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Supertubes is an anomaly. It is such a strange, bewitching wave that you can never expect a normal outcome at an event here. From the time that Joel Parkinson won it as a rookie in 1999 to the safety boat outrunning a solid eight-foot set for an unofficial 10-point ride to Filipe Toledo doing two alley-oops on one wave, there is always insane drama going down.

It is always that contest where the surfers who find the rhythm of the ocean early on in the event or pre-event are the ones that march through their heats and head for the finals day. It is a setup that thrives on rhythm, and those surfers frantically pumping down the line for a massive blow-tail over the bricks won't find it.

Being one of the best right-hand point breaks in the world, it may favour the natural footer. Most winners and runners-up over the years have almost entirely been natural-footed surfers. Still, let's remember Mark Occhilupo bursting onto the scene in 1984 and taking a win at Supers. Medina's victory over fellow goofy-footer Italo Ferreira in 2019 in pumping six-foot barrels was only the second goofy victory.

Another thing about Supers is that when it is grinding and offshore – six foot plus with streaming south westerly winds – as is the norm in winter, it demands a bit of grunt. Power surfers, and those with a bit of strength, often flourish in these conditions. Supers can get wild and woolly, especially down towards Impossibles, and the only way to dominate is to push back and utilize power and muscles on open-face carves and S-turns. There's no lip-tapping to be done out there.

Filipe Toledo
5,75 - 6.50

On a six-foot wave gently buffed by a north-westerly 'devil wind,' Toledo launched into the skies for a huge alley-oop. It was in 2017, at a high-risk section of Supertubes, towards the top of the point, with a long wall still open for point-scoring potential. It was an incredible move, and he made the turn before a quick pump and straight into another one. It was audacious, but he pulled the second one, even more, critical than the first, before smashing about seven more turns for the most under-scored 10-point ride of all time. It was a redefining moment in the legacy of surfing at Supertubes, and they can never take it away from Toledo. He is surfing faster, more powerfully, and more focused than in 2017, so do not look away for one second when he paddles out.

Griffin Colapinto
8.00 - 9.00

Looking at the records, Griff has a 17th and a 9th place finish, respectively, from 2019 and 2022 and didn’t seem to have the JBay setup wired. Yet things have changed recently with the San Clemente surfer. A win and two second-place finishes early in the year set the tone for the new look natural footer, and the deciding matter was his surfing at Punta Roca. Irrelevant of his placing, his approach to the long walls of one of El Salvador’s finest right-hand point breaks was the game changer. When Griff brings that game to Supers, one can expect some of the best surfing ever seen at the 300-meter section. Griff takes to the air with speed and functionality at critical sections of barreling waves, and this is the hand he needs to play in JBay for the win.

Ethan Ewing
7.00 - 8.00

Last year’s winner is one of those surfers lucky enough to have a wave such as Supertubes that is precisely suited to his surfing style. Or it’s the other way around. Lucky enough to have a style that is perfect for Supertubes. Either way, it is a joy when Ewing takes off at Supers. He is smooth and lightning fast, with electric snaps and a complete understanding of the nuances of speed control needed as you enter the Car Park section. Many surfers get slingshot across this section and, in so doing, miss out on the most valuable points-scoring sections of the waves. Ewing has the nous to win this event many more times, and we can expect another finals berth this year.

Jordy Smith
12.5 - 13.0

It's weird to comprehend that Jordy Smith is one of the old dogs on tour now and has the wiliness of experience at Supertubes that is hard to challenge. Apart from two event wins in 2010 and 2011, Jordy also has a perfect 20-point heat from the tumultuous 2017 tournament. He is also a consistent stand-out at Supertubes during the year, visiting when he can score some of the waves at South Africa's finest setup. Jordy is also one of those surfers who must win contests to vindicate his career. He is a contest surfer through and through and likes nothing better than to be on the podium. It has been a while, so he might come out guns blazing on his home turf.

Jack Robinson
9.00 - 10.0

It's easy to see Robinson victorious in JBay. His runner-up spot last year was a testament to his skills at Supers, and there was only .5 of a point between him and Ewing. If there was a chink in his armour, however, it is the fact that there are other surfers who are more relentless than him when the surf gets small and weak. It has happened in JBay when the event had to move to tiny Boneyards to get through some heats. Robinson has a question mark next to his name if it is small. If it is solid, six to eight feet, and grinding, then that question mark gets replaced by a gold star.

Matt McGillivray
23.0 - 29.0

Talking of home turf, McGillivray is the only surfer on the Championship Tour who is an actual JBay local. Knowing all the nooks and crannies through every tide and swell direction gives him a massive advantage. Supertubes has an almost infinite number of variables, and the only way to get them figured out is by doing your hours in the water. McGillivray has done his hours and then some, and his confidence, particularly his air game bravado, has reached new levels.

He also has an incredibly in-depth support system in JBay, with his family and friends always rallying around him to ensure he knows they've got his back. The cheering when he takes off on a wave is quite remarkable, and Matt has said in the past that it has given him more energy and confidence in the water.


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