If Kolohe Andino’s barrel-to-oop combo in Portugal last year was, as CJ Hobgood put it, “the gnarliest wave ever ridden”, then what are we to make of this, Jordy Smith’s barrel-to-oop at North Point? The barrel, just as deep, perhaps even deeper; the alley-oop, not the highest in history, but quite possibly the longest, in time as well as distance. The gust of wind that catches his board mid-flight, holding him aloft but also stalling his rotation, adds an additional dimension of difficulty and interest; the control throughout is astonishing.
Incidentally, you can probably thank/blame Surf Europe for its dissemination on the interweb. We stumbled across the footage hidden away in a promo video for O’Neill wetsuits that had barely 500 views. Assuming it was fair game, but equally wondering why more of a fuss hadn’t been made, we shared it on Facebook. A few hours and a hundred thousand views later we received a couple of Facebook messages — one from Jack O’Neill, another from Jordy — kindly asking us to take it down; the footage had been leaked by accident, Jordy had been saving it for a movie. Naturally we obliged, but by that point the cat was out of the bag, and various other outlets were enthusiastically stroking it. Oops. Soz.