, where she finished runner-up to Lakey Peterson.
Defay opened up her campaign with a ride that some would consider to be a perfect 10. But the judges thought otherwise. She took off on the right-hander, laid down a couple turns, faded into the first barrel section, and disappeared for a full six seconds (the barrel itself was about nine seconds). Yes, she claimed it, but not for extra points -- Defay said she was genuinely surprised her fins didn't slide out over the foam ball.
"This wave is all about the rhythm, and when you have two chances, you never know what can happen, so I'm really happy," Defay said after ride."
In 2019, at the next event to follow, Defay repeated this disappearing act in France (where she finished 3rd).
Even with all of the crazy airs and barrels seen at the Surf Ranch, a perfect ride has yet to be seen on the men's or women's side of the draw, and something tells us the judges won't lighten up anytime soon. But if anyone is capable of achieving perfection at the basin, it's Johanne Defay.